As more information comes out about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire, we begin to see a clearer picture of what happened. Just days after the catastrophe, reports are emerging of the heroic acts performed. One priest is being touted as a hero after he risked his life to retrieve irreplaceable artifacts.
Meet Father Jean-Marc Fournier, who is Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department. Fournier has been praised for risking his own life to retrieve the Crown of Thorns and the Blessed Sacrament, CBS News reported.
As fire engulfed the historic building, Fournier, along with other nearby people, created a human chain to bring those artifacts to safety. One of the people helping Fournier was Paris’s Deputy Mayor for Tourism and Sports, Jean-Francois Martins, who told CBS News how the rescue mission came to be.
“We made a human chain, with our friends from the church… to get, as quick as possible, to get all the relics,” Martins said.
“Thanks to the great bravery of all our firefighters, and as well all the public servants there, we had a very quick intervention. Very quickly a team was fully dedicated to save all these holy pieces, and specifically the relics and the crown,” Martins explained. “Everything is safe and undamaged, and in our really bad day, we had one good news.”
This isn’t the first time Fournier has risked his life for the greater good. After the 2015 Bataclan music venue terrorist attack, Fournier reportedly prayed next to the deceased bodies, Sky News reported.
In addition to Fournier’s kind gesture in 2015, he was also a military chaplain who served in Afghanistan until he retired in 2010.
Thanks to social media, the world was able to see the man responsible for saving religious artifacts that simply could not have been replaced. An unnamed firefighter who spoke to French reporters on the ground said it best: “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.”