Brave chaplain helped save Crown of Thorns from burning Notre Dame

PARIS — A Paris fire chaplain is being praised for entering the burning Notre Dame Cathedral to save several priceless relics from the inferno, including Jesus Christ's Crown of Thorns.

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Jean-Marc Fournier, the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, insisted on joining other firefighters Monday as they entered the burning cathedral, Paris 15th District Mayor Philippe Goujon told reporters. Those inside rushed to save as many valuable items as possible from the encroaching flames, The Washington Post reported.

Etienne Loraillère, a journalist with France’s KTO Catholic television network, tweeted that Fournier had helped save the Crown of Thorns, which followers believe Christ wore before his crucifixion, and the Blessed Sacrament, a tunic worn by Saint Louis in the 13th century, according to the Washington Post.

Fournier was formerly a military chaplain with the French armed forces for seven years, during which time he served a tour in Afghanistan, media outlets reported. In the wake of the November 2015 Bataclan attack, which claimed 130 lives, Fournier prayed over and tended to victims, CNN reported.

Many of the rescued artifacts and works of art are being moved to either the Louvre museum or Paris’ City Hall.