On the track of the Knights Templar – part 2
Even though there is only one place that is officially linked to the Knights Templar, and it is on German territory, a great number of legends circulate in the surrounding area – South East Belgium – as well (and I believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire), referring to numerous Templar castles and monasteries vanished overnight into thin air after the dissolution of the Order; to buried church bells and treasures that no one could find to this very day; and also to extremely heavy chests that had been found, but then they had rolled on their own and had sunk deep down in the earth (and we know that nothing magical is alien to the Knights Templar). There are numerous speculations on those lines also about Ouren, or more precisely, about the church in the district Ouren-Peterskirchen. I will refer on that matter mainly to a couple of articles written by Heinrich J. Jodocy in the historical magazine „Zwischen Venn und Schneifel“ (issue 1, 2011 and issue 8-9, 2012), since it was exactly they that have prompted me to visit this church.
It is closed. (And, as said before, the closed churches are always very suspicious to me.)
You still can see something from the inside through the bars, but I couldn’t take photographs of the interesting painting with the Crucifix that the author speaks of in his articles and that hangs to the right, right next to the entrance – depicting three angels that gather the blood of Jesus not in one, but in as many as three Grails.
Just as it is the case with the Chapel of Wiesenbach, it is unknown when and by whom the Church of Ouren was built.
In the issue „Geheimnisvolles um Kirchen und Kapellen“/ „Mysterious around churches and chapels (in South East Belgium)“, it is said that at the dawn of Christianity, the patron saints of the churches were chosen among popular biblical characters such as the Apostles and the Virgin Mary (before the manufacturing of the other saints’ lives), and that’s why the temples with these patrons suggest a very long history of ancient sacral places, which holds good for both temples in Wiesenbach and in Ouren.
It is assumed that the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was built between AD900 and 1000, and from that time date the first two parts of its construction – steeple (the photograph shows the church from its back) and nave. The choir, that is the onion dome, was built in 1741. The sacristy – the front part – is from 1912.
The high altar dates from 1750 and is in the Louis XV style. The side statues are of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The painting on the left side altar taken from the demolished castle chapel in Ouren dates from 1747 and was attributed to Rubens, but it is actually of unknown origin. It isn’t also established what it exactly depicts – whether it is Joseph and Jesus, or Jesus and Mary Magdalene (in the view of the thesis developed in the book „The Holy Blood, the Holy Grail“).
The Pièta was crafted as late as around the beginning of the 20th century by a local master.
But except for the mysterious painting with the three Grails, the author of the articles, referring to other older historical records and even to pictures, speaks of one vanished grave of a knight in full armour and of the planking of the floor under the pews (you can see it in the photograph) that was laid in more recent times. The whole floor had been covered with tombstones and mysterious symbols before.
As for the Grail, it is placed as if a bit intrusive everywhere around the church. That tombstone is built in right next to the entrance. And after it follow:
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