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Priory of Sion

    There is much speculation as to just what the '''''Prieuré de Sion''''' is. In its English translation it is usually rendered as '''Priory of Sion''' or even '''Priory of Zion''' It was an elusive protagonist in many works of both non-fiction and fiction and it had been characterized as anything from the most power behind the throne|covertly powerful secret society in Western history to a modern Rosicrucian-esque ludibrium It's generally believed that the Priory of Sion is in large part an elaborate hoax but there are those who insist that the association is real and has truly existed for centuries

    History

    Under Article IIIc of the original 1956 Statutes of the Priory of Sion the association was named after the nearby mountain called Sion by the French town of Annemasse It was devoted to opposing gentrification in the area through its journal Circuit The 1956 Priory had its headquarters in Pierre Plantard's house in Annemasse and was officially registered at the sub-prefecture in Saint-Julien-en-Genevoise on May 7th 1956 by André Bonhomme and Pierre Plantard It was dissolved sometime after October 1956 but intermittently revived by Plantard between 1962 and 1993 as an initiatory order and crypto-political vanguard party dedicated to the restoration of chivalry and monarchy in France to further his impostor royalty bid
    Between 1961 and 1984 Plantard contrived a mythical pedigree of the Priory of Sion claiming that it had been founded in Jerusalem during the First Crusade by Godfrey de Bouillon Research in the Rennes-le-Château mysteries led Michael Baigent Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln to the pseudohistorical Secret Files of Henri Lobineau compiled by "Philippe Toscan du Plantier" that became the source for their book Holy Blood Holy Grail in which they reported claims that:
    • with a list of illustrious grand masters (see below) the Priory of Sion has a long history starting with the creation of the Knights Templar as its military and financial front;
    • it had a large role in partaking in and promoting the "underground river of esotericism" the Alph in Medieval Europe;
    • it is sworn to returning the Merovingian dynasty that ruled the Frankish kingdom from 447 to 751 CE to the thrones of Europe and Jerusalem; and
    • the order protects these royal claimants because they are the literal descendants of Jesus and his wife Mary Magdalene

    These authors furthered that the ultimate goals of the Priory of Sion are:
    • the founding of a "Holy European Empire" that would become the next hyperpower and usher in a new world order of peace and prosperity;
    • the supplantation of the Roman Catholic Church with an ecumenical messianic state religion by revealing the Holy Grail and lost Herodian Temple relics which would prove Ebionite views and Desposyni claims; and
    • the grooming and installing of the anointed king of a Greater Israel

    Baigent Leigh and Lincoln came to their own interpretation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion where they used the spelling "Sion" in the name:
    • The original version emanated from an irregular Masonic organization that used the name "Sion" but had nothing to do with an international Zionist conspiracy
    • The original version was not intended to be inflammatory or released publicly but was a program for gaining control of Freemasonry
    • The person responsible for changing the text in about 1903 was Sergei Nilus in the course of his attempt to gain influence in the Court of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia The presence of esoteric cliques in the royal court led to considerable intrigue Nilus' publication of the text resulted from his failure to succeed in wresting influence away from Papus and an otherwise unidentified "Monsieur Philippe"
    • Since Nilus did not recognize a number of references in the text that reflected a background in a Christian cultural context he did not change them This fact established that the original version could not possibly have come from the Judaic Congress in Basle in 1897

    Although these authors recognised that the history of the Protocols may be linked to the Priory's they did not go so far as suggest that it proved anything about its continued existence
    Accepting these hypotheses as facts some fringe Christian eschatologists viewed the Priory of Sion as a fulfillment of prophesies found in the Book of Revelation and further proof of an anti-Christian conspiracy of epic proportions
    However since modern historians do not accept Holy Blood Holy Grail as a serious contribution to scholarship all these claims are regarded as being part of an intriguing but dubious conspiracy theory French authors like Franck Marie (1978) Jean-Luc Chaumeil (1979 1984 1992) and Pierre Jarnac (1985 1988) have never taken Pierre Plantard and the Priory of Sion as seriously as Baigent Lincoln and Leigh always concluding that it was all a hoax in their respective books and outlining the reasons for their verdicts that these authors never reported comprehensively since their books were pro-conspiracy theory oriented
    In 1989 Pierre Plantard tried but failed to salvage his reputation and agenda by claiming that the Priory of Sion had actually been founded in 1681 at Rennes-le-Chateau In 1993 French judge Thierry Jean-Pierre's investigation determined that the Priory of Sion was a hoax rather than a P2-like organization He ordered Plantard to cease and desist all activities related to the promotion of this hoax
    Most recently due to Dan Brown's bestselling novel The Da Vinci Code there has been a new level of public interest in the Priory of Sion

    Alleged Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion

    1. Ugo de Blancheford (1150-1151)
    2. Bernard de Tremblay (1151-1153)
    3. Guillaume de Chanaleilles (1153-1154)
    4. Evrard de N? (1154-1154)
    5. Andrè de Montbard(1155-1156)
    6. Bertand de Blancheford (1156-1169)
    7. Philippe de Milly (1169-1170)
    8. Eudes de Saint-Amand (1170-1180)
    9. Arnaud de Toroge (1181-1184)
    10. Gérard de Rideford (1184-1188)
    11. Jean de Gisors (1188-1220)
    12. Marie de Saint-Clair (1220-1266)
    13. Guillaume de Gisors (1266-1307)
    14. Edouard de Bar (1307-1336)
    15. Jeanne de Bar (1336-1351)
    16. Jean de Saint-Clair (1351-1366)
    17. Blanche d'Evreux (1366-1398)
    18. Nicolas Flamel (1398-1418)
    19. Rene d'Anjou (1418-1480)
    20. Iolande de Bar (1480-1483)
    21. Sandro Filipepi AKA Botticelli (1483-1510)
    22. Leonardo da Vinci (1510-1519)
    23. Charles III (1519-1527)
    24. Ferdinand de Gonzague (1527-1556)
    25. Michel de Notre-Dame AKA Nostradamus(1556-1566)
    26. Duc de Longueville & Nicolas Froumenteau (1566-1575)
    27. Louis de Nevers (1575-1595)
    28. Robert Fludd (1595-1637)
    29. Johann Valentin Andrea (1637-1654)
    30. Robert Boyle (1654-1691)
    31. Isaac Newton (1691-1727)
    32. Charles Radclyffe (1727-1746)
    33. Charles de Lorraine (1746-1780)
    34. Maximillian de Lorraine (1780-1801)
    35. Charles Nodier (1801-1844)
    36. Victor Hugo (1844-1885)
    37. Claude Debussy (1885-1918)
    38. Jean Cocteau (1918-1963)
    39. Pierre Plantard (1963-1981)

    A second List of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion that included the names of Roger Patrice Pelat and Thomas Plantard appeared in 1989 — but it should not be confused with the above list that belonged to a version of the Priory of Sion that Plantard rejected When Plantard tried to make a comeback and a revival of the Priory of Sion in 1989 following his retirement in 1984 he claimed that the above list was bogus and a part of the "Secret Files" which by then had been exposed as a fraud by French researchers and authors

    Cryptic motto

    's Arcadian ShepherdsEt in Arcadia ego is supposedly the official motto of both the Plantard family and the Priory of Sion according to a claim that first appeared in 1964 Et in Arcadia ego is a Latin phrase that most famously appears as a tomb inscription on the ca 1630 classical painting The Arcadian Shepherds by French painter Nicolas Poussin It literally means "And I in Arcadia" However the addition of the ellipsis (which was not there in the Poussin painting) suggests a missing word Although it would not be needed in Latin grammar sum has been one suggested completion to mean: "And I am in Arcadia" Furthermore it has been theorized by Richard Andrews and Paul Schellenberger that the completed phrase Et in Arcadia ego sum is an anagram for Arcam Dei Tango Iesu which means "I touch the tomb of God – Jesus" The implication is that the tomb contains the ossuary of Jesus the central figure in Christian theology Regardless of the accuracy of this extraordinary claim it is not considered part of the official history of the painting by Poussin that contains the phrase which is well documented

    Cultural influences

    The Priory of Sion has had several influences on popular culture not all of them entirely accurate or serious:
    • The Priory portrayed as more of a Goddess mystery religion plays a large part in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code
    • The Priory was the template for the Grail order in the Preacher comic book series and more loosely the Millennium Group in the Millennium television series

    External links and references