Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Treasure of Orval | Socyberty

The abbey of Orval is located at the edge of the woods of the Ardennes, in a beautiful valley of the former county of Chiny. The site has been inhabitated from time immemorial. The famous well of Orval must once have had a Gallo-Roman sanctuary, which was the origin from which the valley received its sacred character.
The foundation stone for the new complex was laid in 1761, designed by the famous architect Laurent-Benoit Dewez. The church was consecrated in 1782. Almost two years to the day after the failed escape of the French royal family to Orval, on 23 June 1793, French troops bombarded both the old and new cloister, sacking the buildings and burning that which could burn. The entire estate was confiscated. 
When the French hurricane ravaged the abbey, many of the monks fled to Luxembourg. Some felt that Luxembourg was not far enough and sought refuge in far-off Russia. For a very long time, the villagers of Villers-devant-Orval recounted how they had heard how the monks had been caught burying various objects in the fields, often at night, before they disappeared from the monastery themselves.The poor farmers had always been impressed by the enormous buildings that made up the abbey. The only gold they ever saw, was when it shone in the hands of the monks. They were therefore convinced that what the monks were hiding at night, were their treasures, no doubt including the French crown jewels, the personal fortune of the Bourbons, the wages for the soldiers of General de Bouillé and the war chest that would finance the counter-revolution.
That Orval, Nostradamus, the escape to Varennes and the French Revolution were indeed all interrelated, was somehow meant to be proven by this legendary tale. “There is a conspiracy,” Marat wrote in l’Ami du Peuple, even before the escape of the French royal family had been accomplished, “to abduct the king, using violence, to the Low Countries, under the pretext that his case affects all kings of Europe. Are you imbeciles, that you do not take appropriate action to prevent the king from fleeing? Parisians, morons that you are! I have had it with constantly having to remind you that the king and the dauphin need to be put under lock and key and that the Austrian and the other part of the family need to be imprisoned. If they were to escape, this will have catastrophic consequences for the whole nation! One escape might cost the lives of three million Frenchmen!”

After the escape of the royal family, Marat wrote that the abbey of Orval was “preparing a feast, sanctuary and company for the tiran”. The announcement could be read in the Moniteur dated 30 June 1791, five days after the return of the king to Paris. Which source had informed the newspapers? The only parties aware that Orval was prepared as a refuge of last resort were general de Bouillé, the royal couple themselves… and Nostradamus. The name Orval is mentioned in quatrain 20 of the ninth century, in the shape of an anagram (”vaultorte”) of the old manner of writing “Orvault”. 
Full article by Patrick Bernauw :
The Treasure of Orval | Socyberty
Translator & co-author: Philip Coppens
Photographer embee

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