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.
As mentioned, no offense taken. I agree, and by the same token if I were to visit a Masonic lodge I would no doubt find imagery that would be familiar to me from a Catholic perspective, though the meaning might differ to a Freemason. Context is key.
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
Actually, "tu" belongs in the phrase; I believe it's the "le" that sometimes appears and sometimes doesn't. Without it, it reads "by this sign you shall conquer"; with it, "by this sign you shall conquer him
" - him, as in Satan, or in this instance, the demon Asmodeus.
a devil figure holding the font (to my knowledge only one other known to exist)
Church of St Lucie de Piave, Treviso, Italy
Or this one?
Collegiate Church of Saint Vincent, Montreal, Aude, France
Then there's this one (it's a dragon but meant to represent the Devil):
Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
An excerpt from an article on demons:http://www.danielvanslyke.com/Angels/DemonsAngels.htmMany baptismal fonts dramatically represent the defeat of the devil that takes place during the rites of baptism. In the Middle Ages and still today in the extraordinary use of the Roman Rite, the baptismal ceremonies include several exorcisms. The first exorcism of the rite follows: "Go out from him [that is, the one to be baptized], thou unclean spirit, and make way for the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete." And while the catechumen is signed with the cross on forehead, the priest states, this sign do thou, accursed devil, never dare to violate. In all Roman Rite baptisms, a renunciation of the devil and all things associated with him precedes the actual baptism with water.
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)
Recited in the dedication rite of every Catholic Church from time immemorial down to the present day.
the reversed setting of the stations of the cross.
They aren't reversed at all. From the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913):http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15569a.htmAnother variation that occurs in different churches relates to the side of the church on which the Stations begin. The Gospel side is perhaps the more usual. In reply to a question the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences, in 1837, said that, although nothing was ordered on this point, beginning on the Gospel side seemed to be the more appropriate. In deciding the matter, however, the arrangement and form of a church may make it more convenient to go the other way. The position of the figures in the tableaux, too, may sometimes determine the direction of the route, for it seems more in accordance with the spirit of the devotion that the procession, in passing from station to station, should follow Christ rather than meet Him.
(If you're facing the altar, the left side is the Gospel side)
And from the 1967 edition:
According to the "New Catholic Encyclopedia" 1967 edition, volume 14, page 834, column 1The stations may begin on either side of the church and should be so arranged that there is a walking distance between them.
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.
Well, I'd have to say what you've noted thus far as being odd or unique really isn't. Which is not to say they're all common, mind you, but just not out of place.
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.
One can't argue that the placement doesn't spell out GRAAL, that much is evident. For the sake of argument, let's say this was intentional. Does it necessarily point to a secret of some sort? Couldn't it have simply been superstition, or a form of mysticism on display? A puzzle to see if anyone would clue into it?
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.
Ah yes, OK, you are correct about the mark, that was how St. Roch's body was identified when he died in prison. I knew about the exposed knee and breast in Masonic ritual. If one was looking for a saint's image to illustrate this I suppose one couldn't go wrong with Roch.
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?
That is indeed the practice, yes, but the statue of St. Anthony the Hermit isn't wrong. He's not St. Anthony of Lerins, he's St. Anthony of the Desert, or St. Anthony the Great.
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.
It isn't true that St. Anthony the Great is never referred to as St. Anthony the Hermit, or that the term applies only to St. Anthony of Lerins. "Hermit" applies to both. St. Anthony the Great (or of Egypt, or of the Desert, etc.) is considered the father of Christian hermetism (as opposed to hermeticism). In fact, Google "Saint Antoine l'Ermite" and what will be returned, primarily, are articles on Saint Anthony the Great. I get what you're saying about the tau staff and black robe, but what he's carrying is a staff with a bell on it, used for herding, and as you pointed out they included a pig for effect. This would be a depiction of St. Anthony before he became a hermit. It wouldn't be the one I'd pick, but I can't rule out St. Anthony the Great because some elements are portrayed while others I would consider more conclusive were not.
Thank you for a great and informative response.
I hope you don’t mind me challenging you on a couple of points.
I am aware the churches around the world are covered and use different images, and in many areas, some are due to rural traditions. I know you haven’t really mentioned that, but I am just setting the scene.
Indeed, my error of quoting the ‘Tu’ instead of ‘Le’. I concur that this could just be a local phrasing, especially considering that it is a phrase that Sauniere is said to have used in a sermon. Although, as an exact statement, I do not believe it is found anywhere else. Especially considering it is such a quote of a specific Christian rhetoric.
As for the reversal of the Stations of the Cross being in reverse, this is also my error. I have never been, as mentioned before, I wrong accepted something I had read. So are you confirming that the stations are indeed in clockwise order? That’s a shame, kind of liked the ‘reversal’ problem. Although, unless I have read your reference notes correctly, they appear to mention only that the stations should be within walking distance to each other (understandabliy due to the procession) and that they can ‘commence’ on any wall. But, that is mute if I am in error of thinking that the stations are indeed set in anticlockwise positions.
As for the fonts, devils and dragons, indeed, your posting does increase my estimate of 2 to being 3 or 4. Although, I would still classify this as rare, on estimate I believe there 270,000 churches worldwide, of which we can find only 4 examples of a sole dragon, demon or devil holding a font. That would calculate at one in every 67,500 churches to show this style of font. For myself, that is rare.
My same argument would be offered for the ‘This place is Terrible’. Again, I agree it is in the dedication ceremony of a church, that was not disputed. What is disputed is it appearing as a carving across the door. That as a practice, appears to be equally rare. Indeed, it is not common, (but not really noteworthy I would agree) that anything other than the name of a church to be carved across a door of this period. Hence, I find it a curiosity.
Now for dear Saint Anthony, one this point, I deeply respect your position, but I cannot agree. I do agree that if you Google St. Anthony the Hermit, it would bring up more St. Anthony the Great sites that that of St Anthony the Hermit (Lerins). But that is not because he is known as St. Anthony the Hermit. That is because of how Google and Wikipidiea Works (The latter has never really been an ideal source of factual information). Both systems work on taking the major words and searching for where they appear more frequently appear on a site. As, you quite rightly state, St Anthony the Great is considered a Father of the Church there are more sites about him, than of St. Anthony the Hermit (Lerins). Also, his sites have more words and are more visited, and include the fact that he was a hermit. Hence why he appears on such intent searches.
Although, if you read the academic or Catholic supported websites you will see clearly that he is NOT called St. Anthony the Hermit, but rather Saint Anthony the Great, or St. Anthony of Egypt. In addition, if you do search enter ‘St. Anthony the Great’ in Google and look only under ‘Images’, you will see clearly how he has been represented through the centuries. Here he is, to my opinion with T staffs and his cloak displaying the ‘T’ on his shoulder. As we have both confirm, church statues used classical representations so that the populace could easily identify the characters. If the statue is meant to depict St. Anthony the Great, why it the statue devoid of the most common characteristics that are used to portray him? Indeed, I miss read my notes and he is depicted with pigs, but he is not meant to have that staff shown, or the cloak, neither is he officially known as St. Anthony the Hermit, as I would assume a duly educated Priest would know. Where as the real St. Anthony the Hermit, to whom the official title is held, does have such a staff and cloak, and that saint is the one would came to Gaul, St Anthony of Lerins.
I assume on this point we would have to agree to disagree, for me, the statue stands out like a sore thumb.