Spiritual, living cathedral

The animated christmas crib

from the 7th of december 2012 to the 27th of january 2013

On the occasion of the 850 years of the cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris, a remarquable crib will be shown this year to two millions visitors and pilgrims from all over the world.

A huge animated christmas crib, of more than 25 meters square, created by Salvatore MILAZZO, famous master craftsman from the city of Caltagirone (Italy), with the artistic direction of Michele SAVATTERI, architect. It has taken place close to the north wall of the choir fence, under the scenes describing the childhood of the Christ, sculpted during the 14th century.

« I am the light of the world. »
John 8, 12


I wish the crib, as important, not only of our faith, but also of the culture and of the Christian art continues to be part of this great solemnity : it is a simple and eloquent way to Remember Jesus in becoming man, is "dwelt among us", and with the crib, actually lives with us.
Pope Benedict XVI
17th of december 2008




The north sculpture realised in the 14th century represents scenes of the life of the Christ around Christmas :
- Visitation
- Nativity
- Adoration of the Shepherds
- Massacre of the Innocents
- Flight into Egypt
- Presentation in the Temple

It’s just below these sculpture that the crib takes place every year.


The animated Sicilian crib

This crib, entirely based on clay, the work of master craftsmen Caltagirone, is the result of the technical mastery of the Sicilian craftsmanship and its evolution over several centuries. In addition to the cowshed of the Nativity, a set of decors reproduce according to Sicilian cribs tradition, scenes of rural life with fidelity. The animated characters are real pearls automation, movements and sounds are designed using the techniques developed in the nineteenth century.

All decorations are made of stone, reeds, wood, plaster, and reproduce the typical rural settlement in the region of Caltagirone in the eighteenth century. The addition of fountains, bridges, plants (turf, trees, lichens and various plants of the Mediterranean maquis), hills and light effects, can faithfully recreate the poetic landscapes of the Sicilian countryside.

Due to the fragility of the mechanisms of this crib, it will only be animated during nights (every Saturday and Sunday from 19:30 to 20:45, 8 December 2012 to 27 January 2013), and December 25, all day .





Art and craftsmanship workshops Salvatore MILAZZO have been exposed in 1991 in Europe.

This accomplishment was made possible through the support of
- Salvatore MILAZZO, master craftsman, and his team
- Michele SAVATTERI, architect and artistic director
- the association Maurice de Sully.




Put your Message of Peace near the crib of Notre-Dame de Paris

Near the crib of the cathedral is located a large transparent ballot box. Pilgrims, visitors, believers or not, all men of good will from around the world, coming inside Notre Dame during this Christmas season are invited to register a Message of Peace and put it in this urn. This will fill throughout this Christmas season with more than 400 000 Messages of Peace enrolled in all languages. These messages are all prayer intentions and Peace who are prayed every evening during the final Mass at the Cathedral.

You can read your Message of Peace in the box below.

Diocèse de Paris Notre-Dame de Paris 2013 Facebook Google Twitter Flickr Youtube Foursquare RSS
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