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Montsaunès Templars Church

Esoteric Drawings

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A Templar commandry was set up in the village of Montsaunès, in what is now the department of Haute-Garonne of southwest France, in 1146 and its chapel - which is now the village's church and the only remaining building of the compound - was built in 1180.
The Templars' presence in Montsaunes lasted until 1312 when all the order's properties were transferred, by the order of King Philip le Bel of France, to Knights Hospitallers.
Event though it went through an extensive restoration in the 19th century the Montsaunès church, dedicated now to Saint-Christophe, keeps traces of its initial Romanesque architectural style.
The church is remarkable due to its entrances' sculptures as well as its interior esoteric murals.
The north entrance (now on the garden side) was initially making the passage to the rest of the buildings of the commandry. It is bordered on both sides by columns toped by exquisitely sculpted capitals describing events related with the Nativity and the childhood of Jesus Christ.
The western entrance - the main entrance - has also remarkable capitals. The left one represents the martyrdom of the Saints Pierre and Paul, one beheaded and the other crucified upside down. The right capital sculptures describe scene of the resurrection of Lazarus.
The archivolt above the entrance is surprisingly decorated with 52 carved human faces some grimacing, some screaming and one even with its tongue drawn - but these are the ones far from the center of the archivolt, their location symbolizing a life far from God. Also above the entrance a sculpted Chi-Ro sign carried by two angels.
But what intrigues the most are the interior dry painted esoteric decorations on the church's ceiling that represent geometrical shapes: squares, triangles, circles, stars most probably used in connection with numerology.

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Address:Montsaunès, Haute-Garonne
Web Site:
Visiting Hours:The church can be visited only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3pm to 5pm (one has to contact the townhall for the entrance key).


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