Back in the early months of 2014, I decided to go to France to research several important Templar sites, looking for connections between the Order of the Temple and the Saint-Clair family.
My good friends Scott Wolter and Committee Films learned I was doing research there and decided to join me and film us for their show, America Unearthed.
On an off-day, Scott wanted to show me something interesting in the town of Reims; specifically The Abbey of St. Remi where he had received a tip on an interesting piece of art.
The town of Reims is dominated by Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims). For centuries it had been part of the coronation ritual of the kings of France. There, the French legitimized their kings. They had them wear the Crown of Charlemagne and anointed them with holy oil.
Less than a mile to the southeast is the Basillica of St. Remi. The France.fr website has this about St. Remi:
“The former royal abbey of Saint-Rémi kept the Sainte Ampoule, containing the chrism, the holy oil used for anointing the king. The remains of Archbishop Saint Rémi, who baptised Clovis, are buried in the beautiful 9th century nave of its abbey church, the basilica Saint-Rémi, built in the Romanesque period and remodeled in the gothic period.”
You will recall that Clovis (465 – 511 AD) was the founder of the Merovingian dynasty. Just outside the basilica is a small sitting area with a few Merovingian stone sarcophagi.
The Merovingians fit prominently into modern Templar / Bloodline lore. Finding them at St. Remi and other places I visited in France doesn’t surprise me. If you research these holy places, you will find a surprising number built on the location of Merovingian burial sites. Once a place was revered, later cultures would continue to revere it.
A symbol at St. Remi
When visiting St. Remi, I entered through huge doors at the south transept. There, above my head, was a perfectly carved engrailed cross.
Don’t get too excited, however. St. Remi was severely damaged in a bomb attack during WWI, and subsequently repaired. The facing of the south transept was likely repaired.
If you’re fact checking me on the Internet, and if you consider Wikipedia a good source, then you will read that the south transept is the most recent repair on the church.
But it’s not that simple. The dating of the repairs cannot be understood without actually taking a trip to Reims. In other words, naysayers whose only tool is their keyboard and Google Search cannot arrive at what I found by getting my feet on the ground in Reims.
Inside St. Remi is a large display color-coding the different parts of the current basilica, indicating when they were completed and/or re-built. See that yellow area on the lower left? That’s part of the south transept. It’s yellow because that part of the structure is from the year 1049.
The green area shown here – the nave – is from 1162.
Among the authors who have written about St. Remi, there is some confusion as to when the south transept was remodeled. King (p. 5) wrote that the south transept was remodeled in 1506. Murray (p. 573) wrote that the front of the south transept was built in 1481. Having stood right in front of it, I can tell you the carving of the engrailed cross looks younger than some of the exterior carvings on parts of the church which I know are from the 11th century. The south transept exterior and older walls I studied are equally exposed to the weather. Both are southern facing.
This unusual statue is in the second room (or sepulcher) on the right after you enter the south transept.
There is a plaque explaining the timing of the statue, loosely translated, it says:
“This sepulcher made in 1531 and transferred the temple here in 1803 has been given to the Church of St Remi By Mr. L’ emoine-Doriot which adorns the chapel in 1814.”
Did you notice the Templar cross on the platform containing the body of Jesus? Do you see anything strange about the central figure, Mary Magdelane.
The woman to Mary’s left (#2) has a concave stomach. Mary’s (#1 in the center of the above photo) is sticking out like a woman who consumed 2 cases of beer a day for many years.
That’s one explanation.
The other is that she is with child.
I make the point about woman #2 because some skeptics are fond of writing about consistent artistic representations which have no real meaning, like the „M” hand gesture used in many paintings. However, if that were the case, why is Mary overwhelmingly bloated while the other 2 women – one to her right and the other to her left – are so thin? And why isn’t she pregnant in lots of other paintings and sculptures?
The engrailed cross & a pregnant Mary Magdalene
Is there any significance that there is an engrailed cross on the exterior of St. Remi, just feet from a depiction of a pregnant Mary Magdalene?
I’m not sure.
The statue was carved elsewhere in 1531 and moved to St. Remi in 1803. It’s certainly exciting to see them together now, and there may be more to the story than we know. Here’s one thing I know from much research on medieval buildings: They didn’t choose armorial bearings to go onto the exterior of important buildings purely for decorative purposes.
I have read that the statue of the pregnant Mary came from the church of the former commander of the Grosse Tour, the headquarters of the European Templars, demolished in 1808. There are, however, no sources I can find for this claim. By 1531, the Grosse Tour would not have been in the posession of the Templars becasue they no longer existed. So we’re back to the „belief” that the Templar order and their ideas went underground during the suppression in the 1300s. See how you feel about that when you read to the bottom of this page.
The timing on the plaque of the statue being moved here in 1803 is consistent with the destruction of the Grosse Tour by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1808. Knowing the tower had fallen into complete disrepair, they would have wanted to preserve such a beautiful statue before tearing the tower down.
Did you notice the position of Mary’s arms?
The position of her arms is certainly unusual. Many people who follow the bloodline / Masonic connection state that this is the Masons’ symbol of distress and thus connects the Masons to the same beliefs that led to the carving of the statue.
Another researcher has compelling evidence of an older origin for the Orante (Orans / Priestly Blessing) arm position. My friend Zena Halpern saw my photo above and sent me this in an email: “The blessing of the goddess, whichever name you give it, is found deep in antiquity. It was recovered by the Templars and this image resurged in the twewlfth century when it was brought to Europe. The unknown artist who sculpted this masterpiece was fully aware of this ancient tradition. Further, Mary Magdalene’s action of blessing was in keeping with the Gnostic church – „where woman held the rank of bishop, administered the sacraments ,taught, baptized and healed the sick.” (Baring, p. 632)
Zena Halpern presented a paper to our 2009 Atlantic Conference, “The Maritime Goddess Tanit in the New World.” Her fascinating presentation is at this link – Click Here. Make sure your volume is turned up and press the play button.
Michelangelo was in on it
On December 15, 2014, I watched the SCI channel, “Biblical Conspiracies S1:E2, Secrets in the Sculpture.” The description of the show: “A secret symbol that unlocks an untold story of murder, sex and politics is uncovered.” The sculpture is one of Michelangelo’s most renowned – The Pietà.
Sculptors would usually carve at least one small proposal model for the approval of their sponsors. The show found such a mini-sculpture. While it was of weak provenance, after testing it was found to be made from the same unique terra cotta mixture as other Michelangelo test sculptures. The fascinating part of the test sculpture was a winged baby positioned near Jesus and Mary. Much of it was destroyed, but you can still make out that this small baby had a quiver. He was a Cupid
Having a cupid on a statue of Jesus in the arms of Mary Magdalene would have been heresy in 16th century Europe. Biblical Conspiracies argued that the artist was attempting to show the Mary he intended to depict in the Pietà was not the mother of Jesus, but rather his bride.
Cupid was the ancient god of love – a pagan symbol. But Barbara Newman makes it clear that there were other, less sinister reasons a cupid might be in a depiction of Jesus. She has a nice paper on Academia.edu entitled Love’s Arrows: Christ as Cupid in Late Medieval Art and Devotion. While that might be how the naysayers will write this off, Biblical Conspiracies makes a compelling case with other symbols, as well as a written record which proves Michelangelo created a terra cotta proposal model of the Pietà. In light of all the evidence presented in Biblical Conspiracies, it’s easy to think the artist was sending secret messages.
These symbols are interesting because the naysayers all point to the Masons as the inventors of such lore in the 1700s, and the book Holy Blood Holy Grail, first published in 1982, as roping the Saint-Clairs into the myth. Yet, here we have 2 cases in which artists carved symbols of their beliefs in stone. Those beliefs differed from that preached (required) by the Holy Roman Church. And they did it long before the Masons or Holy Blood, Holy Grail. That still doesn’t prove a bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene existed and it doesn’t prove that the Saint-Clair family were involved. But it suggests this idea of a bloodline was alive and well before either the Masons or Michael Baigent came along.
Taken together with my other research, connecting the Saint-Clairs of Herdmanston with the Knights Templar, these statues and other symbols you’ll see in the America Unearthed episode become much more interesting.
Baigent, Michael, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Secret History of Jesus, The Shocking Legacy of the Grail,” Bantam Dell, a Division of Random House, Inc. New York, ©1982 by Michael Baigent Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln
Baring, Anne & Jules Cashford, “The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image,“ Penguin UK, Mar 25, 1993
“Biblical Conspiracies S1:E2, Secrets in the Sculpture.” SCI Channel, December 14, 2015
King, Thomas H., “The Study-book of Mediaeval Architecture and Art: Being a Series of Working Drawings of the Principal Monuments of the Middle Ages; Whereof the Plans, Sections, and Details are Drawn to Uniform Scales, Volume 3” John Grant, 1893
Newman, Barbara, “Love’s Arrows: Christ as Cupid in Late Medieval Art and Devotion,” part of “The Mind’s Eye: Art and theological Argument in the Middle Ages,” edited by Jeffrey F. Hamburger & Anne-Marie Bouché, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, 2006 ISBN: 9780691124766
Murray, John, “Hand-book for Travellers in France: Being a Guide to Normandy, Brittany, the Rivers Loire, Seine, Rhone and Garonne, the French Alps, Dauphiné, Provence and the Pyrenees : with Descriptions of the Principal Routes, Railways, the Approaches to Italy, the Chief Watering Places, Etc. : with 5 Travelling Maps” J. Murray, 1844
Pietà (Michelangelo). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 18, 2015, from