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Rennes-le-Château

Rennes le Château
François-Bérenger Saunière (11 April 1852 – 22 January 1917) was a Roman Catholic priest in the French village of Rennes-le-Château, in the Aude region; officially from 1885 until he was transferred to another village in 1909 by his bishop, a nomination he declined; he subsequently resigned.
This small French hilltop village is known internationally, and receives tens of thousands of visitors per year, because of various conspiracy theories, about an alleged buried treasure discovered by its 19th-century priest Bérenger Saunière, the precise nature of which is disputed by those who believe in its existence.

Villa Bethania

From 1909 until his death in 1917 he was a non-stipendiary Free Priest (an independent priest without a parish, who did not receive any salary from the church because of suspension), and who from 1910 celebrated Mass at an altar constructed in a special conservatory by his Villa Bethania.
The Villa Bethania was constructed in the French village of Rennes-le-Château between 1901-1905 as part of the former estate of the Abbé Bérenger Saunière, in the name of his maidservant Marie Dénarnaud.

List of The Da Vinci Code characters

SilasSophie NeveuSir Leigh Teabing
Many elements of these theories were later used by Dan Brown in his best-selling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, in which the fictional character Jacques Saunière is named after the priest.
Saunière's name may be based on Bérenger Saunière, a central figure in many of the conspiracy theories surrounding Rennes-le-Château who was extensively mentioned in Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

Noël Corbu

Noël Corbu circulated the story from the mid-1950s when he opened his restaurant: that Saunière discovered parchments in the hollow pillar of his Altar in 1891, and these related to the treasure of Blanche of Castile, and which 'according to the archives' consisted of 28,500,000 gold pieces.
Noël Corbu (27 April 1912 – 20 May 1968) is best known as a former restaurateur in the Southern French village of Rennes-le-Château who, between 1955-1962 circulated the story that the 19th-century French priest Bérenger Saunière discovered the treasure of Blanche of Castile.

Montazels

François Bérenger Saunière was born on 11 April 1852 in Montazels, in the Arrondissement of Limoux of the Aude region.
Bérenger Saunière, controversial Roman Catholic priest of Rennes-le-Château, was born in Montazels on 11 April 1852.

Priory of Sion

Grand Master of the Priory of Sionalleged Grand MasterGrand Masters
The book L'Or de Rennes by Gérard de Sède (with the unpublicised collaboration of Pierre Plantard) contained elements relating to the fictitious secret society the Priory of Sion, reproducing "parchments" that alluded to the survival of the Merovingian line of Frankish kings from Dagobert II, and Pierre Plantard claimed to be descended from that monarch.
They adapted, and used to their advantage, the earlier false claims put forward by Noël Corbu that a Catholic priest named Bérenger Saunière had supposedly discovered ancient parchments inside a pillar while renovating his church in Rennes-le-Château in 1891.

Pierre Plantard

Corbu's story later achieved national fame through articles in the press, eventually catching the attention of Pierre Plantard and inspiring the 1967 book L'Or de Rennes by Gérard de Sède.
In 1962, author Robert Charroux published his book Trésors du monde telling the story of Noël Corbu, who claimed the 19th century priest Bérenger Saunière had discovered the treasure of Blanche of Castile in the village of Rennes-le-Château.

Gérard de Sède

Corbu's story later achieved national fame through articles in the press, eventually catching the attention of Pierre Plantard and inspiring the 1967 book L'Or de Rennes by Gérard de Sède.
Originally a Pierre Plantard manuscript that failed to find a publisher, and extensively rewritten by Gérard de Sède, L'Or de Rennes presented as fact various claims about Bérenger Saunière and Rennes-le-Château that were the authors' inventions, in order to embellish a story about the discovery of a hidden secret.

Philippe de Chérisey

Amédée
Pierre Plantard and Gérard de Sède fell out over book royalties when L'Or de Rennes was published in 1967 and Plantard's friend Philippe de Chérisey revealed that he fabricated the parchments.
From the mid-1950s local hotelier Noël Corbu circulated a story to boost trade, that the 19th century priest Bérenger Saunière of Rennes-le-Château had discovered the treasure of Blanche of Castile.

Dagobert II

King DagobertKing Dagobert IISaint Dagobert
The book L'Or de Rennes by Gérard de Sède (with the unpublicised collaboration of Pierre Plantard) contained elements relating to the fictitious secret society the Priory of Sion, reproducing "parchments" that alluded to the survival of the Merovingian line of Frankish kings from Dagobert II, and Pierre Plantard claimed to be descended from that monarch.
Two sets of "parchments" were fabricated by Philippe de Chérisey, Plantard's friend, containing encrypted messages in modern French within medieval Latin texts that served as part of alleged proof of the existence of this "hidden history", allegedly found by the 19th century village priest Bérenger Saunière, whilst renovating his church (this myth was a developed and revised version of the myth begun by Noël Corbu during the 1950s).

Blanche of Castile

BlancheBlanche of CastilleBlanche, Queen mother of France
The controversy around Saunière originally centered on parchments that he is said to have found hidden in the old altar of his church, that related to the treasure of Blanche of Castile, and that this was the theoretical source of his income.
During the 1950s French restaurateur Noël Corbu claimed that Blanche of Castile had deposited a treasure in Rennes-le-Château that was later discovered by Bérenger Saunière during the late 19th century.

The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail

Holy Blood, Holy Grailhave saidholy blood
These speculations form the basis of several documentaries and books such as the 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.
The 2008 documentary film Bloodline by Bruce Burgess, a filmmaker with an interest in paranormal claims, expands on the "Jesus bloodline" hypothesis and other elements of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Accepting as valid the testimony of an amateur archaeologist codenamed "Ben Hammott" relating to his discoveries made in the vicinity of Rennes-le-Château since 1999; Burgess claims to have found the treasure of Bérenger Saunière: several mummified corpses (one of which is allegedly Mary Magdalene) in three underground tombs created by the Knights Templar under the orders of the Priory of Sion. By 21 March 2012 Ben Hammott confessed and apologised on Podcast interview (using his real name Bill Wilkinson) that everything to do with the tomb and related artifacts was a hoax; revealing that the actual tomb was now destroyed, being part of a full sized set located in a warehouse in England.

Priesthood in the Catholic Church

priestpriesthoodpriests
François-Bérenger Saunière (11 April 1852 – 22 January 1917) was a Roman Catholic priest in the French village of Rennes-le-Château, in the Aude region; officially from 1885 until he was transferred to another village in 1909 by his bishop, a nomination he declined; he subsequently resigned.

France

🇫🇷FrenchFRA
François-Bérenger Saunière (11 April 1852 – 22 January 1917) was a Roman Catholic priest in the French village of Rennes-le-Château, in the Aude region; officially from 1885 until he was transferred to another village in 1909 by his bishop, a nomination he declined; he subsequently resigned.

Aude

Départemente de l' Aude1111 - Aude
François-Bérenger Saunière (11 April 1852 – 22 January 1917) was a Roman Catholic priest in the French village of Rennes-le-Château, in the Aude region; officially from 1885 until he was transferred to another village in 1909 by his bishop, a nomination he declined; he subsequently resigned.

Mass (liturgy)

MassMassescommunion
From 1909 until his death in 1917 he was a non-stipendiary Free Priest (an independent priest without a parish, who did not receive any salary from the church because of suspension), and who from 1910 celebrated Mass at an altar constructed in a special conservatory by his Villa Bethania.

Conspiracy theory

conspiracy theoriesconspiracy theoristconspiracy
He would be virtually unknown today if not for the fact that he is a central figure in many of the conspiracy theories surrounding Rennes-le-Château.

Michael Baigent

These speculations form the basis of several documentaries and books such as the 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.

Richard Leigh (author)

Richard Leigh
These speculations form the basis of several documentaries and books such as the 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.

Henry Lincoln

Henry Soskin
These speculations form the basis of several documentaries and books such as the 1982 Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.

Dan Brown

[Dan] BrownBrown, DanDan
Many elements of these theories were later used by Dan Brown in his best-selling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, in which the fictional character Jacques Saunière is named after the priest.

The Da Vinci Code

Da Vinci Codethe bookbook
Many elements of these theories were later used by Dan Brown in his best-selling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, in which the fictional character Jacques Saunière is named after the priest.

Arrondissement of Limoux

Limoux
François Bérenger Saunière was born on 11 April 1852 in Montazels, in the Arrondissement of Limoux of the Aude region.

Limoux

Alfred became a priest; Joseph wanted to be a physician but died at 25. Saunière went to school at St. Louis in Limoux, entered the seminary in Carcassonne in 1874, and was ordained as a priest in June, 1879.

Carcassonne

CarcasoCarcassonaisCarcassonne, France
Alfred became a priest; Joseph wanted to be a physician but died at 25. Saunière went to school at St. Louis in Limoux, entered the seminary in Carcassonne in 1874, and was ordained as a priest in June, 1879.