Mary Alice Bennett
Texte original en Anglais :
The Sauniere Mysteries : The Priest Exonerated
The ritual murder at the beginning of “The Da Vinci Code” was based on a similar case
that occurred near Rennes-le-Chateau in Coustaussa that has remained unsolved. The source of the funding behind the Rennes-le-Chateau mansion and other building projects is still a mystery as
well. Is there a connection between there two enigmas?
The brutality of the murder of Abbe Gelis on the night of Oct. 31, 1897 in Coustaussa is a clue to the identity of the perpatrator, it was the doing of the same
gang that caused the First World War. Abbe Gelis was said to have always been looking over his shoulder, he was a man who never left the door to his rectory unlocked. Perhaps he was aware of
a certain undercover visitor to the Languedoc who was being followed by an assassin. This illustrious personage was there to visit a fellow village priest who could be mistaken for Gelis
The Source of the Wealth
The first donation to Beranger Sauniere was from the Countess de Chambord, widow of the pretender to the throne of France, Henri V. She was interested in the preservation of the homeland of
the Hautpoul family and in the documents that were hidden there concerning the Merovingian genealogy of the Hautpoul lineage. When Sauniere discovered those parchments, his fortune began to
change for the better. When the Countess passed away, the funding continued thanks to her nephew, Johann Salvator of the House of Hapsburg who was known to have visited Rennes-le-Chateau in
1889 – 1890.
This royal descendant was fearful that a revolution similar to the recent revolution in France might topple his own family in Austria and for this reason he
distanced himself from the Hapsburgs, claiming to have disowned them. He changed his name more than once and eventually disappeared. He was declared dead in 1911.
It was this Hapsburg that opened accounts for himself and the priest Sauniere in the same bank. These funds paid for the construction of the mansion house and
other improvements to the church complex. Perhaps the mansion was actually built as a haven in case of an Austrian revolt. Beranger Sauniere and his housekeeper lived a lavish lifestyle and
entertained aristocrats at Rennes-le-Chateau. Was there a guest among them who was using a secret civilian identity to meet with friends while on the run?
When Sauniere died, among his correspondence were envelopes stamped with the address of a bank in Budapest. He had been receiving money and also mailing checks
out to another party in Hungary within the Hapsburg realm.
Johann Salvator had disowned his family lineage out of fear for his life. The assassination of the Hapsburg heir to the throne, Franz Ferdinand, in 1914 by a
Serbian gunman in Sarajevo triggered WWI. Franz Ferdinand was the heir to Emperor Franz Joseph I, relative of Johann Salvator. The shooting was not the act of a lone crazed killer, it was
part of a plot organized by a Serbian gang.
That same gang was apparently on the trail of the Hapsburg visitor to Rennes-le-Chateau and was aware that he was there to meet with a village priest in the
When questioned by authorities as to what he was doing in Rennes-le-Chateau, Salvator answered that he had become lost on his way to Spain from Italy. The local
government officials who were keeping an eye on Sauniere found Salvator`s presence to be suspicious.
The murderer of Abbe Gelis left a note at the scene of the crime which read “Viva Angelina!” Angelina is a Serbian saint with a shrine in Belgrade. It was a defiant declaration left behind at
the scene of the brutal killing of a Catholic priest whose body had been arranged in a pious pose.
For nearly a century there has been suspicion cast upon Sauniere due to this crime against his friend and fellow priest. Sauniere had nothing to do with it. It
was the work of the gang who shot the heir to the Austrian throne.
After the death of the Countess of Chambord, Salvator the Hapsburg continued to mysteriously fund the building projects of Abbe Sauniere. After Salvator faked
his own death, Sauniere returned the favor by channeling money to him when he was living incognito in Budapest through the bank accounts that had been set up years earlier. This was also the
source of the priest`s fortune which he used to beautify his parish.
The involvement of a Hapsburg at Rennes-le-Chateau was not such a strange situation, after all, the Hapsburgs were descendants of the Merovingians and their
ancestors had strong ties to the area.
Next time: “The Parish Priest, the Royal Storehouse, and the Secret Society”.
Mary Alice Bennett