April 18, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Ethiopian officials have today confirmed that a cross presented to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in 1954 was among the recovered historical pieces, according to Africa news. It survived the Tuesday evening blaze that destroyed a huge part of the iconic church.
The Deputy Head of Mission at the Ethiopian Embassy in France, Emmanuel Besnier confirmed via Twitter that the important cross offered to the cathedral by His Imperial Haile Selassie is now in custody of the Louvre Museum.
“ We can now confirm, with great relief, that the #Ethiopian cross offered to #NotreDame cathedral in 1954 by HIH Haile Selassie has been spared from this week’s fire and is now safe at the Le louvre museum,” read his tweet.
The iconic cathedral contained a significant number of religious items, and other irreplaceable possessions. These included a crown of thorns, argued to be the one Jesus wore during his crucifixion, a part of the cross on which Christ was crucified, the Tunic of St. Louis, stained glass windows, a statue of Virgin Mary and baby Jesus, and bronze statues of the twelve apostles.
Though some contents of the cathedral were evacuated by a human chain of municipal workers, civil servants, and emergency response teams, others were protected from getting into direct contact with the fire by the surviving parts of the church. Some were not recovered and their state is still unknown.
A significant number of the important relics were previously removed before prior to the beginning of the cathedral’s renovations. The sacred relics were being stored in the cathedral’s sacristy and are thought to be safe. Pews were destroyed in the blaze and the sculpted arches were blackened by the dark smoke.
The cathedral’s main altar and cross survived, together with statues surrounding it. Some paintings that were smoke-damaged will be restored by experts in Louvre. Copper, Stone and bronze statues, including that of the twelve apostles surrounding the spire’s base, had been removed from the site of the renovation.
The French-speaking nation continues to count losses after the Tuesday evening tragedy. Most of the African leaders sent words of commiseration shortly after the fire broke out.
The Notre-Dame cathedral is more than 850 years old and is not only a landmark but represents a crucial piece of history, Ethiopia’s cross being part of it.
It also attracts tourists from different continents, with records indicating more than 14 million people visit the cathedral annually.
Though the embassy didn’t say much about how or who retrieved the cross, it’s believed it was recovered by the civil servants and the emergency response team that was trying to salvage what they could.
The cathedral’s construction commenced in the 12th century and lasted more than ten decades. Its 850th anniversary was commemorated in 2013. It survived the two world wars and barely survived during the commune when protestors set fire on several benches, but the fire was contained before causing severe damage.
Twelve hours after the blaze, over 900 million euros was pledged by different individuals, institutions, and corporations for the cathedral’s reconstruction.