Serres Church near Rennes-le-Chateau
These two red crosses appear on the arched ceiling in the church.
The Two joined red crosses from Serres Church
In the banner on the top of the left hand cross are the letters - INRI.
INRI is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM, which translates to English as: "Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews". It appears in the New Testament of the Christian Bible in the Gospels of Matthew (27:37), Mark (15:26); Luke (23:38), and John (19:19).
Many crucifixes and other depictions of the crucifixion include a stylised plaque or parchment, called a titulus or title, bearing the letters INRI, occasionally carved directly into the cross, and usually just above the figure of Jesus.
In the Gospel of John (19:19–20) the inscription is explained:
And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (King James Version)
Serres Church Dark Mural
Serres Church Dark Mural
This mural has suffered badly over the years the heads have completely gone. Whether the heads have been removed on purpose or naturally is not known. There seems to be three figures but the middle one is so indistinct it may not be a figure. The figure on the left seems to be holding a book . The figure on the right has a halo around its head so is probably a saint or Jesus. This saintly figure holds out his hand clasping a book or some documents. (see close-up image below)
The hands holding the book or document
Close up of the outstretched hand holding a book or documents and the book or documents held by the right-hand figure. Maybe this image portrays the saintly figure receiving the documents or is handing them over for safe keeping to someone else?
Serres Church Light Mural
Serres Church Light Mural
The Light mural depicts two figures, both with halos. The left figure seems to be holding the same book or documents seen in the dark mural. The figure on the right could be Jesus, by the beard and long hair, a normal representation of how he is painted. Could these paintings be telling a story about some valuable secret documents being passed down from one person to another. If so, what could these documents be and where are they now? There is an unconfirmed story that Marie Hautpoul's family was entrusted with certain Knights Templar documents. On her deathbed it is said she handed them to her priest, Bigou for safe keeping. If this event is true, then it is possible if Abbé Saunière did find some parchments, they might have been these Templar documents.
Out of all the colours used in these wall paintings the red has remained the most visible today as can be seen in the image above.
Close-up of the 'Secret Documents.'
Maybe the right-hand figure in the dark mural is passing on different documents to different people for safe guarding, this would explain that large amount he is holding. Perhaps they are secret gospels banned by the church.
The Serres Church seems to be an old Templar church and if so the idea of the wall paintings hiding a' secret' become more believable. Saunière must have visited this church and seen the murals in better condition than we see them today. Maybe with what he had found during his Rennes-le-Chateau church renovations, he realised the significance of the paintings and the secret information they contained. Perhaps this is even where he got the idea to hide his 'secret' in the decorations of his Mary Magdalene church.
Knights Templar Crosses that run around the walls of the Serres Church.
When I visited the Serres Church a few years ago, it was in the process of being redecorated. White paint had been applied to most of the walls but not yet over the murals shown elsewhere on this page. The red paint is bleeding through the white leaving ghostly images of what lies hidden beneath. As you can see from the image above smaller murals or designs have been painted over and now lost forever. When I visited Serres Church in 2011, the red crosses had been completed painted over, though their raised shape can still be seen through the layers of white paint.
- Rose Marble plinth in Serres Church
Fixed into the floor of the Serres Church is this Rose Marble plinth. In each corner and the centre is a cross. In the top right corner extra symbols have been added and could be an 'A' or 'H' or II and an 'O'. I have no idea what they mean. perhaps the bones of someone lay under this plinth. The lady who kindly let us into the church had no idea why it was here. I also asked if the church had a crypt but she did not know. Churches of this age normally had a crypt but there is no sign of any entrance in or around the church. If it was set into the altar, a piece of bone from a saint would be underneath.
Related Article Links
Related Article Publications