A hero fire fighter priest saved priceless relics from the Notre Dame inerno.
As the devastating fire took hold and rescuers battled to control the flames, Father Jean-Marc Fournier worked on retrieving ancient artifacts from the Paris landmark.
Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department, Father Fournier saved the Blessed Sacrament and the ornamental Crown of Thorns from Notre Dame when fears grew they could be lost forever.
The Blessed Sacrament is used and displayed on an altar as part of a Mass service, while the Crown of Thorns purports to be a band of rushes from the original crown placed on Jesus’s head during his crucifixation.
Father Fournier also rushed into to the Bataclan music venue in Paris when ISIS shooters murdered 89 people in November 2015.
Etienne Loraillere, an editor for France’s KTO Catholic television network, said Father Fournier “went with the firefighters into Notre Dame Cathedral to save the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament”.
This was confirmed by an emergency services source who said: “Father Fournier is an absolute hero.
“He showed no fear at all as he made straight for the relics inside the Cathedral, and made sure they were saved. He deals with life and death every day, and shows no fear.”
The modest chaplain prayed over the dead, and comforted those who were injured or had lost loved ones.
Speaking at the time, he said: “I gave collective absolution, as the Catholic Church authorises me.”
Father Fournier, who is in his 50s, started his career as Catholic priest in Germany, and then moved to the Sarthe department of France.
He joined the Armed Forces diocese in 2004, spending seven years working with the Army all over the world.
In Afghanistan he was involved in an ambush in which 10 soldiers were killed.
Father Fournier said: “On my first trip to Afghanistan, I was seized by fear – everything I saw could potentially be dangerous, as we had learned during training courses.”
A hanging cross in the centre of Notre Dame cathedral also remained intact, despite the devastating blaze.
Images from inside the medieval Catholic cathedral show scenes of blackened walls and floors, with the burnt remains of pews piled before the altar.
As smoke rises from the rubble, the cross above the alter remains firmly in place, untouched by the fire that ripped through one of the world’s most ionic landmarks.
The inferno saw much of the Paris cathedral’s roof collapse, and the main spire crumble and fall to the floor after succumbing to the flames.