It was a simple country priest to discover (and to keep hidden) what Rennes-le-Chateau has kept since the times of the Knights Templar.
It has little more than a handful of inhabitants, but this little village of Aude, in France, is the destination of thousands of mystery lovers and simple curious, attracted by what is said about this singular place.
Rennes-le-Chateau is nothing more than the receptacle of a unique legendary story for its variety of themes coming from very different cultural environments. The trait-d’union is an alleged treasure that would be hidden within the same country or in the surroundings. It would be something very precious that was discovered by the parish priest Bérenger Saunière who held the local church between the nineteenth and twentieth century. The nucleus from which the legend was inspired is a documented fact, but the event has long been fabled, enriching it with details that are unfortunately very often far-fetched.
The mystery of Rennes le Chateau began in the late 19th century with the appointment of Berenger Sauniere as priest for the area’s hilltop church. The church of Rennes le Chateau was said to be in total disarray, and in urgent need of repair upon his arrival, so, with the little money Berenger Sauniere was able to gather, he slowly began to make updates in order to restore the church and its lands.
It is said that, during the renovation works of the parish, carried out between 1887 and 1897, Saunière had found a series of finds.
Objects of which there is a too weak documentary trace and some too imprecise testimony. The question is: what were the objects found?
On one of the journals given by the parish priest, there is talk of the discovery of a sepulcher under the church floor. Probably an ancient grave belonging to the Lords of the village of Rennes-le-Chateau whose access had been walled up.
Ocular testimonies, however, argue that the discovery would concern a container of precious objects. Saunière hastily called them “medallions of Lourdes”. Some supposed it had left on the spot by Antoine Bigou, the previous parish priest who, during the French Revolution, was forced to flee the country to take refuge in Spain. Instead, the most common hypothesis is that Saunière would have found some small parchments, documents related to the Church’s consecration ceremony.
After the restoration of the parish church, Saunière spent incalculable amounts of money to build a series of elegant buildings.
These include Villa Betania, the neighboring gardens, a long panoramic balcony, an interesting tower-library and a greenhouse for exotic animals. A standard of living that did not go unnoticed in the eyes of Bishop De Beauséjour who, after tortuous legal proceedings, suspended Saunière from his priestly functions.
But the question remains the same: what did the parish priest find under the church?
The hypothesis that took hold but not for this, however, the most reliable, passes through the Merovingians and leads to the creation of the Priory of Sion. According to this thesis, the Priory descended from Jesus Christ, who had not died on the cross, but had joined in marriage with Mary Magdalene and had reached Marseilles where he had given birth to a line that would have conquered the French throne. According to this version of the facts, the treasure that enriched Bérenger Saunière was absolutely not of a material but documental nature: it is claimed, in fact, that the parish priest had found precisely those documents that proved this incredible truth.
A truth that bears the name of Sang Real dynasty. We speak of “Real Blood”, a term later corrupted in San Greal or, more precisely, in Holy Grail.
Saunière suffered a stroke on January 17, 1917. He died on January 22nd. In September 2004, the mayor of Rennes-le-Château decided to exhume the remains of the parish priest from the church graveyard and to rebuffle them in a cement sarcophagus in order to protect him from the raiders of graves.
On January 17 of every year, something really extraordinary happens in the church of Saint Mary Magdalene. This is the phenomenon of “blue apples”. It is a tree of lights created by the rays of the sun that pass through the windows of the church. Of course, luminous phenomena of refraction and transparency of that kind are quite common and observable in many other buildings that have windows facing the sun. But the question is….why, here in Rennes-le-Chateau just and only January 17?