by Robert Richardson
is the author of "The Unknown Treasure: The Priory of
Sion Fraud and the Spiritual Treasure of Rennes-le-Château"
(Houston, TX: NorthStar, 1998), available from Pratum
Book Co., PO Box 985, Healdsburg, California 95448, USA.
This article is published on Alpheus with the
kind permission of the author and will be included in a
new edition of his book The Unknown Treasure.
With the international success of the bestselling novel
The DaVinci Code, esoteric subjects
have been enthusiastically received by a large audience. But that
audience does not realize information about the "Priory of Sion"
presented in The DaVinci Code as "fact" is a fraud. Nor do
the readers realize why that fraud was created and the reason why
its existence has been maintained. Those who have embraced the
novel’s subject matter will be shocked to find by believing The DaVinci Code claim that the "Priory of Sion" and its fabrications
are real, they are embracing the hate and fear filled mindset of
religious fanatics. The following pages are the first serious
attempt to explain the secret "why" of the "Priory of Sion" fraud
and the real goals its animators are trying to achieve.
Every person is the product of their environment and their
experiences, and the traits exhibited by the so-called "Priory of
Sion" are the products of intellectual constructs and life
experiences from a particular period carried onward by the "Priory
of Sion" founders and by its adherents. It is valuable to review the
often-overlooked recurring themes at the foundation of the
fabrications promulgated by the "Priory of Sion." Those recurring
themes are more mundane than mystical:
It is extraordinarily
Franco-centric. From the point of view of those behind the
"Priory of Sion," France is the center of all key events which
have shaped Western history.
It is intensely Catholic. The
Catholic Church is a major player in the "Priory" playbook. A
sub-theme is its portrayal of a recurring struggle for control
of the church itself.
Names of modern Catholic
Ultra-Traditionalists are alleged as associates, supporters, and
key members of the "Priory of Sion" and select Catholic
Ultra-Traditionalist organizations are alleged to be, or proudly
proclaimed as, predecessors or implied fronts for the "Priory of Sion". (An Ultra-Traditionalist Catholic may be defined as
someone who desires a return to a Catholic Church with pre-1960
institutions but more influence in spiritual, political, and
personal affairs than in the past.)
European politics appear repeatedly,
but in relation to the Roman church.
Esoteric and Masonic allusions
appear like a set in a play, a backdrop to the other five
Through these recurring themes we will
come to see the "why" of the "Priory of Sion."
While the tumultuous French cultural events of the 19th century
raged - the constantly changing government and roles of royalty and
the Catholic Church, the visible rise of esoteric studies as a
cultural force in France, and the smothering atmosphere of the
industrial revolution - one more critical change was fast evolving.
The role of the Catholic Church throughout Europe was in
astonishingly sudden transition, and that transition was a decline
in power and in influence. Everything seemed to assail the Roman
church in a sustained onslaught. In Italy, it was stripped of its
role as a true landed state and of its worldly political influence.
In its place, new democratic forces and a new societal order arose.
The spiritual influence and temporal wealth and power of the French
Catholic Church were castrated. In every old Catholic stronghold,
once inconceivable governmental restrictions altered the traditional
role of the church.
Throughout Europe a generation of
scholars employing new methods of academic inquiry were questioning
and rewriting the very foundations of belief on which the Papal
throne and church power had been constructed. As a response, the
doctrine of Papal infallibility was created, and asserted, but it
was laughed at. Even the fearsome power of the Inquisition, so
recently the scourge of Europe and the ruthless enforcer of Papal
will, withered rapidly and became a paper ghost. As a series of
apparitions of the Virgin Mary were reported across France in the 19th
century from Lourdes to La Salette, the power and influence of the
church was crumbling in its own hands. No one seemed to realize this
was the real end of the Middle Ages. The ancient institutions were
finally confronted with the inevitable reality of time and change.
But many conservatives among prelates and the devout could not
accept this change. For them, the church was the only legitimate
source of worldly power. Men were lost without its authority. They
could not accept that the structures of the Middle Ages had come to
the end of their time. For almost 2,000 years, the Church had
maintained its power and influence. It had outlasted dynasties and
nations. How could such a fall from power and grace happen to the
elect of God? How could the world have turned against them so
suddenly? The only answer could be hidden adversaries. And those
adversaries were readily found. Freemasonry had become a publicly
visible influence in Europe. Masons actively worked to lessen the
power of Royalty, the Church’s traditional ally. Masonry advocated
equality and freedom of religions, equal rights for all social
classes, and the separation of church and state.
Masonic lodges supported the rise of
constitutional democracies - whose spokesmen and elected officials
often happened to be Freemasons. Freemasons were successful in the
new, rising commercial class. Freemasons supported the publication
of esoteric books such as the H.P. Blavatsky’s
The Secret Doctrine. All these things were
anathematic to the Church’s sense of the right order of the
universe. It was evident that Masonry was a tool of the Devil.
Masonry was the archenemy of the church. And the more open Masonry
became, the more other esoteric societies seemed to appear from
hiding. And then, there were always the Jews.
In 1877, H.P. Blavatsky published Isis Unveiled. The
New York World described it as,
"an extremely readable and
exhaustive essay upon the paramount importance of
re-establishing the Hermetic Philosophy in a world which blindly
believes it has outgrown it".
The opening words of the author’s
preface confirmed the worst fears of the Catholic Traditionalists by
"The work now submitted to public
judgment is the fruit of a somewhat intimate acquaintance with
Eastern adepts and study of their science... It is an attempt to
aid the student to detect the vital principles which underlie
the philosophical systems of old."
Not only were the philosophical systems
of old examined, but they introduced the books’ wide readership to
what Blavatsky claimed were Hidden Masters guiding the destiny of
Unfortunately, none of the Hidden
Masters proved to be Catholic. Rather inconveniently, they all
seemed to be from Somewhere In The Far East. To compound matters,
when Blavatsky published The Secret Doctrine in 1888,
her preface emphasized that while her work might be appear to be
Eastern, it was not about any religion, but rather about the truths
which under girded all faiths.
Blavatsky’s books symbolized the new ideas and heretofore seemingly
hidden wisdom that created a cultural explosion and found a
receptive and long-suppressed lay audience. For years the
complacency and authoritarian power of the Catholic Church had
inbred corruption, and abuses had worn on its lay people like a
yoke. Periodic internal efforts to reform it were met with
opposition. Of more concern to the church was the priest who strayed
from the official church position. They were subject to harsh
internal punishments. Orders sprang up inside the church to fight
its external enemies but also to police its own. In 17th
century France, a group called the Compagnie du Saint Sacrement
arose. A genuine secret society, its real aims were understood by no
one and it seemed to frighten just about everyone, from the church
to the state.
Eventually it was disbanded, to the
relief of all. It has been accurately described as "a bastion of
rigidly entrenched and fanatical orthodoxy" that "devoted itself to
weeding out heretics".(1)
It was a precedent as much intellectually and spiritually as
physically for the groups which would fight to restore the Roman
church’s traditional role in midst and aftermath of the chaos that
the 19th century created for
the Catholic church. Centuries later
the "Priory of Sion" would make references to the Compagnie du
Saint Sacrement and regard itself as its heir.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries the
ardently faithful, in particular Royalist Catholics and some members
of the priesthood, fought back fiercely against what they perceived
as worldly depredations against the rightful position and
prerogatives of monarchy and the church. In Rome, in the heart of
the Vatican itself, a secret society called Sodalitum Pianum was
formed under the direction of Monsignor Umberto Benigni. Benigni
sacrificed his rising clerical career and his future role in the
Society for the Propagation of the Faith to found and run Sodalitium
Pianum. The basic function of Sodalitum Pianum was to gather
information for key Curia officials - the Vatican administration -
and for the Pope on what was actually happening inside the Church.
It received its support from several influential Cardinals and from
the defender of traditional Church privileges, Pope Pius X.
Sodalitum Pianum was for all intents and purposes a secret police
force. Its job was to fight the challenge posed by Modernism to the
traditional church teachings. Internally, it would make rebellious
priests march to the dictums of the church hierarchy, and it hunted
to uncover any sources of internal heresy. It was founded in 1909
and terminated in 1914, when Pius died. But it was reborn in 1915
and continued until 1921, when it was formally disbanded. Despite
formal cessation of its activities, the heritage of Sodalitum Pianum
would continue. As Sodalitum Pianum waged its battle from Rome, in
France another Catholic secret society thrived. It had appeared some
thirty-six years earlier. The roots and the ideas of the latter day
"Priory of Sion" come directly from this group, the
Hiéron du Val
Force Behind the "Priory of Sion"
In 1873, the very curious organization called Hiéron de Val d’Or was
founded. It made its base near the Catholic shrine at
Paray-le-Monial. Here, two centuries earlier, the mystic St.
Marguerite-Marie Alacoque beheld visions of the Sacred Heart of
Jesus, beginning the Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart. Paray-le-Monial had a long history within the Catholic Church. The
first of several monastery facilities, a Benedictine abbey, was
established there as early as 973. Later, the area seemed to foster
Protestants, and in 1618 the Jesuits were called upon to save the
faithful from the usurpers. The Jesuits had remained at Paray-le-Monial ever since and the Sacred Heart became the paramount
devotional symbol for the Jesuit Order, which was consecrated to the
Sacred Heart in 1872. (2)
Paray-le-Monial was an important point
on the Jesuit compass and at least one member of the Society of
Jesus would become a key founder of the Hiéron du Val d’Or. At
Paray-le-Monial the Hiéron du Val d’Or built a museum and research
center in 1877 and housed itself in a pentagonal building reflecting
the Hiéron’s interest in geometry and sacred architecture. Long
established as a Catholic pilgrimage site, from 1873 onwards
Paray-le-Monial began to attract more visitors. Thousands Catholics
from all walks of life journeyed to Paray-le-Monial in devotion to
the Sacred Heart of Jesus, hoping to stem the changes of the times.
The Hiéron du Val d’Or deliberately targeted these pilgrims as its
Victor Drevon, a Jesuit priest, and a nobleman from Spain, the
Alexis Sarachaga, were the two key founders of the Hiéron. In 1854,
Drevon, then 34 years old, established the Association of the
Communion of Reparation in the ancient monastery and Jesuit base at Paray-le-Monial with the purpose of atonement, or reconciliation, of
man and God through the mediation of Jesus. For his part, the
wealthy Baron Sarachaga was a devoted but esoterically oriented
Catholic. His family linage claimed the famed mystic, St. Teresa of
Avila, and he was a personal friend of the besieged Pope Pius IX and
his successor Leo XIII.
Drevon brought the focus and discipline
of the Jesuits to the Hiéron, and Sarachaga brought his wealth, his
influential Vatican and social connections, and his odd
Catholic/esoteric orientation, which the Hiéron proclaimed as
esoteric Christianity, or Christian Hermeticism. As the spiritual
head of the Hiéron and titular head of its church approved school,
the Insititut des Fastes ("Fastes" refers to Roman calendar church
feast days), Sarachaga would dedicate the last forty years of his
life to the Hiéron, until his death in 1918. It would be become a
forge in which the shock troops of the anti-Masonic and
anti-occultist Catholic Ultra-Traditionalists would be molded and it
would reflect Sarachaga’s eclectic ideas.
The Hiéron du Val d’Or focused on propagating a very Catholic
focused worldview, born in the church-challenged circumstances of
the times, encompassing the occult and the monarchy, and a return to
worldly glory for the church. It countered occultist’s claims of a
universal tradition. To the Hiéron, the only universal tradition was
a Catholic Christianity, which was, like Atlantis, lost, and which
must be rediscovered. The Hiéron version of Christianity traced
directly back to an idealized vision of Atlantis via the Celts,
Judaism, and Egypt. Christianity, according to the Hiéron,
originated in Atlantis and was itself the universal tradition.
Atlantis, the legendary lost civilization at the root of humanity
became, to the members of the Hiéron, an idealized vision of the
world as it should be, and a code word embracing every aspect of
their vision. As proof of this heritage, the Hiéron revealed to its
adherents the name Aor-Agni (Light-Fire), that it claimed opened the
secrets of all knowledge of the universe, as taught in its school.
As important to the Hiéron and its members as rediscovering its
version of the lost Catholic heritage by preserving Celtic sacred
sites, and by studying symbolism, astrology, and a peculiarly
Catholic Kabbalah, was the heritage of the future. The Hiéron was
obsessed with preparing for the year 2000. That was when the golden
time would come - an absolute monarch would rule Europe and,
eventually, the world. The Great King, the worldly reign of
the King. And the Vatican would be supreme again, together with this
King. The Pope and the King would rule by fiat over a United States
of Europe. Their dictums would be absolutely obeyed.
Behind them would stand a secret elite,
powers behind the throne in the service of Christ, "eminences grises
from whom the great of this world seek counsel." - as the latter-day
"Priory" would try to depict itself.
(3) The Hiéron wanted, as onetime Plantard
associate and later adversary Jean-Luc Chaumeil wrote,
"a theocracy, wherein nations would
be no more than provinces, their leaders but proconsuls in the
service of a global government consisting of secret elitists.
For Europe the regime of the Great King implied a double
hegemony of the papacy and the Empire... . . "(4).
And the devoted members of the Hiéron
were dedicated, willing to sacrifice and work to achieve these
The Hiéron had another purpose, a secret one. It secretly and
forcefully advocated that Masonry was an anti-Christian movement
requiring reformation. A secret and sacred war must be fought
against Freemasonry by the church and its phalange, the Hiéron, a
war which would give birth to a new and "Christian Freemasonry of
the Great West" (5),
or the "Occident". For Catholic Ultra-Traditionalists, the
Lodge of French Masons and claims for an ancient common spiritual
primacy in books like Blavatsky’s would be replaced by a "Grand
Occident Lodge" and the spiritual primacy of Catholic Christianity.
"Occident", too, grew to become a key password for the prolonged and
intense activities of the Hiéron’s Catholic vanguard to supplant
Freemasonry with an Ultra-Traditionalist Catholic creation. By
overcoming the threat of occultists with a creation which proved
Catholic supremacy, they would bring Masons and occultists back into
the fold of the Catholic church.
Great effort was made to clearly differentiate the teachings of the Hiéron from those of other esotericists and especially
For the Hiéron and its followers, Masonry had become corrupt. The
corruption could be clearly traced and even dated. Freemasonry had
once been noble. But the influence of the English had become too
strong in the late 18th century. The English branch had been
corrupted because it was dominated by Protestants. The Germans, too
had become corrupted, and this corruption eventually spread to
French Masonry. The corruption was caused by
the Illuminati of
Bavaria - which had been led by a Jew! They had corrupted
and the French Revolution. To Hiéron acolytes, the French Revolution
was originated by the nobility and the church who, because of their
higher consciousness, deemed it necessary to help their lesser
evolved citizenry by graciously and voluntarily surrendering all
their privileges and powers.
But the revolution became twisted and
violent because of the influence of corrupt elements of
Illuminati-dominated Masonry. Masonry had, in fact, became a
Jewish/Protestant tool which overthrew the Catholic Church and the
nobility in France and laid virtual siege to the Vatican itself. Any
claims of a descent of Freemasonry from the Templars were merely
proof of its corruption, because the Templars, too, had lost their
way. But their positive principles survived and were now embodied in
the "Occidental Masonry" advocated by the Hiéron. And so Freemasonry
became a hated symbol, a target which had to be reformed and
replaced by intentional and covert actions of the elite troops and
superior Catholic Hermeticists dispatched by the Hiéron du Val d’Or.
But common pilgrims were not the only recruits sought by the Hiéron.
To realize its goals, the Hiéron needed to attract an elite. And it
did, drawing to it royalty and the wealthy and many artistic and
intellectual notables. A very prominent intellectual drawn to the
odd esoteric spiritual recipe of the Hiéron was Louis Charbonneau-Lessay,
a well-born Catholic author and former priest. Charbonneau-Lessay
was widely known and acclaimed in scholarly, religious, and esoteric
circles for his research and writings on the use of symbols in
medieval Catholic times. His major work on this subject, The
Bestiary of Christ, is still in print today. Charbonneau-Lessay
actively sought esoteric knowledge. From his studies he had
concluded that the Templars held a secret and special knowledge and
he was drawn to contact several secret societies and to the Hiéron
school to search for it.
When Drevon had died in 1880, Sarachaga increased his already potent
influence in the Hiéron and his ideas dominated it for 38 more
years. The activities of the Hiéron were encouraged and its
practices which seemed to conflict with Catholicism were protected
by Sarachaga’s friends Pope Pius IX and Pope Leo XIII. When Pius X
became Pope in 1903, the conflict between the church and state in
France was so intense that the Vatican needed Sarachaga and his
devoted followers more than ever. In 1903 the French church became
subject to state overview and in 1905 the Law of Separation in
France nullified Napolean’s old agreement with the church.
The church lost its property and revenue
in France, while by 1907 on the spiritual and intellectual front
Pius X was so besieged by Modernism that he wrote a Papal Encyclical
against it. With the passing of Pius in 1914 and the beginning of
the First World War, the French Catholic Church was pushed further
away from its traditional prominence in French life. And in 1917,
six mystical visions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal, spoke
of a new threat to the church from Russia, and a mysterious Catholic
end-times prophecy. All these factors emphasized the need among
Traditionalist Catholics for a reformation of the Masonic-Jewish
forces that to their view were behind the devastating blows to
church and royalty.
From 1910 throughout the turbulent time when First World War raged,
the symbolism of the Sacred Heart and related symbols and spiritual
aspects progressively gained prominence in Catholic intellectual and
religious circles. The monarchist Abbé Felix Anizan had been focused
on this subject since 1909. In 1921, after the death of Baron Sarachaga, Abbé Anizan started a journal called Regnabit ("He will
reign"), Revue Universelle du Sacre-Coeur, funded by a bequest from Sarachaga and supported by a number of high ranking clerics. Its
name referred to a prominent Hiéron theme, the Kingdom of Christ
coming at the end of the Millennium. In 1922, at the request of
Archbishop Louis-Ernest Dubois of Paris, Charbonneau-Lessay began to
write for Regnabit, increasing his involvement and interest in the
work at the Hiéron.
René Guénon also came into prolonged contact with the Hiéron at this
time through Charbonneau-Lessay, whose knowledge he wanted to share,
and through their mutual association with the anti-Masonic magazine,
La France anti-maconnique. And another figure who at the same time
began moving visibly into the orbit of the Hiéron was Paul Le Cour.
Years later La Cour would be alleged in "Priory " publications as a
friend of "Priory" creator Pierre Plantard. In November of 1923, Le
Cour began an intense period of contact with the Hiéron du Val d’Or
through Jeanne Lepine-Authelain, an aging Hiéron founding member.
In 1918, with the death of Sarachaga, three administrators headed
the daily affairs of the Hiéron, Gabriel de Noaillat, Mathe Devuns,
and their associate, Jeanne Lepine-Authelain. Absent Sarachaga’s
powerful influence, internal church forces critical of the practices
and philosophy of the Hiéron began to politic against it in church
circles. As a defensive measure the administrators increasingly
moved the Hiéron into more conventional Catholic circles. In 1925,
the Hiéron triumphantly received formal recognition from the Vatican
for the creation of the Feast of Christ the King. But by February
1926, the three aging lay administrators passed away. With Abbé
Felix Anizan under mounting pressure from church officials in France
and in the Vatican to moderate its practices, and no full-time
administrators to run its affairs, the Hiéron lost control of its
facilities at Paray-le-Monial. The Hiéron disappeared.
But while it may have disappeared as a physical entity, the Hiéron’s
ideals continued without abatement. Its work was carried on by those
who adhered to Sarachaga’s original principles. In 1926, Le Cour
quickly founded a group called Societe d’Etudies Atlanteennes and
its successor "Atlantis" in 1927, to carry on the ideas of the
Hiéron. Also in 1927, at the age of 56, Le Cour began to write books
and publish a magazine trumpeting key Hiéron and Sarachaga themes on
Atlantis, astrology, and other metaphysical subjects. His last book
was published in 1955, after his death, and just before the "Priory
of Sion" was born. Le Cour was regarded by the adherents of the
Hiéron as the spiritual heir to Baron Sarachaga, a leadership
transition symbolized by a particular Sarachaga ring Jeanne
Lepine-Authelain left to him.
In fact, the groundwork for this transition had been laid in the
contentious years after Sarachaga’s passing. During its last few
years, the Hiéron was a hotbed of conflicting esoteric topics molded
in the vision of Ultra-Traditionalist Catholicism. The esoteric
intellectual and spiritual intensity of the atmosphere at
Paray-le-Monial is witnessed by the presence of Charbonneau-Lessay
and Rene Guenon, who were drawn to the topics it studied. The rapid
founding by Le Cour, within four months after the loss of the Hiéron
facilities, of a well subscribed successor society to carry on the
ideas of the Hiéron, and Le Cour’s publication in 1927 of his first
book perpetuating the key points of Sarachaga’s philosophy, speaks
more of a determined plan to continue the spirit and principles of
the Hiéron than an independent impulse. Le Cour’s organization still
exists today, with some 3,000 members.
In 1922, as the future Hiéron program was being conceived, Georges
"Count Israel" Monti created an esoteric society called the
Groupe occidental d’etudes esoteriques. Two unique
characteristics of this group clarify in light of the history and
goals of the Hiéron du Val d’Or and they foreshadow the principles
behind the later formation of the "Priory of Sion" and its wartime
Alpha Galates. Those two characteristics are the
specific goal of reconciling esoteric orders with the Catholic
Church, and claiming a fictional affiliation with occultist
Alister Crowley. Claiming a fictional affiliation - in
short, lying - would later be raised to a new level by the "Priory
of Sion." But for a religious fanatic, the end always justifies the
means. For Monti’s group, its highly contradictory cover story
served well for the real purpose of Groupe occidental d’etudes
esoteriques: acting in the esoteric world to implement Hiéron ideals
to reform Masonry from within and reorient it under the firm
direction of Catholicism.
It is most likely that Monti was affiliated both directly and
spiritually with the Hiéron and that he was acting on its behalf.
His long affiliation with the devoutly Catholic Josephine Péladan as
his secretary and the goals of Péladan’s Order Rose-Croix Catholique
of the Temple and the Grail, founded in 1891 to reveal the mysteries
and prepare for the coming of Christ are also perfectly in keeping
with the goals of the Hiéron. The Jesuit educated Monti moved in
overlapping circles with Paul Le Cour. Their mutual interests seem
to coincide - a study of Anthroposophy; an interest in its
predecessor, Theosophy; an affiliation with Péladan’s Order of the
Rose-Croix Catholique; and very strong anti-Semitism.
Another important and revealing
similarity is an emphasis on political activity and reformation of
the body politic. If, as is advanced in this hypotheses, Monti was
acting on behalf of and in concert with the progeny of the Hiéron,
his documented breathless insistence on meeting important people and
being associated with secret political operations are in keeping
with activities the Hiéron would seek out to reform the influence of
Masonry. All these activities would be necessary to win control of
Masonry and then use its presumed influence to prepare for the
coming kingdom in the year 2000.
The word "occidental" would later became a password into the
paradigm of the "Priory of Sion." It means the West, and
specifically Western Europe. It is the differentiator of the split
in French Masonry. The Lodges which were aligned with the tradition
of French Masonry were called "Orient". The lodges aligned with
Catholic Traditionalists and which sought to bring Masonry under the
rule of Vatican Catholicism were called "Occident." A Masonic
reconciliation with the church was one of the goals of the Hiéron du
Val d’Or, and of Monti’s group. The Hiéron saw the future world run
by a group of elitists - their members. This is exactly the elitist
role sought by George Monti for himself, and it is how the successor
organizations, Alpha Galates, and later the "Priory of Sion," would
strive to position their image.
As a conscious and deliberate front for the work of Hiéron adherents
in implementing its goals of reforming Masonry and reconciling it
with the Catholic Church, the leader of Groupe occidental
d’etudes esoteriques would not be inaccurately described by the
Grand Lodge as a trafficker in information and, given the Jesuit
presence at Paray-le-Monial and Jesuit involvement in the Hiéron
formation and activities, a Jesuit agent. In 1936, one year after
his close friend and associate Dr. Camille Savoire severed his
association with the Grand Orient Lodge and one month after he was
publicly so described by the Grand Lodge, Georges Monti would die
under mysterious circumstances and Groupe occidental d’etudes
esoteriques would disappear. Sixty years later, the "Priory of Sion"
would allege Camille Savoire to have been one of its key members.
The next small person who would become enamored with the ideals
emanating from the world of the Hiéron would be sixteen when George Monti died. He, too, would very soon become the front man for groups
carrying forward the cause of the Hiéron, a cause he himself would
come to adopt. And he, too, would come to a sad end. His name was
Education of Pierre Plantard
His father was a butler, killed in an accident while Pierre Plantard
was still young, but in middle age he would allege his father was a
member of the nobility. His mother, a sometime cook for the wealthy,
would support him well into adulthood on a small pension received
from his father’s accident. He was an unsuccessful student, not
advancing beyond primary school to higher or trade education,
unemployed, drifting, his only brief job as the sexton of St Louis d’Antin parish in Paris.
In 1936, when Pierre Plantard, the future founder of the "Priory of Sion," was sixteen, for the French right and some devout Catholics a
horrific event took place - a Jewish socialist, Leon Blum became
French prime minister. Both his faith and his political orientation
mobilized these groups against Blum. In 1937, the young and poorly
educated Pierre Plantard suddenly became precociously politically
active when he tried to found an organization called "The French
Union" and to distribute a periodical "The Renewal of France." His
co-officers in The French Union were very close to his own youth:
Simone Gabrielle Brue, and Andre Bergerand, both also born in 1920;
and a secretary, France Brubius, was three years older.
(6) In that same year,
Paul Le Cour would publish a work on astrology, "The Era of
Aquarius," containing future predictions colored by his dedicated Hiéron-focus.
In 1938, Plantard published and distributed for free "French
Renewal" a pamphlet with a circulation a 10,000. It was printed by
Poirer Murat, who later would print another publication ostensibly
for Plantard. Now 18, Plantard was also active with Groupement
Catholique de la Jeunesse, a Catholic youth group. Supposedly he was
involved in its formation. By 1939 he was speaking to small
gatherings sponsored by this group, which arranged free holidays for
young people. In 1940 Plantard was writing directly to Marshall Pétain, leader of the
Nazi Collaborationist government at Vichy,
warning of a Masonic-Jewish plot. In 1941, French authorities denied Plantard his application to found an organization called "French
According to a 1941 police report,
(7) Plantard was
unemployed and supported by his mother. They had lived together for
fourteen years in two sublet rooms, which were former maids’
quarters. But in 1942, Alpha Galates, an organization headed in name
by Plantard and alleging a substantial membership, made its
appearance, with its first issue of Vaincre, an ardently pro-Vichy
periodical featuring articles by a number of prominent rightists on
superficial esoteric, and extreme right-wing political themes.
Illustrated and produced on good quality stock, it, too, was printed
by Poirer Murat.
Where did the money come from to fund all these activities?
Obviously it did not come from Plantard or his mother. By 1942, he
was 22 and still unemployed. He had a minimum of formal education.
Most of the police reports about his activities from this wartime
period when political activity was investigated dismiss him as an
eccentric. But a 1945 police report on Alpha Galates, provides an
insight in its list of the officers theoretically serving with
Plantard on its leadership committee. They were:
Alpha Galates vice president, an actor living with his parents and
one year younger than Plantard
Suzanne Libre, its secretary, two
years younger than Plantard, and living with her parents while
Jules Tisser, the Treasurer of Alpha Galates.
He was 24 years older than Plantard, a childless WWI veteran
employed as the chief accountant at a manufacturing firm
The dreary police report is oblivious to
Jules Tisser. He is like an
invisible man. Accountants sometimes are. But it is an odd
circumstance that a man old enough to be Plantard’s father and
holding a responsible position would be associated with a group of
young people in a chimerical organization. And that he would gladly
submit to the leadership of its illustrious chief, Plantard, who
police reports saw as an "odd young man" (9)
and a "deranged individual" (10).
Wartime France was a difficult economic period. Why would a chief
accountant - a very good job in a time of high unemployment - risk
his position by involvement in the enterprise of Alpha Galates if it
were just the immature work of a few politically impassioned but
confused young people?
But if a group of determined adults impassioned about its religious
concepts being implemented in society were promoting a young front
man to send its message and spending scarce funds on free
publications, they would want one of their numbers involved to watch
the puppets. And to count the money. Someone like an older and very
The unemployed, devoutly Catholic Pierre Plantard was a front man
for older people dedicated to the concepts of the Hiéron du Val d’
Or. He did not have the money to pay for and distribute multiple
runs of 10,000 copies for his first publication, nor for the 1300 to
4500 free copies claimed by the six issues of the illustrated Vaincre. Nor did a young man of 22 - even an unemployed one with a
lot of time on his hands - have the knowledge to write all the Vaincre articles by himself nor to understand obscure esoteric
references in some Vaincre articles. But older men who adhered to
the concepts of the Hiéron du Val d’Or did.
In the first issue of Vaincre is a particularly interesting
illustration that reveals the real sources for this publication and
the puppet masters behind it. It shows a solitary horseman in Celtic
dress carrying a flag and riding into a distant sunrise, which reads
"1946" and is labeled with the symbol of Aquarius - the time of the
coming of the Great Monarch. Either side of the road he rides is
labeled "Bavaria" and "Brittany". The start of the road is labeled
"1937". On the rider’s flag is a symbol called the Cross of the
South. And the road he rides is labeled "United States of the
It is debatable whether young Pierre Plantard could have created
this illustration. It sums up too neatly the philosophy of the real
animators behind Alpha Galates. "Occident," or West, is a term
closely associated with Ultra-Traditionalist Catholic efforts to
reform Masonry into alignment with the Catholic Church. A United
States of the West is the vision of a western European super
government under the hegemony of France. It is the vision of Hiéron
du Val d’Or. A Celtic rider affirms the Hiéron emphasis on its ties
to Celtic traditions.
The Cross of the South is in keeping
with the Hiéron’s interest in simbology: a cross with a heart is a
specifically Hiéron symbol, and the Cross of the South relates to
another Hiéron interest, a Catholic oriented astrology. In 1942, few
people would have knowledge of the meaning of this symbol, or of its
existence unless they were well steeped in the teachings of the
Hiéron du Val d’Or. Young Pierre Plantard would not have known the
workings these concepts. As a front man, he would have sat admiring
and obedient at the feet of men who helped mold the effort to see
the ideals of the Hiéron become reality.
Several other factors confirm that this illustration,
and its front man Pierre Plantard were creatures of Hiéron acolytes.
Young Plantard was involved with Catholic youth groups and was said
to be the leader of one which provided free vacations for Catholic
youth. In 1920, the Jesuits formed the Catholic Scouts youth group
and, later, the Catholic Rover Scouts to inculcate young people with
proper religious and political values. At the same time, Abbé Felix
Anizan of the Hiéron formed a youth group to recruit young people to
the Hiéron, a group referred to by Paul Le Cour in his 1920’s
writings as a force to be used in helping to bring Hiéron policies
to a future reality.
The youth group with which the young
Pierre Plantard was associated was modeled along these lines. Alpha
Galates, by its constitution, was anti-Masonic and anti-Semitic,
confirming the presence of Hiéron values. Like key people associated
with Hiéron ideals, Plantard would be repeatedly confirmed by police
reports as anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic.
(11) By coincidence, both of Plantard’s
publishing ventures involved the same printer. And while the later
well-known Robert Amadou may have claimed to discontinue his work
with Alpha Galates, he was associated with, and published in, Le
Cour’s journal Atlantis.
In the issues of Alpha Galates’ Vaincre, Robert Amadou and
Pierre Plantard echoed the philosophy of the Hiéron. As Amadou would write
for Vaincre, Chivalry (meaning traditional non-Masonic Orders )
" ...not in opposition to the
Church, but within the heart of it" (12)
Plantard, or someone writing under his
pseudonym of Pierre de France, would take the neo-fascism of the Hiéron and the French far right to an extreme by proclaiming,
"I want Hitler’s Germany to know
that every obstacle to our own plans does harm to him also, for
this is the resistance put up by Masonry that is undermining
German might." (13)
Like Amadou, he would write of the new
face the Hiéron followers saw for the esoteric orders that
foreshadowed the "Priory of Sion" hoax:
" . . . what happened after the
disappearance of [the last Templar Grand Master] Jacques De
Molay will no longer hamper our progress since from now on the
orders will be kept in existence."(14)
Last is astrology. It figured in the
world of the Hiéron du Val d’Or and more prominently in the post
1926 expressions of its teaching. Paul Le Cour was an important
figure in the development of French astrology in the twentieth
century. Of his eleven books, his most revised and reprinted work
was "L’Ere du Verseau" ("The Era of Aquarius"). It was first
published in 1937 using different astrological processional
calculations than those in vogue at the Hiéron base at
Paray-le-Monial. Le Cour announced his calculations saw the
beginning of a key period in 1937- 1946. This was the period which
Alpha Galates, the front for the followers of the Hiéron and
predecessor of the "Priory of Sion," specifically indicated by the
dates in the illustration in their publication, Vaincre. Le Cour
himself is specifically referenced in the same first issue of
Vaincre as Paul Lecourt, a punctuation closer to his real name,
The activities of this group faded in the last years of the war.
Soon the older leaders passed on. But Plantard and others dedicated
to their secret, carried on their ideas. In 1947, Paul Le Cour and
writers sharing the Hiéron philosophy called for the creation of a
new order of knighthood, and in 1947 Plantard formed a new group for
the purpose of "historical research," The Latin Academy. In 1956,
following the death of Paul Le Cour, Plantard legally formed the
"Priory of Sion".
In the 1950’s Plantard began to appear at the old Celtic religious
site of Rennes-le-Chateau, researching the background that would
create the "Priory of Sion" fiction. Gradually both fictional
documents and new editions of "Priory" publications appeared. These
"Priory documents" reproduce the positions of Alpha Galates and the
Hiéron, including calls for a United States of Europe. These are a
clear indication that the "Priory of Sion" program issues from the
Hiéron principles. It shows that Plantard and the followers of his
generation of Hiéron acolytes had no interest in new ideals.
Plantard tried to relink with his earlier associates and
successfully joined with Philippe Chérisey, who he had first met in
Other "Priory" articles would tie
Plantard with names of people from the wartime years, key people
associated with perpetuating Hiéron goals. Their citation affirms
the presence of the Hiéron du Val d’Or in its cadet operation, the
"Priory of Sion." These articles, written by Plantard’s first wife,
associated Plantard reverentially with Georges "Count Israel" Monti,
Paul LeCour, and one "Th. Moreux." (Abbé Theophilus Moreux, a
Jesuit, was a noted astronomer who wrote a book on Atlantis. He was
imprisoned in Frenes prison for his resistance activities in 1943.).
In 1962-65, the activities of the "Priory" shifted into a higher
gear as its sought to capitalize on publicity from the Gisors affair
and began to deposit fabricated documents in libraries, postdating
them to the prior decade.
One example, which also illustrates how the Hiéron descended
"Priory" saw esoteric groups as a threat and sought to control them
in a manner similar to the original Hiéron, is a fabricated document
giving the fictitious "Priory" Grand Master the title of Jean 23rd.
This title does not refer to the Catholic Pope, John XXIII. Limited
information appeared in esoteric circles in the 1960’s about a small
but genuine esoteric group whose Grand Master bore that title.
Using this name is an attempt by the
"Priory" to blend its identity with the real organization to achieve
what esoteric groups call "authority." It shows how the "Priory"
reacted to esoteric activities posing a perceived threat to its
goals. The fiction of the Templars being subservient to an ancient
"Priory" was also conceived at this time to counter the revival,
with which the real group was associated, of interest in the
Templars. And, at the same time, the "Priory" begin to associate
itself with a new generation of Ultra-Traditionalist Catholics, who
held positions similar to Hiéron ideals.
On October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII inaugurated the Second Vatican
Council, promising its result would "shake the heavens and the
earth." For parts of the Catholic world, it did just that. John’s
successor, Pope Paul, expanded the College of Cardinals, forced
mandatory retirements, reformed church practices and teachings, and
endorsed the council decision to hold mass in the vernacular. This
tidal wave of change increased "Priory of Sion" activity. When
internal critics of the church reforms spoke out in open rebellion,
the "Priory of Sion" claimed them as its members. It specifically
alleged as one of its own a prominent critic of Vatican reform and
an advocate for a return to the church governance of the past that
resembled the vision of the Hiéron, Archbishop Marcel Lefevbre.
Lefebvre, who had a political predisposition to vocally supporting
repressive dictatorships, urged a return to the Tridentine (Latin)
mass and an end to Vatican council reforms. He soon formed his own
seminary and ordained his own priests, in violation of Vatican
rules. Lefebvre christened his opposition organization the Sacred
Society of Pius X (SSPX) in honor of the turn of the century Pope
who condemned Modernism and instituted the Soldatum Pienum. For
Lefevbre, this was the model for the Church. His stance agreed with
the end-times scenario the Hiéron adherents saw rapidly approaching.
Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Plantard and his "Priory" rode a
wave of publicity from inaccurate and fanciful books about the
Rennes-le-Chateau affair, which would become the basis for The DaVinci Code. The "Priory" continued to wave as its banner the
themes of the Hiéron du Val d’Or: the "Priory" as the ultimate
authoritative esoteric body representing a universal tradition that
spans western history; and the Grand Monarch, a coming of the Christ
embodied in their fantasy of the bloodline descended from Jesus. As
researchers Bernardo Sanchez da Motta and Peter O’Reilly
have shown, Hiéron du Val d’Or originated documents and symbols
reappeared on documents used to allege a pedigree and a secret
heritage for the "Priory of Sion" hoax.
(15) That hoax would be treated as fact by the
author of The DaVinci Code and its falsehoods perpetuated in
Plantard supposedly resigned from the "Priory of Sion" in 1984, but
in 1989 reappeared to revive it. The reason for this attempted
return was because an important French astrologer claimed 1989 would
be a key year for world political events. That made urgent the need
to position Hiéron ideals for the year 2000, a year the Hiéron saw
as the worldly return of Christ, the monarchy, and Church hegemony.
Instead 2000 was a year when Pierre Plantard would pass away, he and
his "Priory of Sion" having been exposed in 1989 by a French judge
as a fraud. Yet with the passing of Plantard, still others have
stepped forward to attempt to carry on the myth of the "Priory of Sion". But why would they continue this fiction?
The purpose of the "Priory of Sion" begins in an adherence to the
original fanatical, self-deluding precepts set forward by the Hiéron
du Val d’Or. Most specifically, the mission of the "Priory" is to
crush Freemasonry and esoteric groups by replacing them with an
Ultra-Traditionalist version. To aid that process, they have
created, in occultist Anne Osmont’s description of Monti’s goal, an
"illusory society." Its purpose is to superimpose over Masonry and
esoteric orders an allegedly esoteric super-society via a fabricated
ancient lineage and claims to spiritual primacy or "authority."
In the minds of those who to this day
adhere to the programs of the Hiéron du Val d’Or, this will bring
Masonic and esoteric groups under control of the Catholic Church,
paving the way for the Hiéron fantasy of the return of Christ as a
worldly ruler rushing in a restoration of Catholic Traditionalism,
monarchy, and Vatican power. Working to create the realization of
this fantasy is the secret purpose of the "Priory of Sion" and the
reason for its existence.
But this secret bears in it a tragedy of multiple meaning. For over
a hundred years, Masonry and Judaism have endured attacks and
terrible distortions of the truth by Hiéron deluded fanatics. Now,
because the immensely successful novel
The DaVinci Code presents as
fact a "Priory of Sion" which propagates the mad dreams of the
Hiéron du Val d’Or, a wide public has been exposed to a twisted
version of esoteric ideas that many may mistake for reality. Instead
of leading people to Christian ideals, the "Priory of Sion" has led
The end result will be as Anne Osmont
wrote of Monti’s group "to destroy all which is dear and precious"
to staunch Catholics and esotericists alike. The lesson from the
"Priory of Sion" secret is an ancient one. It is in having the
integrity to find and follow one’s own beliefs. For if we allow
fanatical minds like those behind a Hiéron du Val d’Or or a "Priory
of Sion" to define for us the form and meaning of our beliefs, then
we quickly become captive to the twisted terrain created by those
(1) Michael Baigent, Richard
Leigh, Henry Lincoln. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Delacorte Press.
New York. 1982, p.148.
(2) Malachi Martin, The Jesuits. The Linden Press/Simon &
Schuster. New York. 1987, p. 218. Also see p.209.
(3) Baigent et. al. Holy Blood, Holy Grail, p. 196,
quoting an article in Priory publication Circuit.
(4) Baigent et. al. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. p. 172,
quoting Jean-Luc Chaumeil, Le Trésor du triangle d’or. Paris.
1979, p. 139 ff.
(5) Pier Luigi Zoccatelli. "Notes on an unpublished
correspondence between René Guénon and Louis Charbonneau-Lassay"
A paper presented at CENSUR 99 conference, Bryn Athyn,
Pennsylvania, 1999. p.3.
(6) May 9, 1941 police report.
(7) Ibid. Also see February 8, 1941 police report.
(8) February 13, 1945 police report.
(10) January 3, 1943 police report.
(11) June 6, 1946 and May 9, 1941 police reports.
(12) Robert Amadou, "The Place of Chilvary" Vaincre.
October 21,1942. It
references the work of Paul Le Cour.
(13) Pierre de France-Plantard. "27 December 1942"
Vaincre. January 21, 1943.
(15) Peter O’Reilly. "More on Paul Le Cour, The Hiéron
and the Priory" The Rennes Observer. June 2001, pp.18-20.
Bernardo Sanchez da Motta, "Pilhagem a Paul Lecour"