Posts Tagged ‘Notre Dame de Paris’

4:22 am

Crown of Thorns

Notre Dame de Paris has three major relics:

  • the Crown of Thorns
  • a piece of the Holy Cross, and
  • one of the nails of the Passion.

Indeed, it was to house these that Louis IX built Sainte-Chapelle, which I visited in January. But after the Revolution, the relics ended up in the keeping of the Cathedral, where they are displayed to the faithful on the first Friday of every month (as well as the Fridays of Lent and Good Friday).

This past Friday was the first Friday of June, and I cut class to attend the 3 PM service of Veneration of the Crown of Thorns. After a brief Liturgy of the Word, the Crown is presented for Veneration. The fragment of the Cross and the Nail are also displayed, but not presented. The Crown, mostly stripped of its thorns (there are several churches that claim individual thorns as relics), is kept in a reliquary in the form of a glass tube ornamented with gold and tied to a velvet pillow. I filed up with the rest of the congregation to kiss the reliquary.

Now, widespread counterfeiting of relics in the Middle Ages makes authenticity of any purported relic dubious. (Just how many heads did John the Baptist have, after all? And if you assembled all the alleged pieces of the True Cross, you could build a small village.) And even if authenticity is conceded (the Crown of Thorns has a pretty solid provenance), the veneration of relics still makes me a little uncomfortable, smacking as it does of superstition. It’s not as though the relic itself has any power.

So then why did kissing the reliquary make me cry?

2:43 pm

Réjouis-toi, Marie

Notre-Dame is showing another "opera of images", like the Lumen de Lumine, Lumière née de la Lumiére show I saw in January. This one is based upon the Akathist hymn, a Byzantine hymn to Our Lady.

This one was not quite as successful, in my opinion. It is projected from behind onto a sheer screen. But this time of year at 9 PM, it’s still light, so the windows and sanctuary were visible through the screen, and the double images gave me a headache. In addition, the English translation (where it existed) stood in serious need of proofreading. It seems that Mary bore in her womb a "bake," thus serving as a sanctuary for "Gog," who is a friend of "makind".

The images were lovely, though (if only I could have seen them better!), and the music was splendid. And there was only one occasion on which a barbarian decided to take a flash picture.

After the show, I wandered along the Seine a little and watched the bateaux mouches go by.

I’m going to have to take one of those boat trips sometime soon. Before I leave Paris.

3:32 pm

“Lumen de Lumine, Lumière née de la Lumière”

I went to this show at Notre Dame cathedral this evening.
Lumen de Lumine

Described as

Opéra d’images pour découvrir ou redécouvrir les "Mystères de la Nativité", sous-titré en anglais, projeté sur écran géant transparent, suspendu dans le Chœur de la Cathédrale, destiné aux petits et grands. Une heure d’un récit imagé, mêlant textes bibliques, narration, musique & projection de chefs-d’œuvre de l’Art chrétien.

(An opera of images to discover or rediscover the "Mysteries of the Nativity", subtitled in English, projected onto a giant transparent screen suspended in the choir of the Cathedral, designed for children and adults alike. A one hour illustrated story, mixing biblical texts, narration, music, and projection of masterpieces of Christian art.)

It was a very prettily done show, and wove its different pieces together quite nicely. The English subtitling, however, was distinctly amateurish.

3:37 pm

Into the center of town

Today was the first day I ventured out of my immediate neighborhood: I headed specifically for the Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville to find adapters for my computer & speakers. Which I found, along with a (French) power strip and a few other little odds and ends. Then, since I was in the area anyway, I wandered over to Notre Dame de Paris.

Even midday on a Tuesday, it took about 10 minutes for the line for entrance to the cathedral to make its way inside. Is this just still the holiday season, or is it like this all the time? And what a nuisance for those for whom this is their "home parish." But it’s as lovely as I remembered.

And now that I have my adapters, I can get set up again with my own Internet access. Yippee!

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