Rome Newsroom, Jul 19, 2020 / 03:00 am
While the spire of Notre-Dame de Paris was completely destroyed in last year's devastating fire, another Notre-Dame cathedral, the largest in France, offers the opportunity to see the spire that it was based on and to venerate a prized relic.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame d'Amiens, 80 miles north of Paris, is celebrating its 800th anniversary in 2020 by exposing its relic of St. John the Baptist for veneration. The relic has traditionally only been on public display on the saint's feast days on June 24 and August 29.
Amiens is the largest cathedral in France, with an inner volume twice the size of that of Notre-Dame de Paris. Construction began on the Gothic cathedral in 1220, shortly after France acquired the relic of St. John the Baptist from Constantinople. Upon its construction, it became a popular destination for 13th-century pilgrims.
St. Louis, King Charles VI and Charles VII made pilgrimages to Amiens to venerate the relic, and a 17th-century French bishop vowed to build a chapel dedicated to John the Baptist after invoking the saint's intercession for the end to the plague epidemic of 1668. Renovation of this chapel and reliquary was finished in time for this year's anniversary.