Notre-Dame’s most precious treasure didn’t burn – OK
Deep down, we all have a secret explorer inside us, an archaeologist who has always been captivated by the idea of long-lost artefacts: The Holy Grail, the lance used by Longinus to pierce the side of Jesus… and the recipe for Coke Zero. Just imagine how excited we were when, several years ago, we found out that Notre-Dame-de-Paris – just ten minutes on foot from French Theory – was home to one of Christianity’s most precious relics: The Crown of Thorns. Fortunately, it survived the fire in 2019.
Acquired by Louis IX (Louis the Saint) almost eight centuries ago, the Crown of Thorns is the undisputed centrepiece of Notre-Dame’s treasure. To be honest, the crown’s history is lost in the mists of time and it is impossible to confirm its authenticity without doubt. The situation is especially complicated because the church considers that the simple contact between a thorn relic and an ordinary piece of wood confers “relic status” upon the latter.
La Sainte Couronne d’épines © Marc-Antoine Mouterde
Several other places of worship maintain that they are also in possession of fragments of the original crown, but it is widely accepted that the most legitimate claim is that of Notre Dame. Since the end of the 19th century, the Crown of Thorns has been mounted in a sublime gilded crystal reliquary.