September 17, 2012

0334 FRANCE (Grand Est) - Notre-Dame de Reims (UNESCO WHS)

Hardly can find a building deeper and longer related to the French monarchy as Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims (Cathedral of Our Lady of Rheims), which celebrated last year the 800th anniversary. It was erected to a site of an older church, destroyed by a fire in 1211, which was built on its turn on the place of the basilica where Clovis, the first King of the Franks, was baptized by Saint Remi, bishop of Reims, in 496 AD. Before that, on the site was some Roman baths. The present Reims Cathedral was completed by the end of the 13th century, with the west front added in the 14th century, but based on 13th century designs. Along with the cathedrals of Chartres and Amiens, Reims is a member of the illustrious triad of "High Gothic" or "Classical" French cathedrals built in the 13th century.

Since 12th century, when the ceremony of coronation was fully established, almost all French sovereigns were consecrated at Reims, more precisely 25, from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825. Moreover, has been established the habit as the one who  fulfilled the coronation ritual to be the Archbishop of Reims (although some kings were crowned at Noyon, Orleans and Chartres), the habit which continued until the French Revolution.

Since I talked about coronation, I can't abstain to describe it briefly. The ceremony began with "the promise" (later replaced with an oath), ritual act by which the Church sought to limit the potential excesses of the king, by which he engage to bring peace to the Church and his Christian subjects, to fight against the enemies of God and to do everything he can to reign righteousness and misericordia in his kingdom.

After that, follow "the choice". Archbishop declares him king, and the bishops, the great nobles and the people approved. Finally take place anointing the forehead with chrism, rite by which the king became "chosen of God", then he received the ring (symbol of connection with his people) and the sword (to fight against the enemies of faith). All western medieval kings were invested with this character of sacredness. Chosen by God as his representative on earth, the king, ruling, exercise a sacerdotalism. Serving God and the king were two things inextricably linked together, and the king was no longer, as in oriental monarchies, a despot. From Charlemagne to the present day, all Christian monarchs will be entitled "king by the grace of God" (Dei gratia rex).

Because I am convinced that I will receive other postcards with this cathedral, I delay for then the description of its architecture. It is part of Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims site, an UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1991.

The stamp is the same blue Marianne et l'Europe issued on November 7, 2011.

Reims Cathedral - Wikipedia
Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Former Abbey of Saint-Rémi and Palace of Tau, Reims - UNESCO official site
Reims Cathedral - Sacred destination
Reims Cathedral - Encyclopaedia Britannica
Istoria culturii şi civilizaţiei (vol.2), by Ovidiu Drîmba - Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1987

Sender: Ana
Sent from Reims (France), on 10.08.2012


  1. All I can think of right now is the love story of Esmeralda and Quasimodo :D Thanks for sharing this, Danut!

  2. Why they can't build anything like this anymore?
    Thanks for participating.