October 26, 2015

1986 FRANCE (Occitania) - Church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Rennes-le-Château

Rennes-le-Château, a small commune located  in southern France, is known internationally as the center of various conspiracy theories, but also as the location of an alleged buried treasure discovered by its 19th-century priest Bérenger Saunière. The village church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene has an extremely complex history, having been rebuilt several times. The earliest church may date to the 8th century. During the 11th century another church was built upon the site, which survived in poor repair until the 19th century, when it was renovated by the local priest, Bérenger Saunière.

Inside the church, one of the added figures was of a devil holding up the holy water stoup, its original head was stolen by persons unknown in 1996 and has never been recovered. Saunière also funded the construction of another structure dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. Named after his church, he built the Tour Magdala originally named the Tour de L'horloge on the edge of the village which he used as his library. In 1910-1911 Bérenger Saunière was summoned by the bishopric to appear before an ecclesiastical trial to face charges of trafficking in masses, was found guilty and suspended of the priesthood.

The village received up to around 100,000 tourists each year during the height of popularity of Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code . The modern reputation of Rennes-le-Château rises mainly from claims and stories dating from the mid-1950s concerning Bérenger Saunière. The main story claims that the priest discovered proof (possibly the Marriage Certificate) that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were married and their descendants became the Merovingian dynasty. Rennes-le-Château conspiracy theories continue to be a popular ingredient in a publishing industry that is growing exponentially.

About the stamp
Rennes-le-Château - Wikipedia

The stamp is part of the definitive series depicting Marianne, Marianne de la jeunesse, issued on  July 16, 2014, about which I wrote here.

Sender: Cococognan
Sent from Sassenage (Rhône-Alpes / France), on 24.09.2015

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