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Russian Leader venerates the Crown of Thorns at Notre Dame in Paris

On Tuesday 2 March President Medvedev together with his wife Svetlana venerated the Saviour’s crown of thorns, a piece of the Tree Cross and a nail from the Cross of Christ, all kept at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The holy relics were plundered from Constantinople and taken to Paris by Louis IX in 1239 (except for the piece of the True Cross, which was taken there from Rome).

President Medvedev was greeted by all the clergy of Notre Dame, who had opened wide the main doors of the Cathedral to meet him. Russian Orthodox clergy, including two bishops, celebrated a service and the choir of the Russian seminary in Paris sang. The last time that these relics were venerated by a Russian ruler was in 1896, when they were honoured by Tsar Nicholas II and the Tsarina Alexandra.

It is interesting that no Western leader, from Chirac to Sarkozy, from Blair to Brown, from Bush to Obama, has ever bothered to venerate the holy relics of Paris.

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