by Jean-Patrick Pourtal (JPP)
Translated from French
(where possible I have tried to preserve the nuances of what has been said in French at the expense of good English grammar)
Gino Sandri, Secrétaire of the Priory of Sion
It was during the summer 2003 when we met, for the first time, Mr Gino Sandri. The idea of this meeting came to us following the letter, on several fronts, of the Priory of Sion [at the] end of the year 2002. A few months after this decision-making, the first contacts were established. Very quickly, Mr Sandri accepted the idea of an interview intended to be published on the "Rennes-le-Chateau website.
". Mr Gino Sandri has been a member of the Priory of Sion for many years. Very close to Pierre Plantard, he is amongst a very closed circle of the leaders of the Priory of Sion. As you will be able to read, Mr Sandri answered all of our questions while bringing the elements there to our comprehension. The whole of the answers of Mr Sandri are reported "In extenso". However, the elements, arguments and insinuations of his answers engage only him [his interpretation only].
Jean-Patrick Pourtal (JPP): Mr. Sandri, how long have you been a member of the Priory of Sion, and how did you enter?
Gino Sandri (GS): I joined in 1977, recommended by Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair.
JPP: You were near to Mr. Plantard for a long time. You knew him when he was Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. What were the objectives of Mr. Plantard for the Priory of Sion when he directed it?
GS: The basis is constant and immutable, related to the paramount tradition, however, the external forms can vary. SION, in fact, means branch or origin. It belongs to those who received the responsibility of direct action as well as possible, taking into account the contingencies of the moment. It as should be specified as if the ORDER often counted in its centre of the influential characters who make of it the ideal CIRCUIT for certain interests, its objectives are neither political nor financial
JPP: Mr Plantard was the documentalist [sic] of Mr. De Sède for the several works of this author. How was this collaboration organized?
GS: About 1960, at the time of the business of Gisors, Gerard de Sède, who fortuitously met Roger Lhomoy, published a resounding article in a weekly magazine with a great circulation. It was then deemed worthy of him to come into contact with Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair. [He first went] to Aulnay-sous-Bois, 116, which was the idea of Pierre Jouhet, and this was followed by the goodwill of others... Gerard de Sède then receives a file which provides the material for his two books: "Les Templiers sont parmi nous" Templiers are among us" and L'or de Rennes" "the gold of Rennes". According to the contract signed with the Julliard editions, the rights are shared between Gerard de Sède for 35% and Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair for 65%. Gerard de Sède completes the drafting of its second book and goes to the Aude, which gives the opportunity to him to make contacts. In particular, [he receives some information] from Rene Descadeillas who publishes a work on Rennes-le-Chateau also. I specify that this last [had been as a result of] a connection with Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair for several years. A long time enthusiastic and impassioned, Gerard de Sède puts an end to this association and works with young collaborators like a Parisian professor or Jean Luc Chaumeil with whom he writes a book entitled "La clef de deux énigmes ""the key of two enigmas". I [seem] to remember that Jean-Luc Chaumeil is the author of the scoop which aims at publishing of exclusiveness the photographs in the treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau preserved in Switzerland. But he acted on the treasure of Pétroassa exposed [as fake] in Paris a few years earlier. This book will not appear and the two joint authors will leave there annoyed!
JPP: Thereafter, Mr. Plantard was very implied in the work of the English authors of " L'Enigme Sacrée " "the Crowned Enigma" [Holy Blood and the Holy Grail]. Its collaboration with conduit these authors to direct the whole of their work around the history of the Priory of Sion. Was the objective to reveal the Priory of Sion to general public and so yes with a what aim?
GS: Generally, the Priory of Sion does not aim [at the] general public but it is necessary to act in the century in a subtle way. There is thus alternation of periods during which the Priory of Sion is a much questioned and others where one speaks about it less. To answer your question precisely, in 1955, Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair, vis-a-vis with a tended situation, with covetousnesses of all kinds, decided to divert the attention while assembling what we sometimes called an intoxication according to a thoroughly elaborate plan. I can quote you an anecdote. In 1977, whereas we put the last hand at the work published under the title: " Le trésor du Triangle d'Or " "the treasure of the Gold Triangle", I discussed with him the booklets diffused under various pseudonyms (Lobineau, Blancassal...) and allotted to Alpina. He entrusting my feeling, he answered me of TAC with TAC: "It is exactly that, you understand, in 1956, one sought to attack me, then I counteracted while launching the business of Rennes-le-Chateau! " It should be said that everyone found its account there, including Mr Corbu who created a hotel with restaurant there. The bow net [fishing net] in which everyone was to gather was installation. Acknowledge that it is successful.
JPP: A great part of work of Gerard de Sède and the English were based on the copies of the parchments which Rennes-le-Chateau Saunière would have found. However we know that these parchments were carried out by Mr. De Cherisey [See note 1]. Why this track was launched grazes about it with the various authors of Rennes-le-Chateau?
GS: The Abbé Saunière discovered parchments in the church Sainte Madeleine of Rennes-le-Chateau, their contents have nothing to do with papers published that and there. It is the same for those which he exhumed thereafter. The screen of the novel of Gerard de Sède is astute. It all starts in 1888 with the discovery of mysterious encrypted parchments and it is the decoding whose key is engraved on a tomb which gives access to the treasure. Doesn't that point out anything to you? As for the famous documents published and analyzed by Gerard de Sède (and others...), their appearance falls under the context which I briefly have just exposed. They were not intended for general public, not more than the famous booklets. These papers were used as support with an exchange of messages coded between networks in action, even in competition. They have nothing to do with a treasure of some nature that it is. However elsewhere, the authentic texts in fact are engraved in the stone.
JPP: Mr. De Cherisey and Mr. Plantard were friends for a long time. Can one believe that the drafting of the parchments are purely produced from their imagination or can one think that they took as a starting point existing documents?
GS: Forgive me to repeat myself, the drafting of these parchments answered at the time a precise goal. There still, it was a question of diverting the attention in order to protect from other documents. As you know it, since 1956, a series of publications diffused under various pseudonyms is put in circulation. We are in the presence of a true campaign which aims at a character or a company which acts in the field of the occult one. This exchange does not concern that a restricted circle. Forty years after, these documents became without interest if it is only historical. It is at the very least amusing to raise that a "dispensary" installed at the time with Rennes-le-Chateau produces quantity of documents of identical invoice as well as the papers or correspondence allotted to the Abbé Boudet abbot or to the Abbé Bigou. These writings are then the juicy trade object which, it appears, continued. Unfortunately, the authors implied in the history of Rennes are victims of this swindle in which the Priory of Sion does not have any share and no benefit draws any.
JPP: For a long time Mr. Plantard supported the fact that he was descended from the Mérovingiens. Why [did he] thereafter, support the opposite?
GS: There is a key which can light many points. This history is not to take literally but it allured Gerard de Sède, fascinated by the nobility and which bases all its novel " La race fabuleuse " "the fabulous race" on this topic and the prégnant myth of the hidden king. He seizes the advisability of putting in scene mysterious "a marquis de B" of which he receives the confidences. The play becomes extensive then since this marquis of B maintains a correspondence with innumerable "researchers" using with this intention a beautiful writing paper decorated with an unknown blazon! Who hides behind this enigmatic aristocrat who has multiple relays in Razès? Our investigation made it possible to establish that there was a bond between this "marquis of B" and the author of the booklet entitled: "Un trésor Mérovingien à Rennes le château " "a Mérovingien treasure in Rennes le Chateau". This last, of Belgian nationality, had habit, at the time of its Parisian stays, to go down, under the name of d'Antoine l'Ermite (Anthony the Hermit), with l'Hôtel du Mont d'Or, 19 rue du Mont d'Or, Paris 17ème (Hotel of the Mount of Gold, 19 street of the Gold Mount, Paris 17th). From the 13 to May 17, 1966, he occupies the room n°2 there then, from the 8 to June 19 of the same year, the room n°1. He deposits its publication with the National Library then, publication which receives the dimension 8 Lj 9 9537. Another publication is used as reference to Gerard de Sède: " Secret files of Henri Lobineau "by Philippe Tuscan de Plantier. According to Gerard de Sède, this name is unknown at this address and Philippe Toscan de Plantier lives in Bodrun in Turkey. April 11, 1967, this young professor of philosophy [is arrested] by the drug squad and held for possesion of LSD[whilst] in the residence of his friend Anne-Marie Rossi, 17 quay of Montebello in Paris. The police force were quite well informed! "honest Man", Philippe Toscan of Plantier does not denounce "his" supplier. The big national dailies of the time [print] an account of these various facts. Gerard de Sède was a faithful reader of these large Parisian newspapers and he could not have been unaware of these various facts!
For half-century now, lived a curious character who was called Henri Lobineau or "Count de Lénoncourt". One could meet him in Paris, where he lived, in Gisors or Rennes-le-Chateau where he had established the headquarters of a strange dispensary. This discrete character had distinguished himself during the second world war. He operated in occupied France and Switzerland for the Count de Selborne, the person in charge of the SOE. When the war was over, he carried out multiple and discrete activities, seeking treasures, negotiating old currencies. He was a relation of Léo Schidlof, antique dealer and historian of art residing in Vienna. Léo Schidlof is the author of the catalogue of a great exposure on the old miniatures in Geneva, in 1956. If curiosity pushes you there, consult some specimens of this trilingual catalogue; the English version is far from being the translation of the French text, it is the same for the German version! Mr N says Henri Lobineau attended a Parisian engineer living which was in Foch. Moreover, this same year, this superb apartment of the Foch avenue was destroyed by a fire. There was no investigation. This year 1967 is rich in varied fact . Is it necessary to speak about Fakar Ul Islam found died in station of Melun following an unfortunate fall from the night train Paris-Geneva? Still a fact various if you want it well. This same year an opuscule "Le Serpent Rouge " "the Red Snake", is the subject of the registration of copyright. However, the three authors mentioned committed suicide quasi simultaneously. Is delirious is contagious what brought certain authors a little overworked to affirm that Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair and the Priory of Sion assassinated three people by hanging! The contents of these small opuscules are certainly delirious but there resides some interesting things at the bottom of it. Then, a last coincidence: in this year 1967, several paperboards of files of the Priory of Sion are concealed, at the time of a burgling, in the apartment of Philippe de Chèrisey, located 37, street Saint-Lazare in Paris. Is there a relationship between all these facts? Five years later a journalist, a part time singer, will try to sell these papers for the highest offer.
JPP: In 2000, Mr Plantard Dies. In June of this same year, I am directly contacted by his son by e-mail who announces the death of his father to me, [which had] occurred a few days [earlier]. However after checking, I discover that the death of Mr. Plantard occurred on February 3, 2000. Why such a handling of the death of the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion?
GS: These last years, the Priory of Sion in general Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair in particular had to face a tended situation. We knew a recrudescence of make out, anonymous leaflets, threats and pressures of all kinds, but it is not most serious. Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair does not wish to finish like Péladan or George Monti victims of a poisoning. A strategy was worked out and of the provisions were taken. I will not say any more.
JPP: For some, the death of Mr. Plantard would be false. For others, Mr. Plantard would be... ressuscity! [resuscitated] What do you think of all that?
GS: What's your opinion?
JPP: Let us [return] to the Priory of Sion. What represents Rennes-le-Chateau for the Priory of Sion?
GS: There are other places according to times'. Why one never speaks about Millau, Annemasse de Montrevel or Brazil. All this is adjusted in space and time. With regard to Rennes-le-Chateau, the Priory of Sion establishes its seat in 1681 there. The Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement (Company of the Blessed Sacrament) , rested by Henri de Lévis, is dissolved in 1665. Some glosses later there are always followers in the area, followers who join the Priory of Sion. With the origin of this choice we find Jean-Timoléon de Negri d' Ables assisted by Blaise d' Hautpoul. Also let us raise the names of the Abbés Andre-Hercules de Fleury and Jean-Pierre Cabanié. New provisions are taken on September 19, 1730 by François d' Hautpoul and Jean-Paul de Nègre himself related to a survival of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement. If we return to the files of the Priory of Sion this indicates deposits of various nature of the documents or objects of which some are extremely old I think of certain engraved stones. The situation is very complex. During the French revolution between 1789 and 1792 of the "clandestine" deposits are made up in order to put invaluable files and notarial acts at the shelter from vandals. For the majority all remained. With regard to the Priory of Sion, some of these acts were entrusted to Maximilien of Lorraine, archbishop of Cologne. At the beginning of the 19th century, parts remain in the hands of Hapsburgs which, a few decades later, establish contacts with the Abbés Boudet and Saunière. Why? It is a question of exchanges of documents. Another deposit is made up at the Chateau de Lys close to Lille. In 1938, Gabriel Trarieux d' Egmont is invited there by the count of Saint-Hilier, great-uncle of Philippe de Chérisey. In preparation for the war which has been announced, the files, entrusted to Gabriel Trarieux d' Egmont are moved to Monte Carlo.
Let us speak, if you want, about a similar business. With the end of the French revolution, the Priory of Sion tries to obtain from Angélique Lenoir the restitution of certain acts. It then claims to have burned all papers under the Terror [of the revolution]. This is inaccurate because we know that it entrusted a part of it to the count d'Antraigues. Why these precautions? What was the [secret motives of] Lenoir the Angelica? Why does it claim to have destroyed all papers, titles and manuscripts which it received? Andre Chénier and the Abbé Delille speak about documents of the Temple. But... [how does the] Temple act? The Order of the Temple or the secrecy of the Temple in Paris? Only this last could have interest to the eyes of Habsbourg. Angélique Lenoir was married in Jean-Marie Alexandre d' Hautpoul. In 1799, Elisabeth d' Hautpoul known as ''Mademoiselle de Rennes" receives her family at the castle of Montferrand near Rennes-les-Bains. The General of Hautpoul is present 2. The purpose of this meeting is to entrust documents of Angélique Lenoir to the last young lady of Rennes. She dies in Paris on May 20, 1820. The royalists did not hesitate to believe that parchments of Angélique Lenoir touched with the enigma of the survival of Louis XVII. To date, nobody found the documents of Angélique Lenoir, at least... in Rennes!
JPP: Did this have relations between Bérenger Saunière and the Priory of Sion?
GS: What do you [understand] by relations? If you ask to me whether he belonged to it, the answer is negative. Bérenger Saunière was in the place and he was used and handled by various networks to seek certain deposits. I specify you that the research of the treasure of the Abbé Saunière does not interest me. For my part, I never dug holes in the area and I do not intend to!
JPP: It is notable that Rennes-le-Chateau attracts many groupings. Many "Secret" Companies, "Discrete" seem to be impassioned for this place. What does the Priory of Sion think of that and also that they are present in these places?
GS: The Priory of Sion is delighted with some. That occupies them. The more there are the insane ones, the more one has fun. How says it Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair with his usual humour, all is held according to the plan envisaged, forty years afterwards! Always on the humorous mode, I believe that there is well a Priory of Sion in activity in Rennes or perhaps several, but they are the counterfeits which we identified. With your opinion, why doesn't one speak about places quite as important?
JPP: For some, the Priory of Sion would be related to the Franc-maçonnerie. What really does happen?
GS: The question often returns. I thus will try to dissipate confusion. I know that some see the Priory of Sion like a Masonic obedience or more exactly a structure of high ranks. Nothing of it. It is a system of representation which is familiar for them but which does not have any relationship with reality. From whom does this confusion come? I already evoked the opuscules deposited with the National Library mentioning the Grand Swiss Lodge Alpina as if one wanted to switch [the story] on this track. With a what aim? But, it happens that masonic structures are caused or directed by the Priory of Sion to be used of circle external or relay as in Lyon in 1828 with the rite of Memphis. Later, these structures are delivered to their own destiny. Lastly, of the members of the Franc-maçonnerie and have not formed part of the Priory of Sion. I think of Doctor Savoire or to George Monti, [are] closely related to the Duke of Connaught, Grand-Master of the Grand United Lodge of England but, Franc-maçonnerie was not their priority.
JPP: At the beginning of this year, an "official" document of the Priory of Sion was made available of general public. This document carried your signature like another which mentions G CHYREN. It is announced that 2003 is one fateful year and that the apogee of the Priory of Sion will be reached. What [is the significance] of 2003 for the Priory of Sion? At which moment should it reach its apogee, knowing that we are in now in October 2003?
GS: There are cycles which determine privileged moments, which one calls in certain mediums of the circuits. These remarkable moments are favourable with the revelations. With regard to the Priory of Sion, all is in order and we go towards a necessary clarification. The false Priories will appear in full light what will support their implosion.
JPP: Always in the same document, it is clearly specified that the place of the Woman is important for the Priory of Sion. Of what does consist it?
GS: On a fundamental level, it is an essential point, occulted [hidden] unfortunately well. The plus part of the initiatory companies are often only caricatures and the latent misogyny is a sign. Without being able to extend me on the subject, I want to subject this to your reflexion. In much of ritual, impétrant [importance?] is put in the presence of death and of the rebirth. Died and transfiguration! However, in Egyptian mythology, it is Isis which is able alone to gather the scattered pieces of the body of Osiris. Though one makes, it is impossible to circumvent.
JPP: Can you describe us and explain us the current structure of the Priory of Sion?
GS: There are traditionally several circles, at least two, three to be exact, which gives sometimes the impression which there are several structures, one being the transfer of the other.
JPP: In this end of the year 2003, the Priory of Sion of 2003 seems very different from that which Mr. Plantard directed. Can you speak to us as of the its objectives?
GS: It is obviously an impression and I you gave the explanation of it previously. There are no difference, no rupture and are persuaded that the influence of Pierre Plantard is quite real. As for its objectives, they are neither political nor financial as are some of the members. The mixing business and politics does not have its place there. The world of arts and the letters always occupies a dominating place there.
JPP: The Priory of Sion is directed by a Grand Master. Can you speak to us about the current grand Master and can you reveal us his name?
GS: I will not say any to you today.
JPP: For much of people, the Priory of Sion seems non-existent. Do you recruit? And what are qualities necessary to enter to the Priory of Sion?
GS: One does not postulate. One is carefully selected after being lengthily studied and tested in particular, the moral integrity is essential. One grants no value to the titles and the diplomas. Generally, impétrant is a noble and pure heart having to no structure. Péladan organized the living rooms of the Rosicrucian brotherhood, George Monti was a artist-painter; putting into circulation of an undertaking of art is a signal of recognition intended to bring together individuals having an identical sensitivity.
JPP: A pie(?) last question: What is the bond between the Priory of discrete Sion which we have just evoked together and association created with Annemasse in 1956?
GS: Association created with Annemasse answered in its time, in its place, with a precise goal. It was also, if you prefer, a kind of external circle. A similar function dealt with the Order of Alpha-Galates created in 1934 in Paris. We could also evoke other creations...
JPP: Thank you for your answers
1Or nous savons que ces parchemins ont été réalisés par M. De Cherisey. de Cherisey COPIED the Parchments, Sandri is directly contradicting Plantard here. de Cherisey could not have written the parchments as he didn't know how to decode them correctly. See here. If the Priory of Sion concocted the parchments why is it that each and every word interpretation of Bergere pas de tentation etc........... is not now public knowledge? The truth is probably that they have come by these parchments and as yet do not know what the final message means (de Cherisey made only a guess) and do not want the world to know that do not control everything. They were either released to the public by mistake or released so that someone might solve it for them.
2 Presumably this means 'the whole of the family were there'.