Sunday, November 05, 2006

Prieure de Sion

The Treasure of Rennes-le-Château

(1) Saunière's Discovery

In 1885 "the Catholic church assigned Saunière, thirty-three years old, handsome, well-educated--if provincial--to the parish at Rennes-le-Château. [Bérenger] Saunière set about restoring the town's tiny church, which sat atop a sacred site dating back to the sixth-century Visigoths."


Abbé Bérenger Saunière

"The village parish church had been dedicated to the Magdalene in 1059; during the restoration, he found the mysterious parchment (supposedly) in a hollow Visigothic pillar underneath the altar stone."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

The find, which occurred in 1886 or 1887, consisted of either a single paper or four parchments according to differing accounts of the event. After reading the document(s), Saunière immediately set about excavating the aisle, nave and transcript. He then moved his attention to the graveyard outside and found an encrypted inscription on a tombstone, reputedly that of Marie de Nègre d'Ablès, Lady of Blanchfort, who had died on 17 January 1781. After deciphering the inscription, traveled to Carcassonne and talked to the deputy of the Bishop who resided there. After his visit Saunière experienced a remarkable turn-around in his fortunes.

"Saunière received "vast sums of money [an estimated 200,000 gold francs] to refurbish the local church and also to build many structures in the area, such as his Tower of the Magdalene (Tour Magdala). (Saunière was originally so poor that he relied on the generosity of parishioners to survive in 1885.) He also built many structures in the area, such as his Tower of the Magdalene (Tour Magdala)."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

Saunière decorated the village parish church in the ornate almost garish style that was popular in the late ninteenth century.

"Over the porch lintel is a bizarre inscription, 'THIS PLACE IS TERRIBLE'. A statue of the demon Asmodeus 'guards' near the door. The plaques depicting the Stations of the Cross contain bizarre inconsistencies. One shows a child swathed in Scottish plaid. Another has Pontius Pilate wearing a veil. Sts. Joseph and Mary are each depicted holding a Christ child, as if to allude to the old legend that Christ had a twin. Other statues are of rather esoteric saints in unusual postures: St. Roch displays his wounded thigh (like the Grail King Anfortas), St. Anthony the Hermit holds a closed book, St. Germaine releases a bevy of roses from her apron, and the Magdalene is shown holding a vase."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

Saunière "spent a fortune refurbishing the town and developed extravagant tastes for rare china, antiques, and other pricey artifacts. Yet how Saunièreacquired this apparent windfall remained a mystery--he stubbornly refused to explain the secret of his success to the church authorities."
- 50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

"Saunière died in 1917, leaving the 'secret' of where he got his fabulous wealth to his housekeeper, Marie Dernaud, who promised to reveal it on her deathbed - but sadly she had a stroke which left her paralyzed and unable to speak before her death in 1953. Speculation was rife on the source of the parish priest's money. Was it the lost treasure of the Templars or the Cathars in the area? Might it have been buried Visigothic gold? Was he being paid by the Hapsburgs or some other government for his services? Did he know the lost goldmaking secrets of alchemy? Or was he blackmailing the Church with some terrible secret? The evidence that points to the last possibility is that Saunière's confession before his death was so shocking that the priest who heard it denied him absolution and last rites."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

(2) The Secret Codes

Click on parchments for full size image.

Parchment 1
Parchment 1

Parchment 2
Parchment 2
A mysterious set of transcripts and photographs entitled Dossiers Secrets was deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris (although the little book was never authenticated by the library). The Dossiers Secrets contained two genealogies dating from 1244 C.E. and 1644 C.E., a quasi-Masonic charter and a sketch of the inscription on the tomb of the Countess of Blanchfort. Of even greater interest were two documents which were purported to be of the parchments found in the pillar at the church at Rennes-le-Château

"They were apparently written by his predecessor, Abbé Antoine Bigou, confessor to Marie d'Hautpoul [Lady of Blanchfort], in 1781. (The same cypher appears on her tombstone.)"
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

"According to Henry Lincoln and historians Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail) "these more recent papers contained a series of ciphers and codes, some of them 'fantastically complex, defying even a computer' to unlock their secrets.
"Saunière took his discovery to the bishop in nearby Carcassonne, who dispatched the priest to Paris, where clerical scholars studied the parchments. One of the simpler ciphers, when translated, read: TO DAGOBERT II KING AND TO SION BELONGS THIS TREASURE AND HE IS THERE DEAD."
(The person to whom "HE IS THERE DEAD" was not identified.)
- 50 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time

"The parchments were, on the face of it, Latin transcriptions of passages from the Gospels; but they contained deeper mysteries."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

The first code was easily broken when letters higher than the rest of the text were identified by Henry Lincoln and arranged in order. The code in the second parchment was more complex and yielded an even stranger message.

"The code in the parchment is only decipherable through the use of the knight's tour - a logic puzzle wherein one 'jumps' a knight to every square on a chess board, once and only once. It is a puzzle which has only one solution - as does the code, clearly."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"


(in English)

Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger, authors of the The Tomb of God, write that many of the words are keys to landmarks in the Rennes-le-Château area and claim that they have been able to identify the location of these landmarks. For example LA CROIX is a cross by the railway line north of Alet-les-Bains. When a person visits these sites in the order given on the parchment that person will have traversed a complete square

"Saunière also appears to have left certain other 'clues' in the highly unusual redesign of his church and of the other structures in the area."
"A third cypher that appears, not in the documents, but at Shugborough Hall's Shepherd Monument, is the curious 'D.O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.M' which has never been translated."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

(3) Poussin's Enigmatic Painting

According to Gerard de Sede, L'Or de Rennes-le-Château, the enigmatic reference to "shepherdess no temptation that Poussin Teniers hold the key" in the second parchment refers to the the works of Nicolas Poussin (1593-1665) and David Teniers the Younger (1610-1694), who had painted The Temptation of St Antony.

Poussin reportedly travelled to Paris to verify his discovery and while there visited the Louvre to obtain copies of Poussin's Les Bergers D'Arcadie, Tenier's The Temptation of St Antony and a third painting, a portrait of Pope Celestine V, artist unknown.

Nicolas Poussin, Les Bergers D'Arcadie
Click on painting for larger image.

"There is a famous painting by Poussin entitled Les Bergers D'Arcadie (the Arcadian shepherds) which shows them around a tomb containing the mysterious inscription 'Et in Arcadia Ego...'"
"This tomb appears to be a virtual replica of one not too dissimilar to it right outside of Rennes-le-Château. Saunière 's church indeed contains a 'daemon guardian' which is a representation of the Biblical Asmodeus, who helped Solomon build his Temple; and some say the rays of the sun at midday passing through the glass create an optical effect they call 'blue apples'."
- Steve Mizrach, "The Mysteries of Rennes-le-Château and the Prieure du Sion"

Th phrase "Et in Arcadia Ego" translated into E


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