OK, so we’re in crazy Holy Bloodline mode for the next week or so as America Unearthed resurrects the Da Vinci Code and Scott Wolter and Steve St. Clair imagine themselves the heroes of a fast-paced thriller. To that end, Steve St. Clair has offered his analysis of a 1531 sculpture of the Holy Sepulcher at the Abbey of St. Remi in France, the same sculpture Scott Wolter asserts represents a pregnant Mary Magdalene wailing at the tomb of Jesus.
The statue, with its eight figures, was never thought to depict Mary Magdalene until the Holy Blood, Holy Grail nonsense began. Traditionally, the three women in the statue are said to depict the Virgin Mary, Salome, and Mary, the mother of James the Less. However, since the relevant biblical passages (Mark 15:47, 16:1; Luke 24:10; John 19:25; etc.) also mention Mary Magdalene, it could be argued that the woman was meant to be the Magdalene. What is interesting, though, is that the woman with upraised hands was never described as pregnant or even fat before the Holy Blood, Holy Grail nonsense began.
Here’s a fun fact: In discussing this, Steve St. Clair managed to demonstrate that he (a) does not read French, and (b) consequently missed the major facts that are revealed by simply reading the plaque near the sculpture.
I bring this up because over on his website, St. Clair makes a big deal out of the plaque and then proceeds to mistranslate it (I confirmed that he used Google Translate, which provides the exact wording he uses in his “translation”), thereby allowing him to make the following error: “I have read that the statue of the pregnant Mary came from the church of the former commander of the Grosse Tour, the headquarters of the European Templars, demolished in 1808. There are, however, no sources I can find for this claim.” There’s a good reason for that.
So let’s start at the beginning. Here is how St. Clair Googled the plaque’s translation:
This sepulcher made in 1531 and transferred the temple here in 1803 has been given to the Church of St Remi By Mr. L' emoine-Doriot which adorns the chapel in 1814.
Obviously, that isn’t right. So, let’s check the French text and offer the correct translation:
Ce sépulcre fait en 1531 et transféré du Temple ici en 1803 a été donne à l’eglise de St. Remi par Monsieur Lemoine-Doriot qui a orné cette chapelle en 1814.
So, what does an accurate translation tell us? First, the sculpture was moved into position by a known individual, M. Lemoine-Doriot, who as it happens was one of the benefactors who funded the renovations of St. Remi in 1813 and 1814. But more importantly, we can see that the sculpture was transferred from the “Temple.” It was not itself a temple, as St. Clair’s translation would have it. Now why is this? Well, the “Temple” in question refers to the church of the Commandery of the Temple of Reims—logical enough since the Abbey of St. Remi is in Reims. This building is in fact a former Templar structure, but it is not the Grosse Tour, the Great Tower, located in Paris in the enclos du Temple, a fortress that passed into French royal hands after 1307 and served as the royal prison down to the Revolution. Napoleon ordered its demolition in 1808 to stop royalist pilgrimages to it. The church of the Commandery at Reims was the Church of La Trinité, built in the early eleventh century and bestowed on the Templars by Archbishop Henry of Reims in 1170, after the Templars had had de facto control for a few years. The Templars used the church and its adjoining lands to make money, but they were not the first owners of the church, nor the last. The church is famous for its Obituary of the Temple of Reims, a necrology begun before the Templar period but maintained under them down to 1307.
At any rate, the old Templar church was not in Templar hands in 1531, obviously enough, though it was still known as the Temple in their honor down to the Napoleonic era.
St. Clair didn’t do the research, so he misses facts that would have supported his own claims better than the speculation he ropes in instead. He finishes his blog post by asserting that the Science Channel’s Biblical Conspiracies show made a compelling case that the possibility that Michelangelo planned to place a cherub (actually, a putto) on the Pieta proves that the sculptor meant the statue to depict Jesus and Mary Magdalene, with the putto representing the pagan Cupid, symbolizing their eternal love. However, when Michelangelo worked, the putto was not a Classical heresy, as St. Clair writes, but a Christianized symbol made safe for holy art by Donatello. Michelangelo included putti in several pieces, including the Sistine Chapel, where the Pope somehow failed to throw a hissy fit about how it was destroying the Catholic Church.
On the strength of this “evidence” St. Clair splits the differences and doesn’t actually come to a conclusion, despite presenting only positive evidence for a Holy Bloodline in his post:
That still doesn’t prove a bloodline of Jesus and Mary Magdalene existed and it doesn’t prove that the Saint-Clair family were involved. But it suggests this idea of a bloodline was alive and well before either the Masons or Michael Baigent came along.
It really doesn’t. The “Bloodline” symbolism only exists through selective evidence, cherry-picking, and reading modern interpretations into gaps in history.
Oh, but over on his blog, Scott Wolter all but declares* Steve St. Clair the True Heir of Jesus. Now that is living the Code. It looks like Kathleen McGowan has competition!
* Note: Just to clarify, this is intentional hyperbole. Wolter only implies that he believes St. Clair to be a descendant of Jesus in a caption to a photo of St. Clair seated beneath a statue of Christ.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.