Fears are growing that one of the world’s most previous relics – Jesus Christ’s Crown of Thorns – could have been badly damaged or destroyed in the Notre Dame fire.
The Crown of Thorns, said to have been worn by Christ before being crucified, is stored at the end of a nave of the cathedral, not readily visible to visitors.
It is presented to believers for veneration on the first Friday of each month and every Friday during Lent.
Originally from Jerusalem, the relic was first placed in France in Sainte-Chapelle, built in Paris by King Louis IX in the 13th century specially for the crown.
Although the exact age of the relic is unknown, historians dated it back to the fourth century.
It is one of the three holy artefacts, along with a fragment of the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails from the crucifixion.
As the raging fire emerged at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, believers and historians are fear the potential loss of nine centuries of history and masterpieces, as some of which would have been too large to remove from the flames.
The structure of Notre Dame was saved after a huge fire destroyed parts of the famous cathedral, according to a fire chief in Paris.
The update came after officials earlier warned that firefighters may not be able to stop the huge blaze which tore through the cathedral.
The fire began on Monday evening, with first reports emerging of smoke in the cathedral shortly before 6pm.
The last visitors of the day were evacuated and the Paris Fire Brigade began to fight flames which had emerged from the cathedral’s roof.
A French official said that while the source of the fire was unknown, it could be linked to renovation works to fix Notre Dame’s historic stone walls and buttresses.
The fire first brought down the cathedral’s 315ft (96m) spire, and has spread to one of its two towers, which form its famed frontage.
Notre Dame is one of the city’s oldest and most recognisable buildings, and work began on it in 1163.