Saturday, February 26, 2011

Shape as the Grail. Round Churches, Roundtables, Labyrinths, Egalite: Is the Grail a Shape; Not an Object . Traces of Templars, or Fantasy?

The Shape may be The Grail
What does the round shape communicate. 
What did it communicate centuries ago?

The Roundtable, the Round Church; or the High-Low Table, the Sharp Unclimbable Spire 

Do we limit what we see because of cultural preference and shaped mentality

Q.  What if meaning lies in shape, not in its particular manifestation.  What if something is its shape, that it is not what "it" is.

Q. To find out, challenge old concepts of identification.
 A.  What if the Holy Grail is not an object at all.

What if it has never been found because  it is a shape, a concept. A way to truths, that cultures globally have tapped into -- example:  sacred circles. 
  • The "container" is not what is conveyed.
  • It is not the Cup but the function.  
  • The message is the round, Living in the round, the web, 
  • The Circle;  the Roundtable
  • Not in the hierarchy, the pyramid, the Line. 
What supports that weird idea?

Look at early Celtic Christian monks in their individual hut-beehives.  The dome, the round.

Later changes:  away from contemplation, unity, to power, profit and hierarchy. Does that show in the architecture of places of worship, the shape of activities. Support and choices come in movable circles, allow, webs. Safe to fall. Something to catch.  Domination comes in slashing lines, rigid pyramids. Hold on because if you fall you are gone.  Off the line.

A.  Architecture.

Round Churches.  Miscellany we have found in addition to those listed -- in Bulgaria, Church of Saint John at Preslav, or the Golden Church, see,_Preslav/ Wikipedia is a start for somebody's deeper analysis.

Note that this round church at Preslav also has appendages, an atrium and apse, but it nos not clear if those were built at the beginning?  If so, that would disprove ideas that the later theology led to changes in church shape and worship.  The "Rotunda" idea:

See also the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, a Galeria in Thessalonike, and Charlemagne's Aachen Chapel.  Not a new idea; but interesting to speculate why the Roman Church had to do away with it. And, in Orkney, St. Nicholas'  Church, see ruin and foundation at


See this site, at  Some other round churches are thought to be modeled after the round Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  Is this Cambridge England round church a Templar church? See  But what does the round shape have to do with a Resurrection?  That's stretching it - see

The earliest churches we found above ground as separate architectures, not in catacombs, for example; or hidden away; were round.  Worshipers were equal, rituals took place in the center; or, in a more orthodox tradition, in a single transept, where a beginning iconostasis could have been set up.




In Linz, there is another.  In Linz, the old round foundation still shows -- all worshipers equal, a center alter.  The church itself was later when the Roman Catholics took over as the Christian orientation and reduced it in size and made a rectangle so the altar could be placed where it should be with the authority figure up front, and the rabble back and away in a mob.

The round foundation goes all the way around St. Martin's, showing how small the little rectangular one is that fit within its old bounds.


In Denmark, find several round churches. The overall conversion to Christianity took place 1050-1150 or so, the time of these buildings.

The island of Bornholm (the word "holm" meant island) apparently has four, walls of granite, originally flat roofs with cone-shaped added centuries later -- all of these are off the modern beaten paths. Each has a single center supporting pillar, see There is Osterlars, Nylars, Olsker, and Nyker.

This site, about the Templars' Church of Osterlars on Bornholm, see; notes Templar connections.-- and we found one at Bjernede Rundkirche, near Soro, on Zealand.  Its walls are stone and brick.  The site notes a book called The Templars' Secret Island. There is claimed to be landscape geometry connecting them, and with a castle in France, connections between Cistercians (monastic order) and Templars, pagan symbols in carving and fresco, alignments of windows with solstice etc.  Someone else go check. Also something called the Poulsker Church on Bornholm. Bornholm is an easy stop by ferry from Germany or Sweden or Denmark, but it takes more time than we had available.

The Bornholm site says these on Bornholm are the only ones in Denmark.  That is wrong.  See Bjernede, on Zealand.

Of interest:  comparison of Templars and Hospitallers.  Bjernede shows Hospitaller connection?


That can't be so, because there is also a round church, an "Absolon" church for an early bishop we believe, at Thorsager on Jutland, that we did not see. See://  Is the other Absolon church the Cathedral at Roskilde (not round at all).


We found this round church Bjernede Rundkirche, near Soro, on Zealand. Our guidebook says it is the only round church other than those on Borhnholm. 

The Bjernede Round Church has appendages - stuck on apses and entryways that to us don't fit at all.  To us it looked like somebody didn't like the round idea, and simply added on parts of a cross to make it the acceptable cross shape.  Awkward. See

Figuring out original shapes, changes and reasons.

Is this really a change that came about later, or was this in Bjernede the original construct with the peculiar appendages?  The granite multicolored stone transept looks original, amateur assessment from the outside, but not the brick one with stair-step facade.

These are too small to have met the fate of the church at Linz, where the larger circle church simply was deconstructed, and a rectangle put inside to house a smaller but dogma-coordinated priest-in-front view.

B.  Other explanations. Keep thinking:

Or was the foundation round in Linz a circular wall out there?  That is not what the guide said, and the Orkney foundation looks the same. Scholars, start your engines.  Information on site: The original church was round, to suit the equality among worshipers in the theology they espoused (sounds a lot like Jesus, does it not) -- in Denmark in particular, early Christianity was fostered with a prevalence of female saints, as at Old Uppsala, shown in the church itself.  But in Uppsala, when the cathedral (where the bishop would be) went to new Uppsala, suddenly it is all male saints.

Bjernede. Please take off the dreadful additions, if they are additions. Nothing fits.  It is just as awkward inside, apses added here and there and it just doesn't work.  It is even painful to be in there. Please.  Research this further and whatever the result, take off the rectangles and hierarchy-fostering apses that look so forbidding.  Back to the circular.

C.  What if the round shape, the inclusive Round Way, had prevailed over the sharp point, the pyramid.

The Unforgiving Line, the excluder.

Would the shape of our religious and political orientation in the West have been different if the concept of the Round had prevailed against the concept of the Hierarchy as in the Roman Church approach to life and love. What if the hierarchical, pyramidal Rome had lost its quest and invasions and conquests and inquisitions, so pushed throughout our religious history.  It prevailed, and became the dominant "Christian" church in Western Europe; and in any other area where it could beat out the competition. Think of old religions, Celtic circles, vinings.

And with Rome's control, out went equality ideas, cooperation, the old Cathar paratge, and in came its ancient militarism, the cohorts and formations, right-angled hard hierarchy and threats of punishment for dissenters and distinctions and emperors.  The old emperors merely changing titles to become a church when Rome's secular empire fell apart.  Soon, even those Christians Rome first set in motion, the Knights Templar, were destroyed by it; or at least, shoved to a periphery leaving mysteries behind.  See ://

  • Is one of those mysteries the identity of the Holy Grail.  Of course. Great preoccupation of fantasy and history combined, media, movies, books and etc.  So what did they find out in their nine years digging under Jerusalem, how did they get so rich, so powerful. Secret knowledge, think of all the theories out there. Find a painting on a tryptych in Bjernede focusing on a great golden Chalice, with a disciple-type figure pointing at it for even more emphasis, at Bjernede, Interior
Here we look at connections suggested with changes in dogma dominance, overlaid and taking over earlier less power-oriented group practices and understandings. Out with the quiet round, in with the fierce gothic spires.

D.  The Templars

The Templars were not the only ones with angles on Christianity or powers that Rome did not share.  In early centuries, long before Templars,  there were many groups of Christians following their faith in the Christ they believed in, even without the glamor of a Templar.  Look at the Nestorians and other Christians following their traditions with the same roots as the Roman, moving East as Paul's militant Rome's view gained in power, see Vetting Roots: Ur of the Chaldees; Chaldeans, Nestorians; and the fate of James the Just, James the Just, Usurped by Peter and Paul; his epistle that so irked Martin Luther, see The Real Jimmy: What Did He Do To Deserve Thisand ultimately in Iraq, Iran, and points farther East. Even Kublai Khan's mother was a Nestorian Christian. See ://

All persons are certainly not equal in that Roman Church. There are the elect, the heretics, the sinners, the saints, the roles, the rituals, the women (pah!).

How did that play out as Rome took over other Christian orientations.

Groups and Roles:   Crusades era
  • Hospitallers:  The Order of St. John of Jerusalem founded before the Templars, in 1048, and operated a hospice for pilgrims in Jerusalem, see The Templars came later, with the need to combine roles of monk and knight, in 1126. Bernard of Clairvaux apparently wrote the governing Rule for the Templars, a new military order.  When that succeeded, the Hospitallers also were reorganized, to become Knights as well. Knights Hospitaller. Two military orders.
  • Teutonic Knights formed (or remained?) after the Crusades in the Holy Land to conduct the pope's new Northern Crusades, against Christians in Slavic and Germanic countries converted by the orthodox, not Rome; or who resisted conversion entirely.

E.  King Arthur

Does that concept of the Round also show in Arthur's Roundtable (part of the Grail story); and in how early churches, formed in the round, and even later Templar Round Churches, were taken over and the dogma shape of the Cross, the hierarchy with the Priest Capital P at the front above everybody, even with his (yes, His) back to everybody else as was the custom for so long.  Here's trouble:  And what if the reason women have been so maligned by the Roman Church, is that the power of women in many cultures is associated with the round, and things that happen there. Birth, Embrace. Can't use a gun in the round, nosiree.  Hello, NRA.

Did the Templars meet their virtual destruction because they had some association with or came to learn how to tap into powers that challenged the Church.  Will the experts please stand up. And will the Vatican please put its entire library online.  Thanks. Is the deity genderless if there is only one? Sure. You only need the equipment if there are two.

How much of this is so.  Constantly a kaleidescope. Shape of the Grail.  Not "the" Grail. Power in the round.

But how even to talk about if, without a concrete representation of the idea.  See again the golden Chalice from the Tryptych in Bjernede. And the table itself does look round, not a long rectangle as Leonardo represented.

Look closer. Is that Mary, the figure with the head-covering, just to the right of J? One of the twelve? There is John, asleep to the lower left.