'Généalogie des rois Mérovingiens et diverses familles Françaises et étrangères de souche Mérovingiens, d'après L'Abbé Pichon, le Docteur Hervé et les parchemins de L'Abbé Saunière de Rennes-le-Château, Aude' ("Geneva, 1956")
THE ENIGMA OF RHEDAE
One day in February 1892 the young Abbé HOFFET received a strange visitor: Abbé Saunière, Curé of Rennes-le-Château since 1885, had come to ask this young but erudite linguist to translate some mysterious parchments that had been found in pillars of the Visigothic master-altar of his church. These documents, which bore the royal seal of Blanche de Castille, revealed the secret of Rhedae, together with the lineage of DAGOBERT II, as Abbé PICHON had succeeded in reconstructing it between 1805 and 1814 using documents found during the Revolution. Abbé HOFFET, who understood the importance of the documents, made and kept a copy of them, but did not tell Abbé SAUNIERE the exact truth. SAUNIERE, who by now was on his guard, consulted certain other linguists, to whom he only gave only fragments of the documents.
During this period Abbé HOFFET was able to reconstruct, thanks to the valuable information he had been given, a very full genealogy of the descendants of DAGOBERT II, 'the saint' assassinated by PEPIN the Fat. This was DAGOBERT II, King 'Ursus' (the Bear), whose ancestors were the kings of Arcadia. Was the fact that the kings of Arcadia came from Bethany near the Mount of Olives and were descended from the tribe of BENJAMIN the reason for denying the existence of DAGOBERT II? No, not entirely, for during his assassination by the family of the PEPINS, who had coveted the kingdom for several generations, DAGOBERT II had hidden a substantial treasure at Rhedae, the homeland of his second wife, the mother of his son SIGEBERT IV, the future Comte de Razès, and the existence of this treasure was a more important reason for this denial.
However, neither the Queen, BLANCHE de Castille, nor LOUIS IX 'the saint', even in the year 1251, dared to touch this sacred treasure, the legend surrounding which threatened with destruction the person who appropriated it without having the right to so, be he Pope or king. 'In the great century (i.e. the 17th century) - said one of the parchments - his descendant will return to reclaim the inheritance of the great Ursus'.
This is the legend in which the Gospel is used to curse in the parchments the malefactor who dares to steal a part of this treasure, but one parchment also retraces the history of an epoch regarding which we knew almost nothing. Abbé SAUNIERE was summoned to the Papal Court in Rome but refused to explain himself. He was accordingly suspended from office and died in mysterious circumstances on 22 January 1917. His servant and heiress Marie DENARNAUD, who died in January 1953, ended her life in seclusion. Without Abbé HOFFET no one would have known the strange history of a family whose origins are lost in the mists of time.