Photographer's Note

VII: The martyrdom of the Cathars

Final photo illustrating the dramatic end of the Cathars in 1244, when more than 220 Cathars that left the castle at the morning of March 16th 1244 walked down the rocky cliff to be burned at he stake after been at sige for 10 months in the castle Montsegur. Those 220 Cathars denied to give up their fate for the Catholic Church and then suffered this horrible faith.

This monument commemorating the martyrdom of the Cathars – placed closed to the place were it all ended.

The self-assurance of the martyrs, and the mystery surrounding the safe hiding place of their ‘treasure’, still fascinates scholars and all those who are true to the tradition of Occitania or who followed sects that promote Cathar philosophy.

According to certain historians, Catharism arrived in Occetania from Asia Minor during the 10th century. Catharism was a dualistic religion, their philosophy being based on the opposition of Good versus Evil. Good was considered to being close to spirituality; the opposite of Evil represented by the material world.

Catharism was particularly well anchored in certain regions of Europe, notably in Occitania but also in Northern Italy, Switzerland and Bourgogne.

In contrast to the Catholic Church, a large part of whose clergy were wealthy, the Cathars advocated a simple and frugal life. It had its own sacraments, including one, the Consolamentum, administered to people on their deathbed to allow them entry into heaven. Even though some Cathars were reported after 1244, historians generally agree that the tragedy at Montsegur instigated the disappearance of Catharism.

Hope you have enjoyed my photos of the Montsegur story

Ref: The Green Guide Langedoc Roussillon and the Montesegur information sheet

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Additional Photos by Jack R Johanson (jrj) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4529 W: 494 N: 7430] (34843)
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