The Priory of Sion – The First Secret Society?
The Priory of Sion – The First Secret Society?
The Priory of Sion (from the French Prieure de Sion) is alleged to be a secret society founded in the 11th century it’s said purpose to preserve and protect the original precepts of Christianity and act as guardian to Jesus and Mary Magdalene sacred bloodline.
The mainstream public were initially introduced to the Priory through a number of controversial BBC Two documentaries and books by writers Henry Lincoln, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh.
The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (marketed as Holy Blood, Holy Grail in the U.S.) especially raised eyebrows. In this provocative book the authors stated “There was a secret order behind the Knights Templar, which created the Templars as its military and administrative arm. This order, which has functioned under a variety of names, is most frequently known as the Prieure de Sion (Priory of Sion). The Prieure de Sion has been directed by a sequence of Grand Masters whose names are amongst the most illustrious in Western history and culture. Although the Knights Templar were destroyed and dissolved between 1307 and 1314 the Prieure de Sion remained unscathed.”
Other assertions include the following: The Priory of Sion was founded in 1099 CE and is sworn to return the Merovingian dynasty whom they believe to be the descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to power; its leaders or Grand Masters have included the likes of Isaac Newton, Robert Fludd, Victor Hugo and Leonardo da Vinci; the Priory is dedicated to a united Europe and new world order; and the Catholic Church has been engaged, historically, in a war to destroy the dynasty and its protectors the Cathars and Knights Templar in order to retain authority afforded it through a patriarchal line of Popes beginning with Peter instead of the legitimate hereditary succession that began with Mary Magdalene.
The unfortunate problem with all this is that although the Knights Templar and the Cathars are an historical fact, all evidence pertaining to the Priory of Sion and offered as truth by the aforementioned authors was unintentionally based on false information from fraudulent sources. The Priory, at least in the form of an 11th century secret society, appears to be a deception established a mere half century ago by con man and would be pretender to the French throne Pierre Plantard.
In 1956 Pierre Plantard founded an association in the French town of Annemasse the original purpose of which seems to have been a relatively benign involvement in the affairs of the local community, but Plantard for whatever his reasons (suggestions are he hoped to re-establish the French monarchy with himself on the throne) soon embarked on a course of action that would result in a hoax of monumental proportions.
Co-conspirators were enlisted, the first was Plantard’s friend Philippe de Cherisey, together they deposited a series of fake documents called the Dossiers Secrets d’Henri Lobineau (“Secret Dossiers of Henri Lobineau”) at the Bibliothèque national de France, in Paris, in order to give credence to Plantard’s royal pedigree. Later a series of “medieval parchments” were forged containing encrypted messages pertaining to the Priory of Sion, the story being that a Father Berenger Sauniere had found them in 1891 while renovating his church, thus giving credence to claims that the Priory is a thousand year old secret society. A second conspirator Gerard de Sede then wrote L’Or de Rennes (“The Gold of Rennes”) and Le Tresor Maudit de Rennes-le-Chateau (“The Accursed Treasure of Rennes Castle”) a further embellishment based on the forged material. It was this fictitious data that Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh used and expanded on in their books and documentaries.
To those that missed the documentaries and books of Lincoln, Baigent and Leigh their first exposure to both the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar was probably either Dan Brown’s bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code or the blockbuster movie that followed it.
Brown’s source, concerning messages hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci, was the book The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ to which the authors Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince in a later book The Sion Revelation: The Truth About the Guardians of Christ’s Sacred Bloodline added a new twist, their argument that while the pre-1956 history of the Priory may well be a hoax it’s also a distraction, an intricate bluff, a front for one of the many crypto-political societies working behind the scenes to create an ideal (synarchist) United States of Europe.
As for Pierre Plantard he passed away in obscurity on the 3rd of February in the year 2000 at the age of 79 after testifying in a French court and under oath that he had fabricated everything. And maybe thats so, but the real truth is with Plantard gone we’ll never know.
Perhaps investigative authors Lionel and and Patricia Fanthorpe sum things up best when they state: “The Priory of Sion could be one of the most ancient, powerful and remarkable secret societies in the world; it could be the last vestigial trace of an inner group of Knights Templars; or it could merely be the the imaginings of one or two twentieth century crypto-politicians linked to the mysterious M. Plantard.” Basically it could be anything or nothing.
The Cathars (from the Latin for pure ones) also known as Albigensians was a dissident sect that flourished in parts of northern Italy and southern France during the 12th and 13th centuries (though records place them in Germany first circa 1143 CE). Like the Bogomils and Manichaeans before them they were Gnostics believing in a good spirit trapped within an evil body and that Christ was a spiritual being whose purpose on Earth was to show how that spirit might be freed. By the end of the twelfth century they had become a fully-fledged alternative to the Catholic Church (whom they considered idolatrous and corrupt) complete with bishops and a competing hierarchical infrastructure. The papacy, for its part, considered them heretical and a threat to both their temporal and spiritual power.
In 1209 a crusade was declared against all Christian heretics by Pope Innocent the Third; it was to become one of the most disgraceful periods in the Church’s history and result in the slaughter of tens of thousands of men women and children. One of the last Albigensian strongholds, Montsegur a fortress in the Pyrenees Mountains surrendered in 1244 after a lengthy siege many of the survivors tortured then burned alive by the victorious crusaders (although local legend has it that four escaped taking with them a mysterious treasure that some believe was the Holy Grail). The final stronghold Queribus fell in 1255, and though the event officially spelled the end of Catharism a small number of Cathars survived mostly in the more remote areas of Spain, France and Italy where they avoided the papacy’s wrath by blending in with the local populace. Guillaume Bélibaste, said to have been the last parfait (Cathar preacher) in languedoc was burned at the stake in 1321.