The Incredible Saga of the Crown of Thorns

By | April 19, 2019

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Earlier this week, the eye of the world watched in horror at the televised footage of the devasting fire that swept through the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The artifacts and architecture lost in the blaze are unfathomable, but thanks to the heroic efforts of French firefighters and Father Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, one precious, priceless relic was saved…the Crown of Thorns. Just how this crown, which was placed on the head of Jesus during the Crucifixion, survived since Biblical times and made its way to France is an incredible saga. 

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Plaiting the crown of thorns, engraving from The Illustrated London News, No 1858, March 20, 1875. Source: (

At the Crucifixion

The Bible first mentions the Crown of Thorns in the gospel of Matthew. In the description of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, there is a passage that reads, “And when they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee and mocked him, saying Hail, King of the Jews!" The crown is also mentioned in the gospels of Mark and John. After that, however, biblical accounts of the Crown of Thorns are virtually non-existent for a few hundred years.