Calvaire

Calvaire, Rennes-le-ChâteauCalvaire, Rennes-le-Château, detail   Commemorative plaque of Billard's inauguration of the new gardens

 

In 1897 Saunière finished the works on the church gardens. On the 6th of June the gardens were inaugurated by Monseigneur Billard, the Bishop of Carcasonne on a visit to Rennes-le-Château. The commemorative plaque can still be seen on the Calvaire today.

Calvaire in Saunière's timeThe stone piedestal and the large cross form the centerpiece of the gardens. The exact placement of the Calvaire must have been very important to Sauniere for he had it erected and broken down again twice at a considerable cost before hewas satisfied with the result.

The Dalle des Chevaliers (the Knight’s Stone) that he had discovered lying upside down in his church was used as a stepping stone for the stairs of the Calvaire. He must not have realised what the historic importance was of the stone and it was already greatly worn out when it was re-discovered and salvaged by a local in 1926. An inscription at the top of the piedestal reads:

CHRISTUS AB OMNI MALO PLEBEM SUAM DEFENDIT,
which is a well-known phrase meaning: ‘May Christ protect his people from all evil.

In Cruce VitaAround the piedestal the inscriptions read: IN CRUCE VITA, IN CRUCE SALUS, AIMONS, SALUONS, RESPECTONS NOTRE CROIX.

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