At the time of the "cutting of the elm" in 1188, the Ordre de Sion and the Order of the Temple (the Templars) were led by the same "grand master". After 1188, however, the Ordre de Sion, which became known as the Prieure de Sion established its own line of grand masters. These grand masters included such notables as Leonardo da Vinci (1510-1519), Robert Boyle (1654-1691), Isaac Newton (1691-1727), Victor Hugo (1844-1885), Claude Debussy (1885-1918), and Jean Cocteau (1918-?- 1956 to 1963).*
The first grand master was Jean de Gisors. Subsequently, every grand master, upon his assuming the position, has adopted the name Jean (John) -- or, since there were four women, Jeanne (Joan). Sion's grand masters are therefore alleged to have comprised a continuous succession of Jeans and Jeannes, from 1188 to the present. This succession was clearly intended to imply an esoteric and Hermetic papacy based on John, in contrast (and perhaps opposition) to the exoteric one based on Peter.
But which John? John the Baptist? John the Evangelist, the "Beloved Disciple" in the fourth Gospel? Or John the Divine, the author of the Book of Revelation? Whatever the answer, the last grand master that we have record of was Jean Cocteau, who appeared as grand master under the name Jean (John) XXIII, and was apparently grand master as late as 1959. This was also the year that Pope Pius XII died and the assembled cardinals elected as their new Pontiff Cardinal Angelo Roncalli of Venice -- who then caused considerable consternation by choosing the name John XXIII.
The name John had been implicitly anathematized since it was last used in the early fifteenth century by an Antipope! Moreover, there had already been a John XXIII -- the Antipope who abdicated in 1415. Thus the selection by Roncalli of the name Pope John XXIII was unusual to say the least, and raised many questions.
One answer was suggested in 1976 by a book called The Prophecies of Pope John XXIII. The book was allegedly a compilation of obscure prophetic prose written by the Pontiff. In addition, the book also maintained that Pope John XXIII was secretly a member of the Rose-Croix, (a subtitle for the Prieure de Sion) with whom he had become affiliated while acting as papal nuncio to Turkey in 1935. Furthermore, it was suggested that Cardinal Roncalli, on becoming Pope, had chosen the name of his own secret grand master -- so that, for some symbolic reason, there would be a John XXIII presiding over Sion and the papacy simultaneously.
Another striking coincidence is one occasioned by a twelfth century Irish monk named Malachai, who compiled a series of Nostradamus-like prophecies which enumerated the Pontiffs who would occupy the throne of Saint Peter in the centuries to come. For each Pontiff, Malachai offered a species of descriptive motto. In Pope John XXIII's case, the motto is "Shepherd and Navigator". "Navigator" is also the official title of Sion's alleged grand master. (Incidentally, according to both Malachai and Nostradamus the next and last two popes of the Roman Catholic Church -- following the death of Pope John Paul II -- will be named Clement XV and Peter II.)
Pope John XXIII was not only responsible for reorienting the Roman Catholic Church and bringing it into the twentieth century, but he also broke with two centuries of entrenched tradition and pronounced that a Catholic might be a Freemason. Freemasonry is the well known exoteric (known to the many) title and/or organization's name for the esoteric (known to the few) Prieure de Sion. Thus Freemasonry is a descendent of the line going back to the Templars and the Ordre de Sion of the eleventh and twelfth centuries. And Pope John XXIII broke with the tradition which argued that Catholics could not belong to secret societies, and pronounced that they could.
Finally, in June 1960, Pope John XXIII issued a profoundly important apostolic letter, whose subject was "the Precious Blood of Jesus." This letter emphasized Jesus' suffering as a human being and maintained that the redemption of mankind had been effected by the shedding of his blood. In the context of Pope John's letter, Jesus' human Passion and the shedding of his blood assume a greater consequence than the Resurrection or even than the mechanics of the Crucifixion!
The implications are enormous. The letter alters the whole basis of Christian belief. If man's redemption was achieved by the shedding of Jesus' blood, his death and resurrection become incidental -- if not, indeed, superfluous. Through his letter Pope John XXIII implies that the death of Jesus on the cross is no longer a requisite tenet of the Roman Catholic faith. Jesus need not have died on the cross for the Catholic faith to retain its validity.
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved