New magazine about Rennes-le-Château - was the "discovery of a tomb" that of the tomb of Jean Bigou?
A brand new magazine - the brainchild of Patrick Mensior - which is published jointly by ARTBS (Yves Lignon), APARC (Paul Rouelle), ODS (Philippe Marlin), Pégase (Michel Vallet), Association Rennes-le-Chateau.doc (Patrick Mensior) and Association Légendes d'Oc (Stéphanie Buttegeg) has arrived. Patrick Mensior - in my humble opinion - is an excellent researcher and always turns up little snippets of important information. Paul Saussez, another excellent researcher - wrote an article for the magazine. Paul had this to say about Patrick's article for the first issue:
"I wanted to revisit the article by Patrick "21 September - Granes letter - discovery of a tomb - evening rain".
First, bravo Patrick for the scoop, result of a patient search [through the] archives, where the Gabrielle Bigou testament reveals that Antoine Bigou was not the nephew of Jean Bigou, but his brother...
Further patient research, and Patrick gives us the will of this Jean Bigou, which expresses the wish that his 'body be buried at the door of the sanctuary said Rennes'.
The rest of the article however seems to me to be questionable: are we sure that Jean Bigou wished to be buried at the door of the Church? This seems to me incongruous.
Indeed, in the ecclesiastical vocabulary of the time (just read SAUNIÈRE about his Church), the 'Sanctuary' refers to what is more commonly called today the choir, this is to say what there is beyond the barrier of communion (formerly the chancel), where the high altar.
The "gate of the sanctuary" should designate this invisible separation between the chancel and the nave, at the base of the triumphal arch, and thus, Jean Bigou, Member of the secular clergy, more likely wished to be buried in the nave, just in front of the altar.
The "discovery of a tomb" seems to me therefore to be that of the tomb of Jean Bigou. SAUNIÈRE manoeuvres in the days that followed this discovery (dismissal of workers, visit to the bishopric, absence of several days, hiring of new workers from elsewhere, etc.) seem inconsistent with a 'discovery' enough little of importance, in sum".
Patrick followed this up with: " the word "sanctuary" which is used in the testament, ...accepts 2 definitions: 1) the sacred place which surrounds the altar; (2) the Church in General as a religious building. I of course asked the question about its meaning in the testament, and the door of the Church seemed the more
[appropriate]...because the priest Jean Bigou's desire is "to be buried at the door of the sanctuary of the said Rennes for being host to the foot by these PARISHIONERS and other in punishment of these sins...". So I thought it was ... the door of the Church to the altar. In addition, this same burial place was also desired by Gabrielle Bigou .... in his will without however wishing that his body be trodden under foot. The real question is to know if the remains of the body of the Abbé Jean Bigou were actually deposited in the Church after his burial in the cemetery. I think so because the priest who will take his [place] is not an unknown but Antoine Bigou and I believe that he will have respected the last wishes of his brother. Anyway, I remember that bones, including a skull, were discovered in the Church during the 1950s. It is therefore not impossible that the remains of several bodies have been buried under the paving over the centuries".
These exchanges took place on Paul's Facebook page.
It is so exciting to discover knew information. Oh how i wished i could speak fluent French, it must be such a buzz - researching in the archives - and uncovering tiny interesting snippets of information relating to all our favourite passions's - that of Rennes!
Welcome to the blog of Rhedesium
My name is Sandy Hamblett, inspired and passionate researcher of the mysteries at Rennes-les-Bains.