The chaplain of the Paris fire brigade has been hailed a hero after entering the burning Notre Dame cathedral to help save the Crown of Thorns and other artifacts from the fire-ravaged building.
Jean-Marc Fournier has previously survived an ambush in Afghanistan and helped tend the wounded in aftermath of the Bataclan attack in the French capital.
Father Fournier told CNN he entered the cathedral with firefighters and policemen to help salvage some of the priceless treasures.
Thanks to keys and codes that he kept, emergency services were able to retrieve the Crown of Thorns, which some believe was placed on the head of Christ.
The cathedral says the artifact is its “most precious and most venerated relic.”
“The police took the crown and I took the holy sacrament (the wafers, or body of Christ),” Fournier said.
Fournier has been praised for his bravery on social media after Etienne Loraillère, the director of the French Catholic television network KTO, posted a picture of Fournier and commended the his actions.
An emergency services source who told MailOnline: “Father Fournier is an absolute hero.
“He showed no fear at all as he made straight for the relics inside the cathedral, and made sure they were saved.
“He deals with life and death every day, and shows no fear.”
Four years earlier, Father Fournier helped to nurse the wounded when 89 people were massacred at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan.
Fournier previously spent seven years with the French armed forces, including a tour in Afghanistan, the Guardian reported, where he was involved in an ambush in which 10 soldiers were killed.
Father Fournier, who is in his 50s, started his career as Catholic priest in Germany, and then moved to the Sarthe department of France.
He joined the Armed Forces diocese in 2004.
Around 400 firefighters tackled the historic blaze through the night. The 19th century spire collapsed and was destroyed along with much of the roof.