Is this an example of the plot thickening, or Confusion reigning surpreme?
This is the above timeline reference to Sauniere's expenditure...
21-May 1897 - 317.00 F - House Faraco Carcassonne - 2 cups, 1 ostentoir (monstrance)
Here is another reference to that same purchase dated 21-May 1897... with what I assume includes the purchase of a complete altar.
A merchant of objects of piety of Carcassonne, Mr Faraco, 39 street of the Town Hall, book the Abbot two golden chalices, a golden monstrance and a complete filling the master altar
. Amount of the invoice 317 francs. http://rennes-le-chateau-en-quete-de-ve ... Eglise.htm
We also see from Corbu and Captier book that on the 16th Feb 1910....
P. Faraco, a goldsmith in Carcassonne, having learnt that Abbé Saunière was installing “ a small oratory” at his house, offered him “ some ornaments originating from various chapels”, which had formerly belonged to expelled monks: ALTARS, candlesticks, altar cards, crosses, chasubles, chalices, linen.’
As an aside, I needed to confirm the technical meaning of the word "oratory". The New Advent Encyclopedia states that....-
"it means a structure other than a parish church, set aside by ecclesiastical authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass. Oratories seem to have originated from the chapels erected over the tombs of the early martyrs where the faithful resorted to pray"...."We also find early mention of private oratories for the celebration of Mass by bishops, and later of oratories attached to convents and to the residences of nobles".Paddy
, you mentioned that the book by Corbu and Captier, “L’héritage de l’abbé Saunière”, contains various copied documents; is there a copy invoice for the purchase of these items?
Does it matter which altar Sauniere removed I hear you ask?
Well, if it can be shown that Sauniere did not purchase the altar in the villa Bethania, then as many assume, he must have removed it from the Church when installing the MM altar, set it aside in the presbytery, and then moved it into the conservatory. The condition of this altar therefore becomes a crucial issue because of the various reports that assert it was in a "delapidated condition" and needed replacing. If we look at its restored condition today however, it is difficult to reconcile these statements? This in turn brings into question Sauniere's motive for replacing it; a scenario that best supports the hypothesis that Sauniere removed it in order to search for something.
On the other hand, if he did purchase this altar, then this supports the reports that state that the high altar was in a "delapidated condition", and that it was destroyed in the dismantling. The exasperated members of this forum will be screaming at this point that it makes no difference to the alleged documents discovered which altar they were found in, but for me these documents and their authenticity are a separate question. If as I suspect, this is the correct scenario, then Sauniere didn't dismantle this altar in order to discover something hidden, he was dismantling it because, as the architects and bishopric assert, it needed removing.
Several people have mentioned that it is their belief that Sauniere accidently stumbled across something important when he removed the altar, and I'm leaning towards that view at the moment. This view is based upon the condition of the church when Sauniere arrived. The evidence suggests that only emergency repairs were carried out prior to his arrival. Examine closely the work detailed by the architects and bishopric and it reveals that significant structural work remained, not to mention the refurbishments needed once this was complete. It is the structural work to the foundations, pillars, and ceiling of the vault, that would have required the removal of the altar and its supporting wall first!
As it is, the purchase of this altar in the conservatory remains inconclusively, so far!