“The Republic is the work of the devil; the republicans have the
blood of our kings on the hands. They want to cut down the Catholic Church
and be-in-sure, if we leave them in place they will forward to their very
Abbé Bérenger Saunière to his
congregation October 1885.
One day Béranger Saunière's
friend Antoine Beaux, curé of nearby Campagne-sur-Aude said to
Saunière half jokingly-
"To see you living in
such a style, old chap, one would think you'd found a treasure"
Saunière looked him straight in
the eye and replied in the local language Occitan -
"Me l'han donat,
l'hay panat, l'hay parat é bé le téni"
"I was shown it, I
laid hands on it, I've put it somewhere safe and I'm holding on to it"
statement was found in Béranger Saunière's
It was preaching to his newly acquired
congregation at Rennes le Chateau that put Bérenger Saunière into serious
trouble with the church authorities. On the 30th October 1885
his bishop at Carcassonne
received a complaint from the Minister of Religion René Goblet relating to
“reprehensible behaviour” of four clerics in the Rennes le Chateau region
during the electoral period. These other priests were the Abbé Tailhan
curate of Roullens, Abbé Jean curate of Bourriège and the Abbé Delmas vicar
of Alet and the suspension of all four priests came into force on the 2nd
December 1885. In an article written on the 13th December 1885 the
publication La Semaine Religieuse de Carcassone critised the suspension of
these four clerics saying that the Prefect of the Aude had notified them of
a Ministerial decision to suspend their salaries from the 1st December 1885. The decision
for the French Catholic Church to suspend these four priests is odd when you
consider what they did in light of the Papal Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII
made the previous year on 8th February called
Nobilissima Gallorum. The Papal letter was addressed to Cardinals,
Archbishops and Bishops of France saying that France was alienating itself from
its past Catholic Traditions. The four wayward priests had been in fact
merely been doing what they had been instructed to do by the Pope and the
length of suspension is particularly harsh in this regard.
It is not known what happened to the other priests but
Saunière was sent to the Seminary at Narbonne in the early part of 1886 and Bishop
Billard had given 200 francs to help him over this period in which he
received no pay. During his exile in
however he found himself close to his brother Alfred who was then the tutor
to the children of the
Marquis de Chefdebien. The Marquis de Chefdebien had
been a close friend of the recently deceased Count de Chambord, hereditary
heir to the throne of
and with this chance meeting through his brother Bérenger Saunière life was
to change. Count de Chambord was the grandson of Charles X of France; his real
Henri-Dieudonne d’Artois, Duc de Bordeaux. It was his widow, the
Countess de Chambord, formerly
Maria-Theresa von Habsburg who gave Saunière
the money to renovate the church at Rennes le Chateau and is said to have
instructed Saunière to look for something in the environs of his church and
the land on the western side of the village and she dispatched her relative
Johann Stefan von Habsburg to Rennes le Chateau to monitor the progress. It
was Charles X who expounded the Divine
Right of royalty principle which was out of step with the new era of
post revolutionary France. In
October 1873 the Count de Chambord was in a fact offered the throne of France but only
on the principle of the acceptance of the Tricolour flag and the dictates of
the revolution. He refused and the offer was withdrawn in February 1875 and
Third Republic was officially proclaimed. It
was into this situation that Saunière would find himself growing up and
probably promoted his strong anti-republic views. After a long illness Count
de Chambord died on 24th
August 1883 and two years after Saunière made his speech
condemning the Republic to his congregation as the work of the devil after
taking office at Rennes le Chateau on
the 1st June 1885.
Subnote: Maria Theresa von Habsburg (she
gave money to Saunière) was a Dame of the
Order of the Starry Cross
An all female pseudo-masonic Order exclusive to the Habsburgs.
was started by
Eleonora Gonzaga in 1668, she was a Holy Roman Empress.
As we see from her name s
he was from the House
Her Great Grandfather
Louis was listed as the 15th Grand Master of the Priory of Sion.
Her Great Great Grandfather Ferrante was
the 14th Grand Master. He was a patron of Leonardo da Vinci.
There is some controversy over the death of
Louis de Gonzaga who is buried in Mantua Cathedral.
Louis (also known as Louis de Nevers) was
deeply associated with Giordano Bruno
according to Frances Yates, was involved in certain secret Hermetic
societies which anticipated the ‘Rosicrucians’. In 1582, for example,
Louis was in England, consorting with Sir Philip Sidney (author of
Arcadia) and John Dee, the foremost English esotericist of his age. A
year later Bruno visited Oxford and consorted with the same people, and,
Frances Yates maintains, furthered the activities of their clandestine
The Chefdebien family have very strong Masonic
connections and it was one of their number who created the
Philadelphes (also called THE OLYMPIANS
“La Société Olympique” ) which dominated the occult scene around Narbonne. The story goes
that whilst Bérenger Saunière’s brother Alfred was in their employ he stole
a document from the Chefdebien household. This is not confirmed but what is
definitely true is that Alfred was sacked from his job for some unspecified
All of this occurred six years before things changed
for Bérenger Saunière and perhaps all of these meetings and experiences were
to alter his view regarding the specifics of his faith and his church,
fuelled by a change in the dictates of the Papacy of Leo XIII, who received
the Holy See in 1878 and who immediately came out in favour of the French
Indeed it does appear, as a few people have said, that
Saunière found himself being “used
and handled by various networks to seek deposits”,
the general view being that something of importance was secreted in or
around Rennes le Chateau; important enough to warrant even Monasteries and
Nunneries sending money and who would hardly need masses said for them by
this back-woods village priest.
the imagery in his church can be found repeated throughout this part of France but his
lavish expenditure of what was known as the Belvedere is unique to
The likes of the Tour Magdala is not repeated anywhere neither is open
greenhouse at the northern end of the magnificent walkway with gardens one
side and a stunning view the other.
one climbs up the spiral staircase of the Tour Magdala from Saunière’s
library to the observation platform you get the view through that opening
half way up the stairs. If one stops you can find the view shown above and
in the foreground (arrowed) you will find the
Grotte de la Madeleine also called
the Grotte du Fournet (cave of the
little oven). Is this looking back down the line of the scene shown by
Saunière to the left of the frieze under the altar in the church? Would one
looking back down this angle from that cave see the sun rise over Rennes le
Chateau at the winter Solstice?
La Tour Magdala was Saunière's observation tower on the
floor of the library within the tower he has taken upon himself to place
precisely 64 tiles, this is repeated in the Villa Bethania and in his
church. Once could be an accident, twice is a pattern, but three times is a
program. To Saunière the placing of 64 tiles is clearly important and is
shouting out some kind of Masonic symbolism which resembles a first degree
tracing board borrowed from the Royal Arch degree. In Le Serpent Rouge these
64 tiles are mentioned the fourth verse called
Le Serpent Rouge
it says that we must piece together these 64 cubes to find the looked for
Saunière’s new construction throughout the last two
decades of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th
century had been built exclusively on the western side of the village over
what we are told had been formerly the site of the
tombs of the ‘Seigneurs of Rennes’ .
In a letter written by the uncle of the Abbé Bigou, who had been the cure of
Rennes le Chateau forty years before his nephew, it described a chamber
beneath the chapel containing
of the ancient kings and documents which must not fall into unintended
hands”. As a consequence access to this chamber was sealed and probably
resealed by Saunière. It is thought that stairs to some underground chamber
may well exist immediately behind the pulpit under the very thick walls of
Evidence for something being under the village is
strong because shortly after the French President
Francσis Mitterrand visited Rennes le Chateau he ordered the banning of
the use of metal detectors in the village. Speculation is that he did this
in order to forestall a comprehensive search by the Roman Catholic Church in
the village and as we have seen all digging in the village is banned.
However it may be that the cellar has
and anything found has been removed.
There's a lot of smoke here and not a
little fire too.
Mentioned in association
with Charles Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty.
Le Serpent Rouge is
authored by three men who were later found hanged. It was
published one month after the death of Fakhar al Islam
It has been suggested by
some that, similar to St Sulpice in Paris, this was a Temple to Isis
but there is no proof nor even evidence for this whatsoever
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