April 03, 2015

French Friday: Vendredi Saint

April 3, 2015 {93/365} Notre Dame

On this holiest of Fridays,
it is fitting to feature two of Paris' most sacred venues:

Both of these Gothic masterpieces have housed the precious Crown of Thorns.
 [photo courtesy of Reuters]
Notre Dame's website explains that "despite numerous studies and historical and scientific research efforts, the authenticity [of the Crown of Thorns] cannot be certified." 
However, the faithful have venerated the sacred relic for more than sixteen centuries. 
Last year during the 850th Notre Dame jubilee, the holy relic was paraded from Notre Dame to the Sainte Chapelle (also located on the Ile de Cité). The lovely Gothic chapel was built in the 13th Century by Saint Louis, the king of France, to house this sacred treasure. 
The relic is permanently stored at the back of Notre Dame, barely visible in its elaborate reliquary. It is presented to believers for veneration on the first Friday of each month and every Friday during Lent at 3:00. 
On Good Friday, the Crown is displayed from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm 
as worshipers celebrate Mass and the Stations of the Cross in preparation for Easter.