CHRISTMAS 2014 … FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE … A CHRISTMAS TREE FOR PARIS’ NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL …

  You may be in Paris this Christmas. If so, you will undoubtedly visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and you will see and love the Christmas tree on the square in front of the cathedral. You may not however know that this tree has been gifted to the cathedral by Russia. Gifted, in fact, to […]

Russian Christmas Tree Cmas 2014 (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

Russian Christmas Tree Cmas 2014 (copyright Marilyn Z Tomlins)

 

You may be in Paris this Christmas. If so, you will undoubtedly visit the Notre Dame Cathedral and you will see and love the Christmas tree on the square in front of the cathedral.

You may not however know that this tree has been gifted to the cathedral by Russia. Gifted, in fact, to the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Notre Dame.

And I will tell you the rest of the story.

Each year a Christmas tree is erected in front of the cathedral, but a few months ago the archdiocese announced that it has no money for a tree this year: this year of Christmas 2014.

Notre Dame’s rector, Monsignor Patrick Jacquin, explained to the media that the cost of an illuminated tree had doubled from last year’s €40,000. In other words, an illuminated tree would cost €80,000, and his diocese just did not have that kind of cash.

Mgr Jacquin consequently sent appeals out to several embassies in the capital asking if any would be so generous as to help out the Notre Dame Cathedral by donating a Christmas tree. He also asked the Paris Town Hall for a tree. The latter’s response was a humble apology: sorry we do not have that kind of money.

One embassy came to Paris’ rescue: The Embassy of Russia. The rector had been told that the Town Hall of Moscow with the Russian Orthodox Church would be delighted to gift Notre Dame Cathedral a tree.

The 25-metre high tree had to be transported from Russia to Paris, which meant traversing several countries over four days. The cost of doing so plus that of the tree, from a Russian forest, had come to €30,000.

At the tree’s inauguration on Saturday, November 22, Russian Ambassador Alexander Orlov said: “We wanted to show by this gesture that, despite efforts to isolate Russia, the friendship between our two countries is so strong and deep that no political game can destroy it.”

What was he talking about?

The government of France’s President François Hollande is currently refusing to honour the €1.12 billion Russian order for two of France’s ‘Mistral’ helicopter-carrier warships placed three years ago. France is siding with the Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and says the warships will not be delivered until Russia stops her aggression of the Ukraine. The money, by the way, has already been handed over to France.

Perhaps someone should tell President Hollande how Igor Tkach, an envoy of the Moscow city government, had described the tree at its inauguration: “A marvelous symbol of the unity, brotherhood and mutual understanding between Christian peoples.”

 

(copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

(copyright Marilyn Z.Tomlins)

The current Archbishop of Paris is Cardinal André Vingt-Trois.

Notre Dame Cathedral houses two of Catholicism’s most important relics which are the Crown of Thorns, and a fragment of the True Cross, and one of the Holy Nails.
I will end by saying: спасибо России

Cmas Tree Notre Dame 2014 (7)

(Copyright Marilyn Z, Tomlins)

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

2 Responses

12-17-2014 at 21:19:55

Beautifully decorated tree; very tasteful. Great pictures M!
Your serious point: yes, interesting that the ‘Evil Empire’, according to the cerebrally-challenged Reagan, should be the country to gift a tree! Who paid the transport costs, do you know?

12-19-2014 at 21:59:21

John Needham, Russia paid for everything.

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