For myself the only real evidence that can be found at Rennes le Chateau, that really proves that something of interest happened there are the buildings and structures paid for by Sauniere. Everything else is either a story or papers that can be challenged on their authenticity. As such, the buildings are the only things that are there for all to see, and their factual existence is beyond question.
The most elaborate of them all is his church, with its curious statues and phrases throughout. I know that several websites exist that go into great depths of explaining that although the curiosities are rare, they are not unique. Hence it is concluded that they are not important.
This I do not agree with due to the mathematical balance of reasoning expressed in the quote I use at the bottom of my postings. Indeed one rare feature in a church could be happenstance, two rare features could be coincidence, but to find three or more would make 'enemy action'. Or in this case, more than probable evidence that the designs are there for a reason. A code to be read by a specific person, a Freemason.
I take it you were not raised Catholic, am I right? Because these "curiosities" would hardly evoke the curiosity of a Catholic, nor are they unique or rare.
Take for example the series of statues of Saints Sauniere chose to recievers his church with? I will admit, I am attracted to the notion that they spell out the word GRASP, but if this was the reason, then I am even more curious about the statues chosen.
If a Saint was required to represent the letter G, why use this obscure St. Trumbone? There are many other French saints that start with a G, why choose her? Also, why Saint Roch? Surely, Saint Roseline would be a far better choice. Besides the play on words of Rose-line, her feast day is the 17th January, a date that is meant to be so important?
Saint Germaine "obscure"...? Hardly! She was a French saint, recently canonized (1867) to great fanfare, and was a "local girl", having come originally from Pibrac, just west of Toulouse. Saint Roch was likewise a "local boy", from Montpellier. Not unusual at all that Saunière would have chosen local saints' images for his church, in fact it was quite normal.
Perhaps then the GRAAL spelling is just wishful thinking. Unless the statues actually were meant to represent something as equally important to the right viewer. I believe they do.
Both statues represent there prospective saints by showing the important aspects of their lives. St. Germaine is shown with sheep at her feet, as a Shepherdess (a hint for a later explanation), but her main distinguishing feature is how she holds her apron. This is to represent one of the miracles she is said to have performed - when flowers appeared in her apron. It is how any statue or drawing of her is recognizable. The most recognizable feature of a Freemason is his apron. When he is passed to a Fellowcraft degree, the second degree, two flowers, rosettes appear on his apron. When the mason becomes a Master Mason, a third one appears.
Germaine Cousin was
a shepherdess. How should
she have been portrayed? As concerns the roses in her apron, that is indicative of what Catholics call the Miracle of the Roses and is attributable to several saints - Elisabeth of Hungary, Elisabeth of Portugal, Jadwiga of Poland, Casilda of Toledo, Rita of Cascia, Rose of Viterbo, Didacus (Diego) of Alcala, Roseline de Villeneuve (aka the "far better choice"), etc. Put images of all of the above in a room together and the apron full of roses would be the one feature that wouldn't
distinguish one from the other.
As for St. Roch instead of St. Roseline, I am reluctant to go into detail, but would advise people to research why the figure has his knee and chest exposed, and possibly look up the rituals of how a Masonic candidate appears in the first and second degrees.
According to Roch's hagiography he had been stricken with bubonic plague; the exposed leg shows an enlarged bubo
which the dog he's portrayed with licked clean and cured. I have yet to see an image of St. Roch with his chest exposed.
Shall I go on? Not sure how this is sounding?
You may as well go on, you've come this far.
If I have caused offence I am so sorry, and you are quiet right I was not raised a Catholic, and you make excellent points, thank you. I must remember that I am looking at this from my perspective, and I SHOULD keep in mind that I am looking at a Catholic Church in rural France, and not an English Church. As I said, an excellent point thank you.
In addition, my choice of words was not good, using such provocative words as curious. So please let me amend. My argument should be that, individually each item is explainable, but as I collection, they then appear rare. And I should not have begun with listing the statues as curiosities, I was simply quickly trying get to the Masonic links I saw and why I thought them significant. Perhaps I should have started with the other items, such as the ‘TU’ added to the quote added to the font (which I believe is one of a kind), a devil figure holding the font (to my knowledge only one other known to exist), the phrase above the door of ‘This place is terrible’ (not used since the early years of the Christian Church, or used during that period, or since), the reversed setting of the stations of the cross. My argument should have stated that these are the elements that draw attention to the Church, as they do seem both curious and rare. I understand that they may be individually explained, but I was simply pointing out what is the probability of all these aspects being found in one church. If you are correcting me and this is both a common display in the Catholic Churches of the region, I really do offer a sincere thank you, I was not aware of it, that is why I came here to find out such things.
As for the statues, my argument was based on accepting that the spelling of the GRAAL was a decided feature. If that was not, then there would be no grounding to my theory. But if it was a intended as a design feature, then I was raising the question of why those Saints were used and not others. I wrongly described St. Germaine (Trumbone – so sorry for that too), as obscure. That is wrong, she is obscure to me. Although, if looking at the listings of Saints and there popularity, she isn’t that high and other French Saints that begin with a ‘G’ are more popular. But you are right, she may be more popular in that region, hence her being chosen. As for mentioning her role with sheep and aprons with flowers, I was simply pointing out how, besides the other saints you mention, she would rather seem the best candidate it you were trying to spell the word GRAAL, and wanted a Shepherdess, and wanted to have a Masonic reference to Aprons and Flowers. If that was an intent, she is ideal. I suppose you just have to accept that it is a coincidence that all those aspects appear in a church that appears to be linked to a mystery that has been linked to Freemasonry, Shepherdesses, and the GRAAL.
As for St. Roch, indeed, more common than St. Germain, but again my argument rested on the acceptance that the word GRAAL being intentional. If it was, only then was I questioning the use of Roch, as Roseline seemed a better candidate, for the reasons expressed. Indeed, the reference to the leg exposed is quite right, but as I said I didn’t want to go into much detail. I assume you are not a Mason, as in the rituals, you are set in the lodge knee bare and breast exposed. But the breast exposed is due to a dagger being pressed or pointed to your chest. Forgive me if I am incorrect, I am working from memory of images I saw ages ago of St. Roch, that in his legend he had the mark of the Cross on his chest, and that is why when he is depicted his finger is ‘pointing’ to his chest.
I was under the impression that it was common practice, especially in Catholic churches, that the statues of figures were clearly defined, so that the populace could easily define the character. As you say, how was St. Germaine, meant to be portrayed, as she should be as a Shepherdess. If that is true, and Sauniere is meant to be a well versed Catholic Priest and aware of the depictions of Saints. Why is the statue of St. Anthony the hermit all wrong?
The statue name plate describes the figure as St. Anthony the Hermit. The only Saint that this title goes to, is also known St. Anthony of Lerins. Whose feast day is the 28th December, and at first glance the statue appears to depict him, with his special pilgrims staff. Although, when you look again, there is a pig and the bottom of his statue? Just as Sheep appear to assist in identifying St. Germaine, and a Dog is used to assist to identify St. Roch, why has St. Anthony the Hermit been depicted with a pig. The only St. Anthony to be depicted with a pig is St. Anthony the Great, whose feast day is the 17th January. Although he was a hermit, he is not known as St. Anthony the Hermit, that title was St. Anthony of Lerin. But this can’t be St. Anthony the Great, as he hasn’t got his classic ‘Tau’ staff, or his commonly depicted Black Cloak and ‘T’ shoulder symbol. I suppose it is possible that the store were Sauniere ordered his statues from had run out of St. Anthony the Hermit statues, and sent a St. Anthony the Great one instead, just changed the staff and painted him differently. Either way, Sauniere, a Catholic Priest, should be aware that St Anthony the Hermit does not have a pig as a symbol.
Again, I am sincerely asking if this is wrong, that is why I am here? And I am genuinely sorry if I have caused offence to you.