Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Carcassonne and Rennes-le-Chateau. Berenger and Rochefort. Link looks.

Carcassonne:  Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse.

1. The Berenger in Berenger de Rochefort, Bishop in 1209.
Siege of Carcassonne
  It was the worst of times. 

2.  The Rochefort in Berenger de Rochefort. 
Why and how did he disappear at the siege of Carcassonne in 1209.
Noble families, Cathar ties.
Afterwards, reinstated as fully "Catholic?" The name bounces back.

Track the names. More possible links, despite centuries.
Carcassonne. Rennes-le-Chateau.

Bishop Berenger of Rochefort. We know little as to his tenure but his name is of interest. Berenger. Is the name mere coincidence, in that it also is the first name of the priest at Rennes-le Chateau centuries later, of treasure fame.  How about the Rochefort? Do these old families and places, noble houses, still carry any significance to sleuthing.

Berenger de Rochefort was Bishop in 1209 at the Cathedral of Saint Nazaire and Saint Celse at Carcassonne, when the walled city was taken by the Roman Catholic Crusaders of Pope Innocent III.  He is listed as the 19th bishop of the see, on one of numerous wall plaques at Carcassonne, Saint-Nazaire, commemorating the roster.  Is that 1202-1209?  Did he die?  Leave? Disappear?  Was he ushered out?  If he had been ushered out, even in disgrace (who knows), would his name still be entitled to remain.

Carcassonne, Saint-Nazaire, chronology of Bishops. Berenger de Rochefort 1202 1209. There at the siege of Carcassonne, Albigensian Crusade.

  •  The Crusade was designed to and did exterminate the other Christians in the area, a Cathar or Albigensian group that refused to follow Roman Catholic ritual, dogma, and hierarchy rules.  That church then was remodeled several times, with some vestiges of the earliest structure remaining, until it was demoted in 1803 to the mere Basilica Saint-Nazaire. By that time, a new Gothic Saint Michel Cathedral had been built. Cathars had co-existed peacefully with Roman Catholics and others.  Acting against them required bringing in Crusaders from outside, especially those who returned having failed at the Holy Land.

1.  Berenger.

The name Berenger de Rochefort:  The coincidence is that it was Francois Berenger Sauniere, Abbe at Rennes-le-Chateau beginning 1885, who apparently found or obtained access to some sort of treasure or documents of worth. He suddenly began renovating the parish, living high, and engaging in activities not consistent with Catholic orthodoxy.  See the Timeline at http:// www.benhamm ott.com/rennes-le-chateau-timeline.html

  • The Timeline shows that possibility of a connection between these two Berengers to be remote and more like happenstance, in that some 650 years had passed between the Cathar-era Berenger and the Roman Catholic priest at the small parish.  
  • Would, however, the presence of a Berenger at Rennes-le-Chateau encourage the confessor of Maria de Negri D'Ables to conceal her documents there?
  • Was Berenger Sauniere who found whatever he found, partially or completely (?) converted to a Cathar mindset in rejecting ritual required by the Roman Church -- did he become persuaded by what he found.  If his family had been sympathetic in the long memory of such things, why not.  
  • Sleuth on. 

And the apparent source of the treasure-documents, the last "known" holder, was one Maria de Negre D'Ables of Cathar family and castle heritage, who may or may not have entrusted them to her confessor at her death in 1789. She was living at the time at Chateau Hautpol, there at the village of Rennes-le-Chateau.

Still to be researched.  Was Bishop Berenger, whose tenure ended so suddenly in 1209, a sympathizer with the Christian Cathars, as many Roman Catholics were before the Crusade was unleashed against the Cathars for not following Roman ritual and dogma.  Before, none of that mattered except to Rome.  Neighbors were neighbors. If that was his mindset after serving in the Carcassonne community, could he and other sympathizers in Carcassonne have aided in the Cathars' removal of their property as best they could on short notice.  Or was he killed?  This was a time of betrayals and killing;  siege, expulsion, and requisition of all property of the Cathars to the Pope.  What if a bishop disagreed.

After Berenger de Rochefort, another Rochefort takes over:  A Bernard Raymond de Rochefort takes over in 2009 without comment as to the intervening events. See the list of successions from Saint-Nazaire:  now just another "basilica." Apparently the entire Rochefort group was not tainted, even if Berenger had been.

2.  Rochefort.

Rochefort is also the name of a later August de Labouisse-Rochefort, who recorded a story of the times, much embellished and legendized, but see The Devil's Treasure at http://www.rennes-le-chateau-rhedae.com/rlc/devilstreasure.html There, the story is credited with starting the "urban legend" of the treasure; but with a Berenger connection and other geneologies pointing to Cathar origins and sympathies, can we look again.  Rochefort.  See also http://www.rlcresearch.com/2008/08/31/labouisse-rochefort/
Note the mention in the story of Blanchefort -- isn't that one of the Marie de Negri D'Abli heritage castles?  Have to check.  If so, and the owner is upset at people coming on his property, shall we all go have a look?

Religious histories of genocide, or at the least, extermination of dissenters.  Is that supposed to be acceptable, unaccountable, even now? See http://www.carcassonne.org/carcassonne_en.nsf/vuettre/DocPatrimoneBasiliqueStNazaire5

The name in itself, "Berenger" in the chronology of bishops, puts him in the Catholic camp probably, but we already know that Catholics in the area lived compatibly with the peaceable and non-ritualistic Albigensians or Cathars.

How does this relate to the later stories of a treasure appearing at the disposal of a little-known parish priest at Rennes-le-Chateau centuries later, someone of the same name.

Carcassonne did not merely "surrender."  People fled, there was fighting. Accounts vary, see http://migratorypatterns.blogspot.com/2012/09/iron-pincers-retold-albigensian-crusade.html ; and facts turned to tales and from there into legend.  What kernels are reliable? Here is another timeline:  http://www.rennes-le-chateau-rhedae.com/rlc/rennes-le-chateau-timeline.html.  Simon de Montfort was relentless, see his siege at the town of Termes at http://home.eckerd.edu/~oberhot/cathar-termes2.htm.  Any sympathizer would go into hiding. To us today, Cathar beliefs seem to foster co-existence, tolerance, paratge as they would say -- courtesy and respect.  To the Roman Catholic church, however, autonomy threatened its very dogmatic foundations and must be rooted out. See http://www.cathar.info/

Ask, at least, what happened to the wealth that was at least portable when the citizens fled the night before the Crusaders came, when they learned that their Count (Count Raymond-Roger Trencavel) had been taken prisoner under flag of truce?  If it was portable, it may have left.  Parts unknown, and Templars were all over Europe at that time -- did it go to Austria, Scandinavia, where?  Templars remained a viable entity until the early 1300's.

Is it plausible that treasure was left in town, was Bishop Berenger sympathetic or not to the Cathars.  Who canf find a site for him?

What was left in his parish town, hidden.  The flight of the able left only the infirm, the women and children, the unable to flee, in the city to be driven out naked if appears, and the crusaders ran rampant over the ramparts.  How about the property that could not be taken by the others?  We know they all lost their lands to the Pope.  Was there also gold in them-thar-cityplaces. Is that one source of a trove later to go to Berenger at Rennes-le-Chateau, courtesy of the means of Berenger, Bishop of Carcassonne when it fell?

Ask if this name Berenger, Bishop on the rolls at the time of the attack on Carcassonne, is connected to why a later cleric of the same name, Berenger, at a small parish located nearby, is the recipient of a mystery treasure trove from Carcassonne or other Cathar sources, where there are other Cathar-era connections also to point the way.  See http://www.franceroadways.blogspot.com/2012/09/rennes-le-chateau-afterthoughts on.htm

These armies were horrendous in a local setting.  They were being hurled by a militarist Pope Innocent III, who had been embarrassed by failed crusades, against Christian Cathars in southwest France.  Other crusades were unleashed with equal un-Christian ferocity against northern Europeans, but that was a more remote area.  This Albigensian genocide brought back to mainstream Europe a lust for exterminating those who disagree with church dogma.  The method had been fostered by with Charlemagne executing Saxons who refused to convert centuries ago.  Killing those who disagree with dogma had become the method du jour to force converts and conduct property-grabs for the newly separated Roman branch of Christianity.

How else to keep power?  The Roman church's break from the rest of the Christian world, the Eastern Orthodox Christians, had occurred in 1054. Crusades in Palestine had ensued immediately, not only to "free" Palestine, but to loot; and after an initial success, later crusades failed. Did returning failed Crusaders need ego boosts (we now know that even voting for a losing candidate reduces testosterone - sidelight, see www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/opinion/sunday/is-america-man-enough-to-vote.html?r=0.)

 Regardless, the returning failed Crusaders presented bodies, training, experience and gusto.  And there was the lovely and prosperous Languedoc. And a Pope in need of some victories. The Languedoc, South of France area, was already peopled by Christians, but no matter. There was property and people:  go get 'em.  Cathars also were in the North of France, but the Crusade was aimed at the south-west.

This large, walled city, full of Christian Cathars (Albigensians) as well as Christian Catholics and the usual rest of us of some or no conviction, was targeted by Pope Innocent III for siege by his Crusaders at the outset of the Albigensian Crusade he had called.  With all the sites on the Albigensian Crusades and the Cathars, this time go first to good old Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathar.  Then move to research on related topics.

Unless some mole has changed things, the Wiki site offers a fine overview, including clear notice of the abject failure of the Pope to convert Cathars by example and preaching.  Accordingly, he resorted to violence and genocide. The official dates of the Crusade are 1209-1229, but harassment, excommunications, and other actions against Cathars (who lived peaceably with their neighbors)

Why care?  Care because the Rennes-le-Chateau Berenger has been moved from the hallowed church graveyard to unhallowed ground.  Some descendant was offended?  Is Dogma ever "true'?

What if it is so, that the Berenger of Carcassonne in 1209, felt no enmity toward the Christian Cathars who were forced out, and kept some of their treasures and later another, Cathar-sympathetic, returned them home.  Go, Rennes-le-Chateau.  There are some who say that the fortune originated with Archishop Ferdinan.  Does that matter?  Templars were all over Europe, until decimated by the Pope and King of France for financial gain.

So, some ended up in Austria?  Same difference.  Home to roost.

Next issue:  The priest, Berenger Sauniere.  Please put him back in hallowed ground. Whose is the travesty, the sin, the heresy, if not the Crusade against the Cathars to begin with. Any crusade.  Argue it, ye idealists who think institutions should be held accountable for crimes against humanity.  Why should a much later descendant be able to do that kind of removal?

Will someone please re-inter Berenger Sauniere in hallowed ground. Or, perhaps, as a Cathar, in later times, Berenger himself could care less. Those kinds of trumped up rituals and dogma are meaninless. Would he say that?

The roster of bishops at Saint-Nazaire from early Christian times is documented at the church even now: The earliest may this Silvestre from 653 AD.

Te Berenger name as Bishop is confirmed in the Catholic Dioces of Carcassonne records as shown at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocese_of_Carcassonne.  My interest stops at the conclusion of the Albigensian genocide.

 Here is the group of Bishops immediately preceding that travesty:

Does this slab at Carcassonne, with its arches and Templar-like figures, direct us to a church?  Have to find the translation and photo of the full explanatory plaque at the left. 

And the stories, oh, the stories, see http://www.rennes-le-chateau-rhedae.com/

Carcassonne: Basilica Saint Nazaire. Warfare. Meet the Dead

From the ramparts and outer walls of Carcassonne, now look inside its most historic church, at pre-Gothic traces of older Christian religious practices and forms in what used to be the Cathedral. The Basilica of Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse was built on the site, and with some materials, from an earlier Visigothic Church.  It served as the Cathedral (a bishop at home there) through the fall of Carcassonne in 1209 to the Pope's Crusaders; and until the 1800's when a later Cathedral was built to replace it, Saint-Michel.  In all this, spellings differ depending on the abbreviations used and the language, so do multiple searches. And this church was changed and remodeled to suit later religious purposes, but old vestiges remain. 

A.  The Three Sarcophagi - Identification process. One is the sarcophagus of Raymond-Roger Trencavel. (would a "cenotaph" be an empty tomb with the figure on the top laid out as a tribute?)
B.  Mystery cover slab
C. Shallow etched wall memorial, knight
D.  Templar-type floor slab, skull and crossbones
E.   Memorial to cathars
F.  Stone of the Seat - Relief, depicting death of Catholic Simon de Montfort at siege of Toulouse, killed by Cathars

Saint-Nazaire and Saint-Celse
Basilica, formerly the Cathedral at Carcassonne. 

A.  The Three Sarcophagi

 There are three sarcophagi, sarcophasuses, of special interest.  Who was in them, what religious framework created the designs.  Did one of these house the remains of Raymond-Roger Trencavel, Count of Carcassonne, who was captured under his flag of truce for peace negotiations; then murdered by the Pope's Crusaders. Stories vary:  Did the population learn of the killing and impending siege by the Crusaders, and flee with all they could carry.  That left the infirm, old, pregnant, young, who are represented in art as forced out of the city naked and with nothing.  All property was confiscated.  If so, what happened to the ones who escaped?  What could they take with them?  Were there dispersals into the countryside, across mountains, into hiding places, troves hidden to be found by someone later.

Can Christian Cathar sarcophagi be separated from the Roman Catholic sarcophagi and burial customs.  A first thing to notice about these three is the absence of dogmatic Christian symbolism, figures, scenes. 

1.  First sarcophagus: A simple, wavy line sarcophagus, no top slab, but what looms like a place for a lock to secure a top slab.

Fresco, Saint-Nazaire, showing someone being placed in a wavy-line design sarcophagus.  Who>

2.  Second sarcophagus:  A bi-level chevron pattern, broken in a measured way at one end, perhaps for a removal of a body intact?   There is a design within a circle on the side facing out.

Detail, center circle, chevron sided sarcophagus.

Contrasting end design to chevron sided sarcophagus:  here, a repeating floral pattern

3.  Third sarcophagus, repeating full-cover vine scrollwork

End design to scrolling vine sarcophagus:  a divided sprouting floral pattern.

B.  Mystery cover slab

 C.  Wall Memorial, name defaced completely off:  Count Simon de Montfort, who led the Albigensian Crusade and the siege at Carcassonne and Beziers, among other cities. 

Simon de Montfort was so hated that guidebook information says that his son had his body removed, boiled down, and the bones taken to Versailles so they could not be the focal point of the Cathar sympathizers, of whom many remained. Attempts to reinscribe his name here fail.

 If you have other information, do tell.

D.  Templar-type burial slab, shallow etch

E.  Shallow etched memorial (even burial behind??) knight in mail.  

Look closely. This, image all worn off, is Simon de Montfort, according to this Cathar Information site,  http://www.cathar.info/120503_simon.htm.  I had to jimmy colors to even get the outline of the form there.  The site confirms the identity with a clearer photograph.

Simon de Montfort led the Crusaders, implementing Pope Innocent III's Crusades against Christian Cathars.  Carcassonne fell in 1209, after a 15-day siege, and Montfort taking captive the Cathar Raymond-Roger Trencavel, Count of Carcassonne, betrayed under a flag of truce, then seeing to his death by the end of the year.  See Who's Who in the Cathar Wars, http://www.cathar.info/120503_simon.htm.  Meet Simon de Montfort in the arts, a 1909 play about the Albigensian Crusades, The Iron Pincers, see an abbreviated version at  http://migratorypatterns.blogspot.com/2012/09/iron-pincers-retold-albigensian-crusade.html

Further support for this being Simon de Montfort is the relief shown partially at the left:  the siege of Toulouse where Simon de Montfort was killed by the women at the ramparts, those same women also "manning" the catapults, one of whose hurled rocks hit Simon in the head.  Curtains.

Note the stone sarcophagus with wavy pattern receiving body outside city walls.  Heaven awaits.  Likely for body of Simon de Montfort (same wavy pattern on the stone). Toulouse 2019 or so, Albigensian Crusade.  This was a Catholic church, thus the favoring of de Montfort.  Ultimately, the antagonism of the people to the whole genocide resulted in the Church erecting a new Cathedral, Saint-Michel, nearby -- and as a fortress.  This was centuries later, however, in the 1800's.  Did the hatred really persist for so long as to necessitate a new cathedral fort?

After siege, defeat and expulsion of all the Cathars at Carcassonne, Simon de Montfort continued his efforts on behalf of the Pope and finally met his end.  He was interred for several years at Carcassonne, where he had received the titles to Cathar lands confiscated by edict of Pope Innocent III. Issues remained long after regarding the legality of confiscating lands of Christian nobility on whim, see long list of Christian bishops in Carcassonne, no debate as to "Christianity" of the Cathars.  Only later dogma interpretations of the legal issue , in league with the desire for lands and fast converts, shoved the whole issue under the ecclesiastical banknotes rug.  See Simon de Montfort history at http://www.cathar.info/120503_simon.htm

E.  Knight in chain mail, memorial or burial? Why does this look so much like William Marshal of England, flower of chivalry and nobility of line and action, the ultimate of Courtesie?

 Does a uniform, here of chain mail, make all men look alike?

F.  Wall plaque, memorial to Cathars

G.  Stone of the Seat - Death of Simon de Montfort at siege of Toulouse, killed by Cathars

In this battle scene, the city wall at Toulouse runs vertically, the women of the town maneuver the trebouchet, a stone is thrown at and hits the Catholic leader of the Crusades, Simon de Montfort, see details at http://bbcp.pagesperso-orange.fr/english/cite/basilique/basilique.html  There is supposed to a tableau of angels carrying his heart to the sky while his body is on a stretcher.  Where?  Note that Simon was so detested (this must have been a Catholic project) that -- see above.  This is the only real "live" acknowledgement of the Albigensian Crusade.

This church centuries later showed compassion for refugees, although not those it caused:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Carcassonne. Walled Cathar City. Albigensian Crusade

The Course of the Unthinkable 

Crusades based on Dogma

Carcassonne was overcome and its Cathar inhabitants driven out after a long siege in the 13th Century, because they interpreted Christianity differently than the dominant Roman Catholic institution.  Read the accusations of the Inquisitor Bernard Gui from that time:  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/gui-cathars.asp. In addition, they were highly successful, economically prosperous, peacable, and played well with others.  However, they followed not Rome, but their vision of a good life.

The century 1200-1300 witnessed multiple Crusades.  These were not the Holy Land Crusades so familiar through film, novels and texts disseminated. These were Christian against Christian; or Christian against other Europeans still identifying with perhaps an Orthodox Christian missionary group, or their own ethnic groups.  The Balkan Crusades encompass those Eastern Europe and Northern Europe Crusades. There were also Crusades in Sicily, etc.

Albigensian Crusades.  The Crusade relevant to Carcassonne --  the Albigensian Crusade, named for the City of Albi where may Cathars lived.  The Cathar Crusade in effect extended beyond the official dates.  Initial forays and brutalities at the end of the 12th Century bloomed into a formal Crusade by Papal Bull in 1208, and continued with slaughters until the last found Cathar was killed or forcibly converted, mid-century.  Bernard Gui was a well-known Dominican Inquisitor, see http://www.cathar.info/12050401_gui.htm.  A review of his life and times can help in understanding the era.

Carcassonne:  a huge walled city now repaired, reconstructed where needed to recreate a period and encourage tourists, with a modern city outside the walls.

History overview.  1208-1229 is the formal parameter for the Cathar Crusade of Pope Innocent III, but persecutions and slaughters continued long after, and began before.

 In 1209, the Catholic Crusaders arrive, set siege, cut off the town's water supply, and the Count of Carcassonne, Raymond-Roger Trencavel, agrees to a truce discussion but is captured instead.  The town has to surrender, Trencavel is executed, and the remaining citizens forcibly driven out.  Simon de Montfort takes over the city and surrounds initially on behalf of Pope and King, but then for self.  See http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/christian/blchron_xian_crusades08.htm.  The Baltic Crusades are ongoing in the same time frame. See site.  Attacks against Cathar strongholds continue.

The citizens of Carcassonne at least were given their lives, even when all their property was taken (manye were even sent out naked). Cathar churches were razed.  Cathars in a neighboring town, Beziers, were killed, along with any others non-Cathar who were there at the wrong time..  

Renovations of Carcassonne in the 19th century result in the appearance of the castle and town now. Add tourist restaurants, shops, musicians, and lots of families.

The wood used in old castles and walled towns were vulnerable to flaming arrows, catapulted burning tar-hay balls.

Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

If the water supply had held, could the town have held out longer.

The Crusaders came here from Beziers, then on to Lavaur, Toulouse, Montsegur, and other strongholds. The Cathar genocide has been wiped from the tourist information except for this, a glossy fold-out tourist map, Carcassonne, Plan Touristique, with a flip side entitled "Historique".  Summaries are given in many languages.  It pays to know a little French to see how little we are told.  Carcassonns, built where a Roman fortress once controlled the area. "Simon de Montfort led heavy battles against the heretics, who were protected by Raymond Trencavel, "Vicomte de Carcassonns." After the destruction, a Bastide was built, then burned. Cultural life today is very rich .....

The French is little better:  keep asking, why and how is anyone heretic?  You die if you interpret ambiguous texts differently from your neighbor?  As to Carcassonne, it was also a Neolithic site, and after the Romans, Visigothic.  Christian. Then Saracens occupied.  I hadn't realized the Moors got this far. Then, in the 13th century (I am translating from the brochure) facing a Cathar heresy (? define terms. What dogma and compare it to actual words of Jesus.  How heresy?), the Pope Innocent III declared declared a Crusade against the Albigensians (many Cathars were from Albi, not far away).  The count Simon de Montfort took it in 1209 and took as prisoner Raymond Trencavel, viscount of Carcassonne, Given in 1226 to the Crown.... (how about what led to Carcassonne: Beziers, Trencavel moving to Montfort during siege under a flag of truce, then captured, and later killed while a prisoner, and all the Cathar lands confiscated, riches, belongings, how about expelling everyone there, never mind, dear, that's just old history.

I asked the historian at St. Nazaire how people saw that era now, and she said that they do not question.  They are taught to believe what they are told, and to have faith.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rennes-le-Chateau. Afterthoughts on Geneology, Gnosticism, Dualism. A Priest Changes.

Clues in Geneologies. What belief system was re-emerging.

What if other interpretations arising from the same texts
are closer to a Founder's intent than those of a militant Complex Institution.

What music did Sauniere hear?
Notoriety, focus on secrets and over-working the conspiratorial,
 obscure other issues: 
Where an institution resorts to labels like"occult" in order to entrench its own system and persecute others,  does it really fear vetting its own dogma. 

The process:  Institutional dogma supersedes search for truth.

 Examine Catholic, Gnostic, Dualist Ideas, long held "heretic." 
Sauniere as emerging Gnostic, after the discoveries. 
Did his discoveries lead him there?

Rennes-le-Chateau:  the village, and the parish, and the castle, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. By setting, subject matter, eras, and characters, Rennes-le-Chateau offers a field day for unprovable theories.  One set of theories, however, has narrowed.  Why was there such insistence of the Church in explaining the sudden wealth of priest, Berenger Sauniere, as bad acts by the priest, financial exploiting, (selling masses?).  This idea pales before the Cathar-Templar connections of one Marie de Negre D'Ables or D'Arles, whose burial stone had been at the site but obliterated by Sauniere and other words added, see http://www.rhedesium.com/paul-sennier-and-the-treasure-of-the-aniorts.html).

Marie De Negre had died in 1781, after giving documents and secrets to her confessor priest, Antoine Bigur, who hid them in the church at Rennes.  A copy of her stone had been made before its disappearance (she is not even in the graveyard), but her name and connections suggest deeper issues that threatened the Church: challenge to its dogma, Templars, Cathars, Gnostics, Dualist heresy in the Institution's view.

Her heritage by marriage and perhaps by own line, is shown in her name:  Marie de Negre D'Arles or D'Ables.  The copy of the stone shows Hautpol, and Blanchfort, both Cathar-origin castles. The area of Languedoc was full of Cathar and Templar castles as shown in her name:  D'Ables, Hautpoul, Blanchfort, de Negre.  Each carried related centuries of secrets and beliefs.  What was Catharism?  Why the upset and a whole Crusade against these fellow Christians?  They believed in no hierarchy, and direct access to the deity, no intercessors needed.  It included concepts of dualism, eastern elements, non-dogmatic Christianity, no long list of required "sacraments", responsibility for self, all long deemed "heretic".  The Church with its contrary established dogma had persecuted them ruthlessly.

Ask, in addition to exploring all the theories out there about the source of the funds for Sauniere's wealth, whether other issues of paintings, representations, symbols, personal behavior, show that he himself had begun to adopt Cathar-like views.  Did his exposure to the Marie De Negre materials start him thinking.

The explanation that Berenger Sauniere himself was becoming or became a secret Gnostic, a dualist, explains the Church's ostrich-like ignoring of the connections of Rennes-le-Chateau with those earlier, Manichean, believed-decimated, views.

Once primed, the idea of Gnosticism permeating Rennes-le-Chateau grows.  Mary Magdelene, Madeleine, is the patron of the Church.  She is shown at the altar at the Church of Mary Magdelene, Rennes-le-Chateau. See http://www.rose-croix-veritas.com/Pilat.htm.

Look closely.  Note the position of her hands. Theology: see overview at Mary Magdalene and the Gnostics. Scroll to Gnostic beliefs. Crop the photo and look closer, foggy here.

That hand position is apparently left hand over right, and that is also found, is it happenstance, in the Templar graveyard at the Templar town at La Couvertoirade, also in France, Larzac area. Find the fingers clearly shown for Mary in another painting at http://www.rlcresearch.com/2009/08/08/altar/.  There an intertwining is new, not shown in our photograph. Does that change things? That site notes that an earlier inscription elevating Mary's role, to central in washing away our tears, has been deleted. By whom?

Berenger Sauniere.

Role of designation occult.  Search.

That label has been applied to Berenger Sauniere's practices.  Why? The word itself is a value judgment.  Yet texts are indeed ambiguous. Whether a demon or satan or a snake is in Eden, whether that snake is dualist -- apart from "good" -- is a matter of belief, not proof, but text evidence supports either interpretation. He behaved as a Gnostic, a Cathar in many ways.  He had a relationship, no details either way dispositive, with his housekeeper (as Cathars:  no ceremony for "marriage"; my business is my responsibility), continuing religious services next door at Bethanie when the Church barred the sanctuary from his activities (as Cathar:  ritual unimportant), and other behaviors and choices of decor suggested here.

That gravitating to another belief system other than the dominant Roman Catholic would  not be enough, however, to start solving all the mysteries. It offers motivation for Catholic institutional animosity (ask -- was he killed?), but there also has to be a source of wealth.

The area was replete with treasure tales from fleeing persecuted groups and individuals., through the centuries:  not just Cathar or Templar, but was also Visigothic. Marie de Negre's roots include Visigothic.  See pseudonym Paul Sennier ideas at http://www.rhedesium.com/paul-sennier-and-the-treasure-of-the-aniorts.html. Pyrenees:  a crossroads for those fleeing the Church, or a King, or both. Troves of many origins feasible.

The castles: Blanchefort, Hautpoul or Haupoul or Haupol, and Ables (see Rhedesium site), are discussed on several sites, but none raise the dualistic theology they represented. That theory, that Sauniere had become a dualist, a gnostic, as Marie's family had been by association and perhaps more or less, may be closer to "truth" than other theories of Rennes.  The church: fight back.  Noone can challenge the True Faith as we have defined it, whether Templar, Cathar, gnostic or dualist orthodox. Skip the evidence. Like Jesus married.  Skip the evidence. We have decided and we change not. Or is all this just a scenario created by the fun-loving? Take with grain of Sault.  FN 1


FN 1.  For those who want to explore further

Summary of Analysis:

  • Stones and People and Representations. 

Father Antoine Bigur, the priest of Rennes-le-Chateau and confessor of Marie de Negri Dables, Lady of Hautpol, received from her before her death some documents (so it is said) that she gave him, with instructions for passing them on according to her directive.  He secreted them in a pillar at the Rennes-le-Chateau Church.

The confessor laid an inscribed flagstone by the altar, the Knight's Stone, inscription down.  The confessor told the story to two other priests, then died.

Enter Sauniere, who obliterated the inscription, and there are other issues of inconsistencies between copies made before, see and vet for yourself (how to vet? do it anyway -- where else does the story appear)  http://www.renneslechateau.com/anglais/histoire.htm.

 There are, then, three stones relevant to the Rennes story (the Come-Sourde is really a rock face, apparently, for which drawings exist but location still shrouded?) Can and should some of the theories stemming from the names and places of people involved and shown on the stones, however, still offer ground for further exploration. Why was (and is) the Church so determined to discredit Berenger Sauniere and others following different conclusions from same texts.

Contents here:
I.  The stones:
A. The headstone or Marie de Negri D'Ables;
B.  The repository stone in the church; and
C.   The Come-Sorde stone, so-called, the altar stone with its own history, see http://www.perillos.com/rlc_megalith2.html. And the Come-Sorde is beyond us here, the "location" of whatever is there.

II.  The people and beliefs represented by those connected to the stones.
A.   Marie de Negre D'Ables' heritage connections with Cathar-Templar castles in the area, a consistency and opportunity for receiving, passing on
B.   Dualism of the Cathars, also many eastern-influenced religions, Manicheans, shown in the Arcadia painting at Rennes.  Find the demon in the midst of the good.
C.  Unusual name "Berenger" -- any connection to the Barcelona Count Ramon Berengeur and his heritage.  Boundaries between Spain and France were fluid. 
D.    Greek crosses, not the usual Templar or Crusader Cross, or even the Roman Catholic Crucifix, found.
E.  Mary Magdalene, position of hands at altar representation at Mary Magdalene Church, Rennes-le-Chateau.  See the same position at Templar gravestones. See also the skull beside her:  non-scripture, but many cultural explanations (contemplative life, or Templar later? overview at http://www.mysafetysign.com/poison-symbol-history)

III. Discussion

I. Stones and Inscription Clues to the Source of the Wealth

A.  First stone.  Here is the headstone of Marie de Negre D'Ables.  It is easy to start confusing the stones in the story.  At first I thought this was the Come-Sorde. It is  not.

This is the headstone (if the body is really there)  (is she really buried there?) of the heiress to original secrets/fortunes, Marie de Negre D'Ables. Some writings spell her name as Marie de Negre D'Ables.  She was a noblewoman, Lady, or Marchioness, and that is a step above countess, a step below duchess, of Hautpoul. This stone as headstone for Marie de Negri D'Arles is in the tourist center at Rennes-le-Chateau and is a reproduction.  Tourists are now not allowed in the graveyard, and its view is barred;  where the stone is not there any more anyway.  Neither is she.  See pseudonym Paul Sennier site.

 Did the inscriber mean D'Arles, or D'Ables? We see no connection to Arles, as the reproduction shows; but do see such with Ables. De Negre:  family of Sault (county in France) and Urguel (Catalonia); Visigothic history, but first "death" was late -- in 1389. See http://www.rhedesium.com/paul-sennier-and-the-treasure-of-the-aniorts.html. One Jean de Negre bought the Visigothic (believed to be) Ables Castle in 1600.

She had told her confessor a secret and passed on documents/something, and the priest confessor blanched at the thought (she is indeed a Blanchford, Blanchfort also being a Templar castle), and when she died, after whatever, her stone is embroiled in Rennes-le-Chateau -- there is a long history that is not the point here, but a starting place.

Of Hautpol, of Blanchfort. Of Rennes.

Why has the connection to Hautpoul been downplayed in the Rennes-le-Chateau story: an old castle site, castle destroyed during the Albigensian Crusade, rebuilt, redestroyed, rebuilt.

Does Hautpoul, Houtpol, give any clues to old Cathar, Templar roots.

What is Hautpol?   Hautpol was a Cathar castle destroyed in the Albigensian Crusades, see http://www.south-france-gite.com/hautpoul.asp.  There also is a reference to Git, but here not "Gitane" or "Gitano"?  The "git" is like a little inn, a B&B?

Inscription:  CT GIT

Marie deNegri is buried in the Rennes-le-Chateau parish graveyard beside the church,  Was she an adopted orphan, whatever. A "worthless" person?  Or is her own bloodline obscured (why would a Noble marry an 18-year old nobody?).  Was she somebody.  Back to Mary Magdalene, the name on the Church, all the Languedoc traditions of her whereabouts, family way.  Does that relate to the "git" in the headstone? Why should it? Red herring?
In the area as well:  Treasure of Visigoths, Treasure of Sion, treasure from Palestine that made its way through Crusaders and others to Europe, or not, read all about it there.   So far,  nothing clearly rules out an inquiry.
  • Marie de Negri's husband had been the last Lord of Rennes-le-Chateau, at the castle Hautpol at the village there, where she resided at her death, see inscription. Cathar, Templar. Cathar Crusade: 1185 agitations by Roman Catholicism began against Cathars, through formal edict, to 1255, date of perhaps last killings. Templars. Active in the area to 1307, and later, when Templars were put on the run or killed. See http://www.languedocmysteries.info/templars.htm.  
  • The Pyrenees offered a refuge and escape route for some, others found and killed anyway.  Roman Catholicism has seldom brought up the issue of its relationship to the fates of either voluntarily. Without that era's and other era's religious and political brutalities (the Church was also military and militant at the time), Roman Catholicism could not have prevailed -- on merit or "truth" agreed. See Western Violence Timeline.

Blanchfort,  A nearby castle, also in the Marie de Negri nomenclature heritage. See it at http://www.benhammott.com/pontils-tomb-2.html. Scroll down to the photograph with names of Rennes and Blanchfort superimposed. It was a Templar Castle, see http://www.rlcresearch.com/2007/12/22/chateau-de-blanchefort/; but there were so many when Templars were in their prime, that perhaps most in the area were. Blanchfort, however, is connected to Visigothic treasure tales, gold.  Looking at possible sources of Berenger Sauniere's sudden wealth, could this be a possibility. Names, places. It was attacked, defeated in 1209 in the Albigensian Crusade, and, with Rennes-le-Chateau, given over to a "comrade in arms" to the attacker, Simon de Montfort.
B.  Second stone.  Repository stone.

What she passed on, came to be concealed through the confessor Bigou at Rennes-le-Chateau, all this before the time of Berenger Sauniere and his housekeeper.

Look again at the design on the "repository" stone.  Nothing Christian about it. Swirls, even Celtic-type arrangements.  Experts, step forth.

Now look at a Cathar sarcophagus, perhaps originally with the tortured body of Raymond-Roger Trencavel, Count of Carcassonne, also Cather; this sarcophagus now at St. Nazaire, Carcassonne. 


St. Nazaire, Carcassonne Cathedral, sarcophagus (no body) of Count of Carcassonne, Cathar Raymond-Roger of Trencavel.  Natural designs, no "Christian" symbols

C. The Third "stone", the Come-Sourde stone, altar stone, or Coumesourde stone -- il est disparu.  It is apparently an inscription on a rock face, not a "stone", see  http://perillos.com/coumesourde_3.html.  Is this directions, to where whatever it is, is found.

This is allegedly from a mountain of the same name, its meaning leading to blast-off of issues at http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/merovingians/merovingios_renneschateau03_01.htm.  It was first found, supposedly, in 1927 by one Ernest Cros, and not on Come-Sourde at all. Mistake or to deceive as to location?  This is not an unexplored issue.  See Sauniere at http://www.renneslechateau.com/anglais/histoire.htm.  But some issues have been ignored.  Come-Sourde? What and where is that. If we only have drawings of its inscription (until now, says Perillos), what is the accuracy? See as a start for your own vetting, http://www.rlcresearch.com/2007/11/11/coumesourde-stone/ *  Arcadia:  many options.

II.  Names, Places, Representation as Clues to the Source of the Wealth

A.  Marie de Negre D'Ables.

Back to Black Madonnas.  The name "Negri"  or "Negre" suggests, of course, black. But black can be many things, suggest many references.  Others have explored the stone but we see no focus on the "git and the "negri."  .  See http://andrewgough.co.uk/xmarks.html; and our intention here is to focus on the "Negri" meaning.

This gets murky.  Clues.  Mary also appears, Virgin or otherwise, as the Black Madonna, in Europe and later in South America where Hispanic tradition thrives.

Are all these really "Madonna", or are some Mary Magdalene?  And some Sara-la-Kali.  Do your own search; and in this part of the world, a Black Sara-la-Kali as patron saint of Roma, stemming from an Egyptian dark-skinned woman, who is believed to have landed with the Three Marys on coastal France (Stes.Maries-de-la-Mer), appears with symbolism that merges/mixes her with Mary and etc.  For others to pursue.

For us, is Marie de Negre in any way connected to the Black Sara-la-Kali, or Black Madonna in any way. Go to it. There are Black Madonnas in sculpture, Black Mary's all over Europe, including Barcelona.  Marie the Black?  Is Maria de Negri remotely connected.  We leave this issue alone also, because we have no idea what to do with it. Like bottles at the sea, set it out there and go on.

Some relationship?  Find these Black Madonnas (do your own search) at the Chapel in Barcelona, said to be the last Templar Chapel, part of an old palace, at the confluence of Templar Street and Althuis.  When I come to that in Spain Road Ways, I'll refer.

Meanwhile, in France, there are many Black Madonnas, as in Germany.  See Mont St. Michel. And there are black Saints, patron saints, whose images and symbolism blend with the Madonnas, see Poland Road Ways, or the Black Sara-la-Kali, at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, to the south at the Camargues, a Roma connection, see Gypsies, Roma, Romani.

This is of interest because the stone inscribes CT GIT --  is that (who knows?) Countess, plus reference to Gitano, Gitans, another name for Roma or Gypsies? Keep all these strains, even strained strains, in mind in trying to make sense of disparate presentations.

Fast forward:  If Marie de Negri later inherits interests or has interests in Cathar-Templar castles, see Hautpoul, who is she in her own right?

 Marie de Negri, Marie de Negre, sounds like what? Negri. Black. Ask again, is that a mere family name, or signifying color or obfuscation of other issues? My own Grandmother from Scots heritage is a "Black" -- we were told it was because any relations of a certain clan, the MacGregors,  think Rob Roy, lost their rights to the name for two centuries, and to hide the Big Guy, the border villagers took the names Black or White --nobody here by that other name!

B.  Beliefs

Dualism.  Gnosticism.  Was it Berenger who added a phrase referring to Acadia, or Arcadia.See its discussion at http://www.andrewgough.co.uk/poussinmm.html.  And find the inscriptions and clues at http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/metis.htm. I wish people writing on this topic could avoid the spooky, mystical pictures. This is also an academic exercise; not somebody's mystery adventure online game.

Then look again at the painting, but from a different, a theological angle.

Evil in the midst of  Good.  Is the evil separate, why do we assume creation is "good" -- see what the powers did according to this transliteration. http://kngdv.blogspot.com/2012/04/good-functional-and-false.html

See the Demon there? See the face just below the apron of flowers being offered up.  Theology:  Material world, and its drives, house and coexist with evil. Fact of life.  Focus instead on eternity. Let your neighbor take his own consequences, if any.  Not for you to judge.  See The Gnostic Jesus, or Cathar Beliefs.

That representation of dualism is personified. It echoes the Bogomil, Manichean idea of good and evil (each had other ideas as well) in perpetual dichotomy, even in Eden (The Nchsh, see Eden)  where apparently the creating god could not even control the borders against it.  Did Berenger Sauniere, in setting up his own housekeeping, deviating from the priestly path in holding and disposing of wealth, signify a compatibility with Cathar tenets. No wonder the Church had to move that issue off center stage.

We did the usual magnifying with a simpleminded photo program, and affirm that the lettering offered at the site is the same we found. Find it also at the Paul Sennier site.

  • Greek crosses at the church:  Greeks were more, in their form of Eastern Christian Orthodoxy, more dualistic than others.  See Dualism, Orthodoxy, Heresy, site by Turmarion.  Greek crosses rather than Roman Catholic or Templar at Rennes suggest an affinity with that. Templars and Crusaders passed through Greece on the way to the Holy Land.  What was brought back in the head and in the hand and saddlebag? 
And Gnosticism:  See Mary Magdalene, fair use crop used here. Note the hands. The skull. 

The cross that Mary Magdelene holds: It is out of all proportion. Was the vertical length added later, to fit a Roman Catholic mold? Had it been an equal-sided Greek-type cross. Art sleuths could examine it to tell. Skull: said to signify the contemplative life. Why? Where is that from? Why not many other interpretations, including Templar. Scripture is silent. Institution-promoters are not.  The exposure was so high on this one, taken at the window, that I had to alter colors to see it.  No other changes. No photoshop in this house.

Crop to see the Crucifixion scene up close.

Notice the white cap.  That signified, in the middle ages, a married woman, in many areas.  Now look back at the tryptych at the probably Templar Rundkirke in Bjernede, Denmark:  the woman in the white cap at the Last Supper.  http://denmarkroadways.blogspot.com/2011/07/bjernede-inside-round-church-rundkirke.html.  Scroll down to it.  The hair cap: bundling hair into a cap. Marriage or gender? Woman's hair -- erotic.  Jewish men are prohibited, we are told, from praying within sight of a woman's hair, so women in those situations covered their hair, see prayer in the Talmud at http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ethics/Our_Bodies/Clothing/Hats_and_Head_Coverings/head-coverings.shtm.

Digression:  The married woman's hair as husband's property?  See http://thehistoryofthehairsworld.com/middle_ages_renaissance.html 

Women, watch for the white caps, and find women in close association with Jesus.

Was Jesus married?  Keep asking and looking. Some in the middle ages did not find that odd at all.  Did Sauniere and others before him (who arranged the church representations?) so suggest as well?

C. Heritage in the Name Berenger? 
Berenger Sauniere, Priest from nowhere.  Or was he?  See an earlier Ramon Berengeur, and offspring and descendants, Counts of Barcelona, Aragon, all areas with boundaries fluid as to France, Pyrenees, other.  Did Marie have a connection to a Berengeur.  So far, with quick looks at familytree.com, and ancestry first look, we see no connection between the names, Berenger and Berengeur, but centuries have passed.  Go, ancestry people.

The Pyrenees - ancient. See http://www.kellscraft.com/Navarre/OldNavarreCh04.html. I cannot find Come Sourde as a mountain name and location. Sourde is French, for deaf. Ha. Come is Spanish for eat. Now what? Great Pyrenees dogs can be prone to deafness. Blind alley!

4.  Berenger.  Berenger Sauniere.

The great line of Counts of Barcelona, Ramon Berengeur, numbers !-IV,  Boundaries between France, Pyrenees, and Spain, still fluid, with Moors, Basques, all sorts of folk competing.

Would a Templar-Cathar heritage family, the De Negre group of Hautpoul Castle, seek out a kindred spirit, a trusted person finding such even centuries later.  Berenger, where he was then, a parish priest.  Sleuths, go.

Berenger as convert to Gnosticism.  Referring to the Gnosticism overview at http://www.esotericonline.net/profiles/blogs/mary-magdalene-and-the-gnostic-teachings
practices would include God as directly accessible, no intercession needed, transformation of the self or EGO is highest goal of spirituality, that Satan tries to trap us in the material world, etc. See the inscriptions on the stone now missing, words ego, Arcadia. And the Mary at the altar of the Church, see above.

III.  Discussion

Sauniere as Gnostic, Cathar-like. It appears feasible that Berenger Sauniere adopted Cathar-like dualist beliefs for his life and practice; and that infuriated the Institution.  Whether from documents found as to Christian origins, and secrets he believed, as to the True Faith as confirmed by Templar materials (what? where?) as dualist, and not Roman Catholicism, or on his own, he still practiced in a priestly fashion. But he did so as a neo-Cathar, and Rome could not let that stand, or even acknowledge the source of his new orientation. After all, they thought they had wiped all that dualist, gnosticthinking out. Once a position is taken, it shall not be altered, even upon new evidence, which shall not be vetted, is that so.

 Ask, does that headstone for Marie De Negre by its names and person represented and their castles,  support a Cathar-Templar set of documents, secrets of theology even from Jerusalem and the Crusades there, or merely a refugee Visigothic or other trove, sold and now source of funds for Berenger Sauniere, priest at Rennes-le-Chateau, and later - perhaps - influenced by their ways, what he found, was told.  Is the church throwing out a red herring claiming that the fortune resulted from a mere hornswoggling of parishioners, the "selling of masses," claimed by the threatened Church as to the wealth.
Threatened?  Rennes-le-Chateau's sudden wealth in the 19th Century? Why would that present as a threat to the institutional church. Look at the repository stone, its design. Is it similar to the Cathar sarcophagus at Carcassonne,
Reminders of a murderous, crusading and inquisition past, a priest not turning over wealth to the institution for disposition, carrying on his own relationship life. Anathema.  Disregard of dogma's rituals, hierarchies of humans deciding what god cannot and can do, all that.  Interesting tale.
    • Perhaps the church's bilking explanation was intended to deflect interest in sources of the wealth as from refugees from its persecution, how the Church had gained dominance over the area in the 12th-13th Centuries and after: the unspeakable Albigensian Crusades, Inquisitions, and the slaughter of the Templars. Each group's tenets ran counter to the authority claimed by the Institutional church.
    •  Beliefs counter to the Institution:  Cathars and eastern religious influences, Manicheans, other Christians' beliefs, shared intellectual commonalities. See, for example, the dualism, gnosticism of Manicheans, especially Manichean Bogomilism, known to the Templars. "The (Manichean- Bogomils) sect called for a return to the teachings of early Christianity and a rejection of the political amitions of the reigning ecclesiastical authorities," says archeologist Dimitar Nedev, Sozopol (Bulgaria) Archaeological Museum, see Archeology, September-October 2012, article by Matthew Brunwasser at p.13. The canon had been constructed after careful exclusions of inconsistent accounts; the system began to self-perpetuate.
      • Dualism, objectified.  What is "heretic" about making other sense of experience or reasoning:  a theology based on the physics of every action met with an equal and opposite reaction (dualism of good and evil as forever duelling, outcome unknown); or another wish-like theology, god is great as we define, god is good as we define, combined with institutional requirement to trust the System. Both from the same texts.
  • Now to look up D'Ables. There is an Ables, Spain, near Asturias. And the orphan idea from one of those geneology sites.  
The Tale has arrived in the New World.  See http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0310/cajun.php. Blanche: as in Blanchfort?  But Queen Blanch was not a Cathar sympathizer? See site. There are always more.  See http://www.portail-rennes-le-chateau.com/gazette/neymanenglish.htm.

So many conjectures to enjoy, so little time!