Author Topic: The Mystery of Rennes-le-Château  (Read 1753 times)


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The Mystery of Rennes-le-Château
« on: June 27, 2006, 09:00:43 am »
I went to Rennes le Chateau this sunday with Yichun, my favorite photographer. For those who don't know the place, it is a small village on the top of a hill in the Corbieres mountains (South of France).  It has always been considered as a "place of forces" by the various populations that lived around since the iron age and before. The Abbé Saulnieres made it famous because of the treasure he  probably found to support his grandiose works and fastuous life. DV will tell us the relation with the Da Vinci Code as I have not read the book or watch the movies YET. Check the gallery with pictures of the main interest points: the Tower Magdala, the Museum, the Church with the famous sculpture. Notice the three Englishmen in the Church that use pendulum and sticks to locate leys.
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist.” - Charles Baudelaire (French and monstrous poet).

Devious Viper
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Re: The Mystery of Rennes-le-Château
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2006, 08:01:04 am »
See Loki's photographs at

For 360o interactive panorama:
hold down left mouse button and move around church!

In The Da Vinci Code, author Dan Brown claims that the Priory of Sion "is a real organization", "a European secret society founded in 1099",  "In 1975 Paris Bibliothèque Nationale discovered parchments known as Les Dossiers Secrets, identifying numerous members of the Priory of Sion, including Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo, and Leonardo da Vinci". All this in a preliminary page under the title FACTS (as opposed to fiction).

The Priory of Sion

This is an esoteric order legally registered in France in 1956 by Pierre Plantard (1920-2000), but claiming great antiquity. Legends connected with the Priory of Sion have generated great interest through the years, particularly as a result of the publication in 1982 of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by British journalists Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. The story starts with Father Berenger Saunière (1852-1917, and whose last name is also borrowed in The Da Vinci Code), who in 1885 became the parish priest of Rennes-le-Château, a small village in the French region of Aude, near the Pyrenees Mountains. Saunière, it seems, was a rather strange character, deeply interested in symbolism; he also had a penchant for building a number of constructions around his parish church, including a bizarre neo-gothic "Tower of Magdala".  (Click HERE for an interactive 360o panoramic view - requires Quick Time)

These construction projects obviously cost a good deal of money, while Saunière was known to come from a poor family, and one did not normally become rich in 19th century France by being a parish priest in a mountain hamlet. Rennes-le-Château lies at the heart of the area once inhabited by the Cathars, and rumors spread that Saunière had found a treasure buried in the Middle Ages by the persecuted heretics. The fact that Saunière was also an archeology buff, and had found some old artifacts whilst digging in the vicinity of the parish church, added fuel to the fire of rumors. The priest did his excavations at night, in order to remain the sole owner of his findings (which, according to French law, he should have given to the State).

This obviously did not endear Saunière to the municipality, and some villagers also suspected him of having an affair with his servant, Marie Denarnaud (1868-1953), who was undoubtedly fiercely loyal to the controversial priest. These rumors could not have failed to attract the attention of the local Catholic Bishop, and having investigated the matter he concluded that, rather than having found a Cathar treasure, Saunière had made his money from "trafficking in Masses", a not uncommon wrongdoing among 19th and early 20th century priests. In the Catholic Church, Masses can be celebrated for the benefit of a specific soul, in the hope of helping a deceased loved one to ascend from Purgatory into Heaven. Masses can also be said for a specific aim for the benefit of living persons (for instance, for healing purposes). Prior to Vatican II, for each Mass, priests received a stipend, i.e. a fixed amount of money for each Mass they said. "Trafficking in Masses" meant, in practice, that priests advertised their willingness to celebrate a great number of Masses for both the dead and the living. Advertising in this way was regarded as a kind of unfair competition towards other priests, and was condemned by the Church as illicit. The matter became even worse, of course, when priests failed to celebrate the Masses requested, despite having received the appropriate stipend.

In 1909, the Bishop asked Saunière to leave Rennes-le-Château; the priest refused, and was suspended from his priestly duties and privileges (a lesser sanction than excommunication, but a painful sanction nonetheless, which ended Saunière’s ecclesiastical career). He decided to remain in Rennes-le-Château, however, and the ownership of his buildings (Tower of Magdala included) did not pass to the diocese, because Saunière had taken the precaution of transferring their ownership to Marie Denarnaud.

Pierre Plantard, who had also been the leader of a occult-political organization known as Alpha Galates, told that Saunière did indeed discover a buried treasure, and that it included much more than valuable antiquities. Buried in Rennes-le-Château were documents confirming the old Southern French legends that Jesus Christ, rather than ascending into Heaven, had come to live in France with his wife, Mary Magdalene. Plantard added that the divine couple did indeed have children in France and that they initiated a dynasty, which eventually became known as the Merovingian Kings of France. This, Plantard suggested, was the true meaning of the Grail legends: the Holy Grail, in French Saint Graal, was in fact the Sang Réal, which in Medieval French means “Holy Blood”, i.e. the blood of Jesus Christ himself flowing in the veins of the Merovingians.

When the Merovingian dynasty fell from power, Plantard continued, their descendants went underground and a secret organization, the Priory of Sion, has preserved their holy blood even since. Cathars and Knights Templar, as well as early Freemasons and various literary and artistic figures (prominent among them being the painter Nicholas Poussin, 1594-1655), were all said to be connected to the secretive Priory. Plantard gradually started to imply that he was himself not only the current Grand Master of the elusive Priory, but also the last descendant of the Merovingians and the current vessel of Christ’s holy blood.

Plantard’s tale, if true, would turn Christianity on its head, and inspire a whole new interpretation of world history.

The Rennes-le-Château saga became an integral part of international popular culture through novels and movies; Preacher , The Magdalena and Rex Mundi were among the popular comic book series which also focused interest on the subject.

See Loki's photographs at
« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 08:23:59 am by Devious Viper »