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"The Sauniere Mystery Continues
- A Message in a Bottle"

by Mary Alice Bennett

"The Renovation of Rennes-le-Chateau"

Rennes Le Chateau

Some say that it was the treasure of the Cathars that funded the Abbe Sauniere`s extravagant building projects and the redecoration of his church. Besides building the mansion house for retired priests called "Bethania", he raised the beautiful Tower Magdala named for Mary Magdalene whose name translates as "The Tower of Our People". The tower is part of the wall that surrounds the church complex on the top of the mountain. The glass tower - the "Orangerie" greenhouse made of wrought iron and glass, architecturally balances it. The priest was very important to the Priory of Sion, his church held some of their documents. They had deposited parchments in three locations, at Mount St. Michael, the great church built on a tiny coastal island on the French coast; at Gisors, the location of the Elm of Gisors from the history of the Templars; and at "an Arch called Beth-Ania" which was the name of the new mansion.

There was a secret treasure room behind the closet wall in Sauniere`s sacristy where he changed into his vestments. The room was bare and the dirt floor was excavated long ago. Perhaps the church had been built over a hidden cache. A symbolic yellow stripe marking is embedded into the foundation of Rennes-le-Chateau signifying that someone of royal blood is interred inside the church. It is a very out of the way spot for a royal tomb. Beranger Sauniere had discovered a grave beneath the altar aisle with a carving of a Templar knight on the cover stone. This stone was turned over and re-cemented into place.

Sauniere was the first priest to have the run of Rennes-le-Chateau without aristocratic supervision, he was appointed to the parish when the church was nearly in ruins. Having grown up within sight of the area, he knew of the tales of treasure buried there. Rennes-le-Chateau hides a subterranean world of hidden passageways and natural faults, which connect the buildings on the property. It was the church of Hautpoul castle built by the king of the Visigoths after the fall of Rome. The Visigoths were said to have brought the Ark of the Covenant to France after capturing it from Rome. The neighboring town of Arques is named for the Ark, which was one of the rumored treasures of the Languedoc. The tunnel system beneath the church was a closely held secret and it made the local priest "The Keeper of the Vault". The entrance to the chamber below was under the chimney of the rectory and the kitchen fire burned on top of the trap door. This is why Sauniere and his mistress never moved into the villa Bethania; they remained in his rectory to guard the secret entrance.

"The 19th Century Neo-Cathars"

The founder of the Neo-Cathar church was a church librarian from Carcassonne named Jules Doinel. The Neo-Cathar movement raised alarm in the Vatican. There was a French occult revival going on and The Salon de la Rose + Croix was becoming more and more popular. In the Paris art world, the Symbolists were expressing these esoteric ideas in their paintings - they were dedicated occultists. When Sauniere discovered the encoded parchments in the Visigothic pillar in his church, he was sent by his presiding Bishop to St. Sulpice church in Paris to have them translated. St. Sulpice was named after a Merovingian bishop. Emile Hoffet was the cleric who decoded the parchments; he introduced Sauniere to Claude Debussy who was the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion at that time. Hoffet also introduced Sauniere to the opera singer Emma Calve, the famous diva who was also a high priestess of the Parisian esoteric underground, and a Cathar. She would visit him frequently at Rennes-le-Chateau. In the courtyard there is a fountain and a stone with her name and a heart carved on it. She was said to have been his mistress.

In the 1890`s and 1900`s the French esotericism Papus, along with Emma Calve, traveled to St. Petersburg with the French occult revival. They were the personal confidants of the Czar and Czarina of Russia in the era before Rasputin. Both Papus and Jules Doinel were bishops of the Cathar church. Was Berenger Sauniere also a covert Cathar bishop?

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More Articles By Mary Alice Bennett:
The Magdalene and the War on the Divine Feminine
Arcana Arcanissima and the Mysteries Transmitted in Paintings
Clues in the Adoration of the Magi
Leonardo Di Vinci's Last Supper
Leonardo Di Vinci's Ordination of the Magi

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