The world watched Monday as a large, destructive fire burned at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The cathedral is one of the world’s most recognizable structures and is visited by 12 to 13 million people each year, making it a treasure. But items considered sacred and priceless by believers the world over add to the cathedral’s significance.

Here are the cathedral relics, which are reportedly safe:

Crown of thorns
This is the woven crown of thorns believed to have been placed on Jesus Christ’s head leading up to his crucifixion. It’s considered by many as the most sacred piece at Notre Dame. It consists of a ring of rushes gathered together and bound by gold threads and enclosed in a gold and glass frame. The spines on the rushes are no longer present, having been given to emperors and kings in exchange for donations, according to the cathedral’s website.

(credit: Gavigan; used under CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fragment of the Wood of the Cross
A physical remnant said to be from the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified is also housed in the cathedral. Preserved in a crystal case, it is 9.4 inches (24 cm)

(credit: Giotto)

The Nail
A 3.5 inch-long nail believed to have been used to nail Jesus Christ to the cross on which he was crucified is held at the cathedral. It is held in a simple crystal tube with a golden silver head and tip.

Swipe to see photos of the fire.


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