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Priest Saunière’s enigma

In 1885 an abbot named Sauniere is appointed in the parish of Rennes le Chateau in France. During some renovation works at the parish, Sauniere made some mysterious discoveries in his church, which brought up the most incredible assumptions about a century later. One of the greatest enigmas of this century was born,  Abbot Sauniere mystery...

TF1 (French National TV) Evening News,  26th December 2011


Tracking the abbot Sauniere mystery

A Report from Michel Izard and David Salmon

Coded parchments found by the Abbot Sauniere in a pillar from the Wisigoth times in his Rennes le Chateau church seem to be the key for this mystery.
Those parchments provide some clues, however even today, having deciphered them did not enable to reveal their secret. The name of two great painters appears in one of the two parchments, but above all the name of Nicolas Poussin is retained as part of the key to resolve the mystery.
Why is the name of the famous paint master mentioned in those parchments ? In an attempt to resolve the mystery, the famous painting from Nicolas Poussin, 'The Shepherds of Arcadia' has been thoroughly examined, but for the time being this painting did not provide any leads which could help resolve the enigma.

The large parchment
the large parchment

The following enigmatic text was taken from the large parchment:
"Sheperdess, [thou shall have] no temptation, [may] Poussin and Teniers keep the key, PAX DCLXXXI, through the Cross and this horse of God, I finish off this demon keeper at noon blue apples".

The small parchment
The small parchment

This tells the story of disciples who shell ears of wheat on sabbat day:
"et factum est cum in Sabbato secundo..."
This version is taken from Matthew's (XII, 1-8), Mark's (II, 23-28) and Luke's (VI, 1-5).
Once decyphered, this parchment shows this other enigmatic message:
"To Dagobert II King and at Sion is this treasure and it is death".

Who could have created those parchments,  the most important pieces at the heart of this mystery ?
Their messages simply cannot be a coincidence, but the result of discoveries made in the region...
When mentioning the yet unresolved Abbot Sauniere mystery, the words 'Treasure of Rennes le Chateau' and 'Secret' often surface during those discussions.
But what could be that secret,  and what is the treasure ?

altar stained-glass The abbot Sauniere
Altar from the Saint Madeleine church in Rennes-le-Chateau

Stained-glass window depicting Mary Magdalene at Jesus' feet

The Abbot Sauniere




Uncontested master of Classicism through his method and sense of proportions, his passion of Antique times reinforced by the Roman landscapes, Nicolas Poussin is also the scholarly, the philosopher painter.
Like Da Vinci before him, Nicolas Poussin studies science, anatomy, astronomy, perspective, optics, and geometry.
His wide knowledge contributed to build Poussin's artistic realm,  made of this very particular unequalled and inimitable sensitivity.

Nicolas Poussin gets inspiration for his subjects from the Bible, and from Greek and Roman Mythology. To appreciate Poussin, "you must dedicate some time, this is a realm which slowly reveals itself, and which does not deliver its explanations immediately", says Pierre Rosenberg, a specialist on Poussin. Painter of ideas, Poussin illustrates Christian thematics through Greek and Roman allegories. His wide culture and knowledge give us his most secret thoughts, while Poussin's times are not prone to revelations. Like Da Vinci, Poussin was acquainted to secret societies; his painting involves several thematics and this is one of the codes the painter uses to take us into his realm of secrets and mysteries.

Knowing Poussin's personality it is not surprising to find the painter at the heart of the Rennes le Chateau mystery.