Abbé Gillard van het Bretonse Tréhorenteuc

We live near Tréhorenteuc a lovely little village at the edge of the magical Brocéliande forest. The forest is known for the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table, wizard Merlin and the fairy Viviane. In the center of the village you will find a wonderful little church. My story begins in 1942 when the priest Gillard began to preach in this community. Why do I talk about this priest? Simply because he mixed the Grail story with Christianity.

Gillard preached every week in the little church her in Tréhorenteuc but unfortunately, in 1962, he was forced to leave Tréhorenteuc and his little church. In part because he has had ‘strange’ ideas,  why mix Kind Arthur with Christianity? The other was a rumour. The villagers claimed that he had a relationship with the local teacher! Despite previous accusations the villagers like Gillard and after six years, in 1968, the same villagers asked Gillard to return to preach again in their little church which of course he did! He was a kind and lived a very frugal life; he ate only bread sweetened with warm water for six days, exept on Sundays when he was invited to the village pub to have a hot meal. The only hot meal in a whole week! Gillard also put all of his income into the little church for restoration.

The ideas of Gillard…. These are to be found in the beautiful stained glass windows of the little church we can still see today. For example, let’s take the window behind the altar. It’s a busy scene. The first thing we see is the Grail with a green chalice surmounted by the words: ‘La calice de mon sang’, or ‘the chalice with my blood’. On the right is Christ and to the left of the Grail you find the Jerusalem Cross, a reference to Godfried of Bouillon and the Crusaders with Jozef of Arimethea on his knees. Below we see a man and a woman, the head of the man resembles that of Gillard. The whole scene is surrounded by the symbols of the four evangelists, eagle, ox, man, lion. The window to the left and the right indicate the origin of the chalice. One shows the chalice at the last supper of Jesus and the eleven disciples, the other is an image of the Grail at the court of King Arthur, with Angels catching the blood of the crucified Christ in the Grail.

Until his death in 1979 aged 78, Gillard still continued to inspire the people. King Arthur, the wizard Merlin, the Grail and Christ … the Bible and the myths and legends. Even today you can still be inspired by Gillard and his little church. The priest is taking care of that from his grave in his little church in Tréhorenteuc.