According to the heritage official responsible for the basilica, Saadia Tamelikecht, the vandal must have found himself “stuck inside the enormous organ” and “damaged the motor and broken the doors on the casing” to escape. Traces of blood were also found among the shards of stained-glass. In addition to the damage to the instrument and the stained-glass windows by which the intruder(s) entered, two other stained-glass windows were smashed and two locks forced.
The broken stained-glass windows dated from the 19th century. They were among the pieces reworked by the architects who restored the basilica after the destruction of the French Revolution, François Debret (1777 – 1850) and Eugène Emmanuel Viollet le Duc (1814 – 1879). The investigation is in the hands of the commissariat of Saint-Denis.
The 800-year-old Basilica of St. Denis was heavily vandalized this week.
Vandals smashed the 19th century stained glass windows and the nearly 200-year-old organ.
The basilica is the first Gothic church in Europe built in 1135.
The over 800-year-old Basilica of Saint-Denis in France was heavily vandalised this week, with vandals smashing stained glass windows and severely damaging the nearly 200-year-old organ.
The destruction was discovered on Sunday morning by the basilica’s organist, who found that the engine of the organ had been damaged along with other parts of the massive instrument, designed between 1834 and 1841, Le Parisien reports.
Saadia Tamelikecht, head of the departmental unit of architecture and heritage of the heavily migrant-populated Seine-Saint-Denis suburbs, said the damage to the instrument, which has been recognised as a historic monument of significance in France, was major.The vandalism was likely done, according to Tamelikecht, as a result of someone hiding within the instrument and smashing their way out.On Tuesday, even more damage was discovered, with two stained glass windows having been smashed along with two locks that had been pried open. The windows were created in the 19th century, rebuilt after the destruction of the French revolution. Police say they are investigating the incidents.
The vandalism comes just under a year after the Basilica was stormed by far-left activists and illegal migrants who occupied the place of worship to protest a law directed at curbing illegal migration into France.
On February 9, a malefactor broke a sacred vessel and spread hosts across the altar of the church of Notre-Dame in Dijon. The sacristan called the police. A Mass of reparation was celebrated that same afternoon by Bishop Roland Minnerath.
Finally, the tabernacle of the church of Saint-Nicolas was found knocked over on February 10 in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines. A 35-year-old homeless man was arrested and admitted to the crime, before being committed to a mental hospital.
On February 12, the French minister for the interior published a report for 2018 on racism and anti-Semitism levels in France, which are considered alarming. Few commentators pointed out that anti-Christian incidents remain by far the most numerous. Incidents “of a racist and xenophobic nature” have dropped by 4.2% to 496 events in 2018. Anti-Moslem incidents reached their lowest level since 2010 with approximately 100 occurrences. Anti-Christian acts, on the other hand, have climbed to 1,063 recorded incidents from 1,038 in 2017. In the realm of discrimination, are we dealing with selective indignation?
A statue of Our Lady was found in pieces on the floor of the church of Saint-Nicolas d’Houilles in Yvelines. This was the third time in ten days that the pastor reported vandalism to the police. At the end of January, the altar Cross had been thrown on the ground and the celebrant’s chair damaged. The vandals were not identified.
On February 5, an altar cloth and the Nativity scene caught fire in the cathedral of Saint-Alain de Lavaur in Tarn. The arsonists also twisted the arm of the Corpus on a crucifix. Two adolescents were arrested. “God will forgive, not me.” was mayor Bernard Carayon’s reaction in the local press. The town hall had just contributed to an expensive restoration project for the cathedral.
On February 6, a parishioner discovered a Cross painted on the wall with excrement in the church of Notre-Dame-des-Enfants, Nîmes, in Gard. Hosts had been made to adhere to it. The tabernacle had been broken into and the remaining hosts had disappeared. Excrements littered the floor and “several statues” had been soiled.