Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Priory of Sion

The Prieuré de Sion, usually rendered in English translation as Priory of Sion or Priory of Zion, has, since the 1970s, been an elusive protagonist in many works of non-fiction and fiction. It has been characterized as anything from the most influential secret society in Western history to a modern Rosicrucian-esque ludibrium (Latin origin meaning "a plaything" or "a trivial game"), but has ultimately been considered a hoax. Most of the evidence presented in support of claims pertaining to its historical existence, let alone significance, has not been considered authentic or persuasive by established historians, academics and universities. There was a very small medieval monastic order known as the Priory of Sion, but it and all its assets were absorbed by the Jesuits in 1617.


The Plantard Plot

The Priory of Sion is an association that was founded in 1956, in the French town of Annemasse. As with all associations, French law required the association to be registered with the government. This took place at the Sous-Prefecture of Saint Julien-en-Genevois, in May 1956, and its registration was noted on 20 July 1956 in the Journal Officiel de la République Française. The founders and signatories are inscribed as Pierre Plantard (known as "Chyren"), André Bonhomme (known as "Stanis Bellas"), Jean Delaval and Armand Defago. The purpose of the association according to its Statutes deposited at St Julien was entered as, "études et entraide des membres" ("education and mutual aid of the members"). In practice, the originator of the association and its key protagonist was most probably Pierre Plantard, its General Secretary, although its nominal head ("President") was André Bonhomme.


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