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Fears for the treasures of Notre Dame: Christ's 'crown of thorns' is saved, but fragment of the Cross and nails 'used to crucify Jesus' are among countless ancient artefacts still unaccounted for

Spire of Paris's 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral COLLAPSES as fire ravages historic building with flames erupting through the roof - with Macron lamenting seeing 'part of us burn' Fears for Notre Dame's treasures after fire at Paris cathedral

  • Experts are today examining the wreckage of the cathedral after Monday's fire
  • Treasures include irreplaceable religious relics such as Jesus' 'crown of thorns'
  • Reports in Paris suggested at least some of the stained-glass windows were safe 

The fate of many of the Notre Dame's treasures is still unknown after the huge fire which ripped through the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday. 

Experts are today entering the wreckage of the Paris landmark to find which of the precious artworks and religious relics have been saved.   

The mayor of Paris said that one of the most irreplaceable items - the crown of thorns reputed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion - was safe last night. 

The church's 13th-century stained glass windows are also safe, but there are fears for its magnificent organ, while the wooden roof and ornate spire have gone.   

Firefighters, police, and churchmen risked their lives last night to carry priceless historical artefacts and religious relics away from the flames which engulfed Notre Dame.

Jean-Marc Fournier, a chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade who was also a hero of the Bataclan terror attacks, rushed into the burning cathedral to save the crown. 

The Mayor of Paris tweeted her thanks to first responders for forming 'a formidable human chain' to save irreplaceable objects including the relic believed by Catholics to be the crown of thorns which was put on Jesus' head as he died on the cross.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo went on: 'The Crown of Thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place.' 

Rescued: Some of the treasures and artworks of Notre Dame cathedral are sheltered in the Hotel de Ville in Paris after they were saved from Monday night's devastating fire

Rescued: Some of the treasures and artworks of Notre Dame cathedral are sheltered in the Hotel de Ville in Paris after they were saved from Monday night's devastating fire 

One of the items is kept in a case after it was rescued from the burning Paris cathedral last night, amid a fire which destroyed the roof and spire of the medieval landmark

One of the items is kept in a case after it was rescued from the burning Paris cathedral last night, amid a fire which destroyed the roof and spire of the medieval landmark 

Safe: Crown of Thorns

One of the cathedral's most precious objects, a relic purported to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ on the cross, was whisked away to a secure facility.

The chaplain of the Paris fire brigade had gone inside with the firefighters to save the crown.  

Experts said the irreplaceable item had been kept in a 'very safe place'. 

Records of the Crown of Thorns existence begin in the sixth century AD, when it is believed to have been kept in Jerusalem by Christians. 

During the Crusades in 1238, the Latin Emperor of Constantinople gave it to King Louis IX to win his support and try and preserve his crumbling empire. 

Louis IX brought the crown back to France and was later made a saint.  

Although the crown itself was saved, a small fragment of the crown had been kept in the spire and is therefore believed to have burned to ashes.  

The 'Crown of Thorns' said to have been worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, pictured in Notre Dame cathedral, has been saved from Monday night's blaze

The 'Crown of Thorns' said to have been worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion, pictured in Notre Dame cathedral, has been saved from Monday night's blaze 

Safe: North, West and South Rose Windows

The magnificent stained-glass artworks in the cathedral date back to the 13th century. 

There were fears last night that they would melt or explode but the Archbishop of Paris told BFM-TV today that they were safe.  

A French journalist at the scene last night said the north window appeared to be safe with no sign of broken glass although firefighters remained concerned.      

Architecture professor Julio Bermudez said the stained glass windows were 'really irreplaceable'.   

This picture appeared to show the North Rose Window intact on Tuesday morning but the fate of the other stained-glass masterpieces was still unclear

This picture appeared to show the North Rose Window intact on Tuesday morning but the fate of the other stained-glass masterpieces was still unclear 

A 13th-century linen tunic which is thought to have belonged to King Louis IX - canonised as St Louis - was also made safe, the mayor of Paris said. 

In his 44-year reign Louis took part in the Crusades and established early principles of justice such as the presumption of innocence. 

He was proclaimed a saint in 1297 - the only French monarch to receive the honour - and was responsible for acquiring the Crown of Thorns.  

The tunic worn by Louis King Louis IX who took part in the crusades and 'acquired' the corwn of thorns for France in the 13th-century

The tunic worn by Louis King Louis IX who took part in the crusades and 'acquired' the corwn of thorns for France in the 13th-century 

Safe: Statues airlifted from the roof

Renovation was already taking place at the cathedral - which may have been linked to the fire. 

As part of that work, 16 copper statues were airlifted from near the now-destroyed spire just days before the blaze.   

The green-grey statues, representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists, were apparently lowered by cranes from the site and taken away.

Some copper statues, including these sixteen statues which  sat around the spire of the cathedral, 12 apostles and the  four evangelists commissioned in the 1860s during the great restoration of the cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc, were removed in April for restoration

Some copper statues, including these sixteen statues which  sat around the spire of the cathedral, 12 apostles and the  four evangelists commissioned in the 1860s during the great restoration of the cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc, were removed in April for restoration

 Unknown: True Cross and Holy Nails

Another of the cathedral's relics is a purported piece of the True Cross - the very instrument on which Jesus was crucified in the first century AD. 

The collection also includes a nail which is said to be from the cross. 

It was unclear on Tuesday morning whether these had been saved along with the Crown of Thorns.   

A reputed piece of the True Cross - the very instrument on which Jesus was crucified - is one of the relics in Notre Dame's collection

A reputed piece of the True Cross - the very instrument on which Jesus was crucified - is one of the relics in Notre Dame's collection 

Apparently safe: Descent from the Cross 

This 1723 statue by Nicolas Coustou sits on the cathedral's high altar. It shows Jesus being taken down from the cross after his crucifixion. 

Initial pictures showed the cross still standing with part of the sculpture visible, although it was surrounded by smoke and debris.   

The cross and statue on Notre Dame's altar - sculpted by Nicolas Coustou in 1723 - were apparently intact after the blaze but surrounded by smoke and debris

The cross and statue on Notre Dame's altar - sculpted by Nicolas Coustou in 1723 - were apparently intact after the blaze but surrounded by smoke and debris 

Unknown: Thomas Aquinas, Fountain of Wisdom 

A painting titled Saint Thomas Aquinas - Fountain of Wisdom - is believed to date from 1648. 

It shows the Italian theologian, who heavily influenced Western philosophy, and was painted by Antoine Nicolas.  

This 1648 painting of Thomas Aquinas is among the treasures in the Notre Dame cathedral

This 1648 painting of Thomas Aquinas is among the treasures in the Notre Dame cathedral 

Apparently safe: Cathedral bells

Despite fire racing through Notre Dame's roof, firefighters were able to prevent the blaze consuming the cathedral's main structure, including its two bell towers.

The bells that have rung out at key moments in France's history were thought to be safe.  

Emmanuel, the largest bell, was lifted into the south tower in 1685 and weighs over 23 tonnes. Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo, was the cathedral's bell-ringer.   

The ten bells of Notre Dame are renowned across Europe and the first nine are named Marie, Gabriel, Anne-Genevieve, Denis, Marcel, Etienne, Benoit-Joseph, Maurice, and Jean-Marie. 

The largest bell, known as the bourdon bell Emmanuel, weighs more than 13 tonnes

The two cathedral bell towers were still standing this morning with the fire extinguished, offering some hope to Parisians who feared the entire building would collapse 

Apparently safe: Grand Organ 

Paris' deputy mayor said Notre Dame's organ, one of the biggest and most famous in the world, remains intact after the fire. 

The organ, which has its beginnings in 1401, was refurbished in 2013 when the cathedral celebrated its 850th birthday. 

Each of the nearly 8,000 pipes, some of which date back to the 18th century, was individually cleaned and returned to its place while nine new, gargantuan bells replaced the 19th century ones. 

The archbishop of Paris said on Tuesday that it may have been damaged but did not appear to have been destroyed.  

Macron and ministers get a first look at Notre Dame damage
The pipes of the cathedral's Grand Organ - which were cleaned in 2013 - stand under one of the stained glass windows. It is unclear whether the organ was damaged in the fire

The pipes of the cathedral's Grand Organ - which were cleaned in 2013 - stand under one of the stained glass windows. It is unclear whether the organ was damaged in the fire 

Jean Jouvenet's 1716 painting shows the Virgin Mary raising her head and arms towards Heaven, with her relative Elizabeth nearby. 

It is on the western wall of the Saint-Guillaume chapel within the cathedral but its current status is unclear.  

Jean Jouvenet's 1716 painting shows the Virgin Mary raising her head and arms towards Heavan, with her relative Elizabeth nearby.

Jean Jouvenet's 1716 painting shows the Virgin Mary raising her head and arms towards Heavan, with her relative Elizabeth nearby.

Unknown: Choir screen

An ornate division separates the congregation from where the clergy would be seated. 

It features 14th-century sculptures by Pierre de Chelle, Jean Ravy and Jean Le Bouteiller. 

Unknown: Madonna and Child statue

The 14th-century, life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus is also known, like the cathedral itself, as Notre Dame or Our Lady.   

It stands near the Descent from the Cross sculpture which apparently escaped destruction but its own fate is still unclear. 

The statue is one of 37 images of the mother of Jesus in the Catholic cathedral.  

A statue of the Virgin Mary holding an infant Jesus Christ, sculpted in the 14th century, is one of the treasures still not accounted for in Notre Dame

A statue of the Virgin Mary holding an infant Jesus Christ, sculpted in the 14th century, is one of the treasures still not accounted for in Notre Dame 

Unknown: The Mays paintings

A series of paintings made in the 17th and early 18th century, these artworks were offered to the cathedral in May every year. 

They include images of the conversion of St Paul on the road to Damascus and of the crucifixion of St Peter.  

The Mays paintings includes this work by Saint Peter Curing the Sick By His Shadow (pictured)  a scene from the Acts of the Apostles in the bible

The Mays paintings includes this work by Saint Peter Curing the Sick By His Shadow (pictured)  a scene from the Acts of the Apostles in the bible

Apparently safe: Statue of St Denis

This sculpture begun in 1853 depicts St Denis, the patron saint of the city of Paris and a Christian martyr from the 3rd century AD. 

The statue in Notre Dame shows him holding his severed head after he was executed, but its fate today is not yet known. 

It sits on the stonework on the  

The Statue of St. Denis holding his head (center) and two angels (left and right) on the left door jamb of the Portal of the Virgin on the western facade of Notre-Dame Cathedral

The Statue of St. Denis holding his head (center) and two angels (left and right) on the left door jamb of the Portal of the Virgin on the western facade of Notre-Dame Cathedral

Destroyed: Irreplaceable wooden roof

The cathedral's wooden roof - built with beams made more than 800 years ago from ancient forests - was burned to ashes in the fire. 

A French cultural heritage expert has said that France no longer has trees big enough to replace them. 

He said the restoration work will have to use new technologies to rebuild the roof. 

The wooden roof was destroyed in the smoke and flames of the 12th-century cathedral. Experts said France no longer had the trees to replace it in the same way

Destroyed: 19th-century spire 

Parisians watched in horror last night as the spire burned and then collapsed in the intense heat of the blaze. 

The 13th-century spire was dismantled during the French Revolution and later rebuilt in the 1860s. 

The spire of the Notre Dame collapses last night. This one was created in the 19th century after the original medieval spire was destroyed during the French Revolution

The spire of the Notre Dame collapses last night. This one was created in the 19th century after the original medieval spire was destroyed during the French Revolution 

Destroyed: Relics of St Denis and St Genevieve 

Relics of St Denis - the patron saint of Paris - and the fifth-century St Genevieve were also in the spire which burned and collapsed yesterday. 

They were reportedly placed there by an archbishop in 1935.  

Unknown: Statue of St Therese

The southern transept of Notre Dame contains a statue, made in 1934, of St Therese of the Child Jesus. 

The French nun - also known as the Little Flower of Jesus - lived in the 19th century and was described by Pope Pius X as 'the greatest saint of modern times'.  

French  policemen and church officials battle to save the treasure of Notre Dame last night

French  policemen and church officials battle to save the treasure of Notre Dame last night

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Notre Dame fire: Smoke billows out of historic cathedral in Paris 

Spire of Paris's 850-year-old Notre Dame cathedral COLLAPSES as fire ravages historic building with flames erupting through the roof - with Macron lamenting seeing 'part of us burn'
  • Officials in Paris said a large operation had been launched in an attempt to bring the raging fire under control 
  • Pictures from around the city posted on social media showed flames licking up Notre Dame's famous spire 
  • The fire was first reported at 5.50pm (GMT) on Monday and the building was evacuated soon afterwards 

The spire of Paris's famous Notre Dame cathedral has collapsed after a massive blaze broke out at the cathedral earlier this evening. 

Pictures posted on social media showed enormous plumes of smoke billowing into the city's skyline and flames engulfing large sections of the historic building as firefighters struggled to contain the inferno. 

According to French newspaper Le Monde, the fire broke out in the attic of the monument before spreading across the roof. 

Officials in Paris said the fire could be linked to restoration works as the peak of the church is currently undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project. 

The fire spread rapidly across the roof-line of the cathedral leaving one of the spires and another section of the roof engulfed in flames
Firefighters using cranes to try and stop the blaze
The enormous spire on fire earlier this evening

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted shortly after the fire broke out that he was sad to see 'a part of us burn' and sent his sympathies to people across France

Officials say the blaze could be linked to renovation works as the spire has been undergoing a $6.8million renovation this year
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