Interview with Gino Sandri

Interview with Gino Sandri, who is presented as Plantard’s Secretary in the Priory of Sion during the early 1980s. Since then Sandri appears to have re-invented the Priory history. Sandri’s replies often create more questions than answers and must be treated with caution. The following is an unedited English translation of the original French.


Jean-Patrick Pourtal (JPP) :M. Sandri, how long have you been a member of the Priory of Sion, and how did you become inducted?

Gino Sandri (GS) :I was received there in 1977, introduced by Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair.

JPP :What were the objectives of M. Plantard for the Priory of Sion when he directed it?

GS :The basis is constant and unchangeable, bound to the primordial tradition, however, the outside shapes can vary. SION, in this case, means branch or origin. It belongs to those that received the burden to direct it and to act in its best interests considering the contingencies of the moment. It is necessary to specify also that, if the Order often counted within it influential characters who make the CIRCUIT ideal for some interests, their objectives are not political nor financial

JPP :Mr. Plantard was the documentalist of M. De Sède for several works of this author. How did this collaboration come about ?

GS : Toward 1960, on the occasion of the business of Gisors, Gérard De Sède, who met Roger Lhomoy casually, published an article in a weekly that was a resounding success. Hence he entered into contact with Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair. This first meeting at Aulnay-under-wood, 116, Avenue Pierre Jouhet, will be followed by others.
Gérard De Sède received then a file that provided the material for his two books: "The Templars are among us "and" The gold of Rennes ". Gérard of Sède finishes the writing of his second book and goes to Aude, what gives him the opportunity to take contacts. In particular, he makes the acquaintance of René Descadeillas who also publishes him a work on Rennes-Le-Château. I specify that his second book was in collaboration with Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair several years later.

JPP :Thereafter, M. Plantard has been very involved in the work of the authors of "The Holly Blood and the Holy Grail". His collaboration was to lead these authors to orientate their work around the history of the Priory of Sion. The objective was it to unveil the Priory of Sion to the general public, and if yes for what goal?

GS :Generally, the Priory of Sion doesn't aim at the general public but it is necessary to act at various times in subtle ways. There is alternation of periods when the Priory of Sion is morte public and others where one speaks to less of them.
To answer your question precisely, in 1955, Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair, facing a tense situation, decided to divert attention while bringing up what we sometimes called a poisoning according to a minutely elaborate plan. I can mention you an anecdote. In 1977, whereas we put the finishing touches to the work entitled: "The treasure of the gold Triangle ", I conversed with him of the booklets distributed under various pseudonyms (Lobineau, Blancassal...) and assigned to the Alpina. Confiding my feelings to him, he answered me tit for tat: "It is precisely it, you understand, in 1956, one tried to attack me, then I riposted while throwing the business of Rennes-Le-Château!" It is necessary to say that everybody found its account, including Mr. Corbu that there created a hotel with a restaurant, there.

JPP :A big part of the works of Gérard De Sèdes and the English authors was based on the copies of the parchments that Saunière would have found in Rennes-Le-Château. However we know that these parchments have been achieved by M. De Cherisey. Why this track has it summer thrown in pasture to the different authors of Rennes-Le-Château?

GS :Abbe Saunière discovered some parchments in the church Saint Madeleine of Rennes-Le-Château, their content is different from those papers published here and there. The plot of the novel of Gérard De Sède is astute. All begins in 1888 by the discovery of mysterious parchments encoded and it is the decryption whose key is engraved on a tomb that gives access to the treasure. As for the famous published documents and analyzed by Gérard De Sède (and by others...), they appear in the context that I have just exposed briefly. They were not destined to be seen by the general public, nor were the famous booklets. These papers acted as support to an exchange of coded messages between co-operating networks, or even in competition. They are not concerned with a treasure of any nature. However elsewhere, the authentic texts are engraved in the stone.

JPP :M. De Cherisey and M. Plantard were long time friends. Was the writing of the parchments a pure product of their imaginations or were they inspired by existing documents. ?

GS :Forgive me to repeat me, the writing of these parchments answered a precise goal at the time. There again, it was about diverting the attention in order to protect other documents. As you know it, from 1956, a set of publications distributed under various pseudonyms is circulated. We are in presence of a real campaign that aims a character or a society that act in the domain of the occult. This exchange only concerns a restricted circle. Forty years later, these documents became without interest except that historic. It is at the very least amusing to realise that a "laboratory" installed at the time to Rennes-Le-Château produces quantity of documents of identical form as well as papers or correspondence assigned to abbot Boudet or abbot Bigou. These writings are the subject of a juicy trade then and has continued. Unfortunately, authors implied in the history of Rennes are victims of this swindle in which the Priory of Sion doesn't have any part and don't pull any profit of it.

JPP :During a long time M. Plantard sustained the fact that he was the descendant of the last Mérovingienses. Why, thereafter, he has sustained the opposite?

GS : This is a key that can illuminate a lot of points. This history is not to be taken literally but it attracted Gérard De Sède, spellbound by the myth of a secret nobility, the base of his novel" The fabulous race" on this theme and on the myth of the hidden king. He took the opportunity to reveal a mysterious "marquis of B" from whom he received certain confidences. The game expands since this marquis of B maintained a correspondence with innumerable "researchers" using a formal letter decorated with an unknown blazon! Who is this enigmatic aristocrat who has multiple contacts in the Razès
Our investigation established that a tie existed between this "marquis De B" and the author of the booklet titled: "A treasure mérovingien at Rennes-le-Chateau ". This last, of Belgian nationality, had the custom, at the time of his Parisian stays, to stay, under the pseudo of Antoine L'Hermitte, at the hotel Du Mont d'Or, 19 Rue du Mont d'Or, Paris 17th. He deposited his publication in the National Library, publication number 8 Lj 9 9537.
Another publication was a reference for Gérard De Sède": The secret files of Henri Lobineau" by Philippe Toscan Du Plantier. According to Gérard De Sède, this name is unknown to this address and Philippe Toscan Du Plantier lives in Bodrun in Turkey.
April 11, 1967, the brigade of the narcotics stops this young professor of philosophy for detention of LSD in the domicile of his friend Anne-Marie Rossi, 17 Quai de Montebello in Paris. The police were well informed! An honest man, Philippe Toscan Du Plantier didn't denounce "his" supplier. The big dailies of the time gave an account of this news item. Gérard De Sède was a faithful reader of these big Parisian newspapers and he could not ignore this news item!
A half-century ago, lived a curious character who made itself call Henri Lobineau or "Comte De Lénoncourt ". One could meet him in Paris, where he lived, in Gisors or in Rennes-le-Chateaue where he had established “the general district of a strange pharmacy”. This discreet character had become famous during World War II. He operated in occupied France and in Switzerland for Lord Selborne, responsible for the SOE. The war finished, he leads multiple and discreet activities, looking for the treasures, negotiating old currencies. He was in contact with Leo Schidlof, antiquarian and historian of the resident art in Vienna. Leo Schidlof is the author of the catalogue of a big exhibition of the old miniatures in Geneva, in 1956.  Mr. N says Henri Lobineau frequented a Parisian engineer inhabitant Foch avenue. Besides, this same year, the superb apartment of the Avenue Foch is destroyed by a fire. There won't be an investigation. This year 1967 is rich in news. It is necessary to speak of Fakar Ul Islam found dead in the station of Melun following an inauspicious fall from the night train Paris-Geneva.
Again a news item if you are it willing. This same year an opuscule "The Serpent Rouge", is the subject of the legal deposit. However, the three mentioned authors committed suicide almost simultaneously. Some authors were evidently a little overwrought to affirm that Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair and the Priory of Sion murdered three people by hanging!
The main content of these small opuscules is certainly fantastic but there is a kernel of truth. Then, a last coincidence: in this year 1967, several cardboards of archives of the Priory of Sion are stolen, at the time of a burglary, in the apartment of Philippe De Chérisey, situated 37, Rue Saint-Lazare in Paris. Is there a report between all these facts? Five years later a jobless journalist (and one-time blackmailer) will tempt to sell these papers to the more bidder!

JPP : In 2000, Mr. Plantard dies. In June of this year, I was contacted directly rather by his son, by e-mail that announces his father's death to me, intervening some days. However after verification, I discover that the death of M. Plantard occurred February 3, 2000. Why such an attempt of manipulation around the death of the Great master. of the Priory of Sion ?

GS :These last years, the Priory of Sion in general Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair should have faced a tense situation in particular. We knew an upsurge of draw, of anonymous tracts, threats and pressures of all orders, but it is not the most serious. Pierre Plantard De Saint-Clair doesn't wish to finish like Péladan or Georges Monti victims of a poisoning. A strategy has been elaborated and arrangements have been taken. I won't tell more of them.

JPP : Let's come back to the Priory of Sion. What is the significance of Rennes-Le-Château for the Priory of Sion ?

GS :Other places exist according to the times. Why one speaks never of Millau, of Annemasse of Montrevel or Brazil. All this fits in the space and the time. With regard to Rennes-Le-Château, the Priory of Sion establishes its seat there in 1681. The Compagnie du Saint-sacrament, founded by Henri DeLévis, is dissolved in 1665. However, some adepts continued to remain in the region, adepts who then join the Priory of Sion.
Amongst these we find Jean-Timoléon De Négri d'Ables of assisted of Blaise De Hautpoul. Also raise the names of abbots André-Hercule De Fleury and Jean-Pierre Cabanié. New arrangements are taken September 19, 1730 by François De Hautpoul and Jean-Paul De Nègre himself bound to a survival of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrement.
If we come back to the archives of the Priory of Sion these are deposits of various natures of the documents or objects of which some are very old, some I think about engraved stones. The situation is very complex. During the French revolution, 1789 and 1792, "documents" are secretly deposited in order to keep the precious files and the authentic acts safe from the vandals. Most have survived. With regard to the Priory of Son, some of these acts have been confided to Maximilian De Lorraine, archbishop of Cologne. In the beginning of the XIXème century, some pieces remain between the hands of the Hapsburg who, some decades later, establish contacts with abbes Boudet and Saunières. Why? It is question of exchanges of documents.
Another deposit is constituted to the castle Du Lys close to Lille. In 1938, Gabriel Trarieux D'Egmont is invited there by the Comte De Saint-Hilier, great-uncle of Philippe De Chérisey. Prior to the expected war, the archives, confided to Gabriel Trarieux D'Egmont, are removed to Monte Carlo.
Let's speak of a similar affair. At the end of the French revolution, the Priory of Sion tempts to regain some of these secret actes from Angélique Lenoir. She pretends to have burnt all papers then under Terror. This is wrong because we know that she confided a part of it to the Comte D'Antraigues.
Why these precautions? What was the secret of Angelique Lenoir? Why does she pretend to have destroyed all papers, titles and handwritten that she received? André Chénier and abbe De lille speak of documents of the Temple. But ... what Temple?  The Order of the Temple or the secret of the Temple in Paris? Only this last could have the interest of the Hapsburg.
Angelique Lenoir was married to Jean-Marie Alexandre De Hautpoul. In 1799, so-called Elisabeth De hautpoul Miss Rennes receives its family in the castle of Montferrand near Rennes les Bains. Notably the General Hautpoul is present. The aim of this meeting was to confide the documents of Angélique Lenoir to the last lady of Rennes. This one (?) dies in Paris May 20, 1820.
The royalists didn't hesitate to believe that the parchments of Angélique Lenoir touched the enigma of the survival of Louis XVII. To date, no one has recovered the documents of Angélique Lenoir, even less... in Rennes !

JPP : There were some relations between Bérenger Saunière and the Priory of Sion ?

GS :What do you mean by relations? If you ask me if he belonged to the Priory, the answer is no. Bérenger Saunière was in the place and he was used and was manipulated by different networks to look for some deposits. I can assure you that the searches of the abbot Saunière for treasure, is of no interest. For my part, I never dug any holes in the region and don't plan to make any !

JPP :It is apparent that Rennes-Le-Château attracts many groupings. Of numerous "Secret" Societies, "Discreet" seem to be passionately fond for this place. That thinks the Priory of Sion of it and he is also present in these places ?

GS : The Priory of Sion is some delighted. It entertains them. The more madmen, the more one has fun. As Pierre Plantard De Saint Clair says it with his customary humor, all is being played out according to the foreseen plan, forty years ago! Still on the humorous fashion, I believe that there is a Priory of Sion well in activity in Rennes or maybe several, but it is about the counterfeitings that we identified. To your opinion, why one doesn't speak of places just as important ?

JPP :Is the Priory of Sion bound to Freemasonry?

GS : The question often comes back. I’ll try to dissipate confusion. I know that some see the Priory of Sion like a masonic obedience or more precisely a structure of high ranks. It is not. It is a system of representation that is familiar to them but that doesn't have any rapport with the reality. From where does this confusion come? I already evoked the opuscules deposited in the National Library mentioning the Grand Swiss Lodge Alpina. In what goal? But, some masonic structures were either set up or directed by the Priory of Sion to act as an outer circle or relay as in Lyons in 1828 with the ritual of Memphis. Later, these structures are left to their own destiny. Finally, some Freemasons were involved with the Priory of Sion. I think about doctor Savoire or Georges Monti, very bound to the Duke of Conaught, Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England but, freemasonry was not their priority

JPP : Can you describe to us and explain the present structure of the Priory of Sion ?

GS :Several circles, at least two, exist traditionally three to be exact, what sometimes gives the impression that several structures exist, one being traced him of the other.

JPP :In this end of year 2003, the Priory of Sion of 2003 seems very different from the one that directed M. Plantard. Can speak yourselves us of the its objectives ?

GS : It is evidently an impression and I gave you the explanation previously of it. There is not any difference, no rupture and be persuaded that the influence of Pierre Plantard is well real. As for its objectives, they are not political nor financial, though some members are connected to these worlds. The commercial world doesn't have its place there. The world of the arts and letters occupies a major place there always.

JPP : For a lot of people, the Priory of Sion seems inexistent. Do you recruit ? And what are the necessary qualities to enter to the Priory of Sion ?

GS :One doesn't apply for. One is chosen carefully after have been studied for a long time and tried in particular, the moral integrity is essential. One doesn't attach any value to the titles and to the diplomas. Generally, impetrating it is a noble and pure heart belonging to no structure. Péladan organized the lounges of the Rose-cross, Georges Monti was an artist-painter; the setting in circulation of work of art is a signal of recognition intended to unite the individuals having an identical sensitivity.

JPP :A latest question: What is the tie between the discreet Priory of Sion that we have just evoked whole and the association created in Annemasse in 1956 ?

GS : The association created in Annemasse answered in its time, in this place, to a precise goal. It was also, if you prefer, a sort of outside circle. A similar function was devolved to the order of the alpha-Gallates created in 1934 in Paris. We could also evoke other creations...