Suicide in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris
May 21, 2013
A French man committed suicide inside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on May 21.
Dominique Venner, a 78-year-old historian and activist with a long history of involvement in traditionalist and nationalist causes, killed himself with a gunshot to the head, prompting police to evacuate the cathedral.
Venner had been a bitter opponent of the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and had recently written that it would “require new, spectacular and symbolic actions to rouse people” to oppose the measure. Before taking his own life, he placed a sealed envelope on the altar of the cathedral. Police did not reveal the content of the letter.
Venner had been a member of the Organisation de l’Armée Secrete, the group of Algerian war veterans that sought to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, and was jailed for his role in the group. He had subsequently been involved with a variety of groups opposing Communism and immigration. At the same time, his historical work had drawn critical praise, earning him an award from the Academie Francaise.