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About us

The Théophanies , an explanation

Rieux, the château, the church

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About us

declared under the law1st Julyt 1901 and decree 16 August 1901

with n° 0111009309, n° SIREN 451 742 837

The commitee 2024

Etienne CERETTO, retired Civil Aviation engineer, president - Françoise ALQUIER-CERETTO, retired teacher of classical letters , secretary in charge of communication- Patrick HARRISON, retired teacher and publisher, vice-president, in charge of public relations in English - Lucien BRINGUIER, retired executive bank, treasurer (General Assembly 12 January 2020).

The Théophanies : an explanation

The Théophanies were the ceremonies held during religious festivals in Ancient Greece, (most often at Delphi, the most important temple of Apollo in the country), where statues of all the gods were displayed.

The very incarnation of the spirit of Greece, the god Apollo represented the cult of beauty, and embodied the love the Greeks had for what was intelligible, for harmony and for moderation. His maxims, inscribed on the pediment  of his temple at Delphi, were the rules of wisdom  :

    Μήδεv αγav   (Mèdènn agann)   i.e. “ Nothing excessive”

    Ѓνωθισ oεoutov   (Gnôthi séautonn)  i.e. “ Know yourself”


The son of Leto and Zeus, and brother of Artemis, always young and     beautiful, always serene, his golden hair crowned with laurel, Apollo, the god with the silver bow and the melodious lyre, was honoured throughout Greece as the god of harmony and beauty. He proclaimed the idea of moral purity and, as Phoebus Apollo, naturally was the god of music and poetry, indeed god of all the arts. According to myth he invented the cithera ( a sort of lyre), and charmed the other gods of Olympus with his beautiful songs. As Apollo Musagetes, he presided over the chorus of the nine Muses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.

The festivals in honour of Apollo took place in Spring and Autumn ; it was thought that Apollo left Delphi during the winter months to stay in a Nordic country, only to return in the Spring. Originally country festivals for celebrating harvests of fruit etc., the great Apollonian festivals later acquired, at all the major festivals, a more sportive and artistic character. So, at Delphi, the great Pythian (the surname of the Delphian Apollo) festival, celebrated every four years, and featuring the Théophanies, included musical contests, a poetry competition, a tragedy competition, and prizes were also given for painting. Inspired by Apollo and the Muses, poets came from all over Greece, in great numbers, to take part, and all participants supported each other, gave presents to the god, and also consulted his oracle. There were almost as many people attending this festival as the Olympic Games !

Rieux-Minervois, the château

The dynamic, bustling village of Rieux-Minervois is situated on a fertile plain, on the River Argent-Double, at an altitude of 113m. It is 26km north-east of Carcassonne, and has a population of around 2,100.

The château of Rieux-Minervois

In the 11th Century, the seigniory of Rieux belonged to the Viscounts of Minerve, under the sovereignty of the Counts of Carcassonne. After the fall of Minerve in July 1210, Eléazard de Grave took refuge in the chateau of Rieux, which was so solidly built that, for two days, he was able to hold out against the troops of Simon de Montfort. The seigniory was afterwards confiscated. The king, Saint Louis ( Louis IX ) gave possession of the chateau, and lands, to Raymond de Saverdun in 1239. In 1372 it was bought by Nicolas de La Jugie, son of a noble family from the Limousin, which had settled in the Languedoc after the succession of Pope Gregory XI.
The chateau of Rieux was the principal residence of the La Jugie family and, from the 14th Century, the estate remained continually in their possession until 1642, when the property passed to the Moustiers de Mérinville family through the marriage with their last surviving heiress. During the revolt of the Etats du Languedoc against Louis XIII, led by Gaston d’Orléans, the bride’s father was killed at the Battle of Castelnaudary. This resulted in the demolition of the defensive elements of the chateau, essentially the towers, on the orders of Richelieu.
The Moustiers de Mérinville family ( the inhabitants of Rieux are still known today as “ les Mérinvillois “ ) remained in possession of the estate of Rieux until the abolition of the seigniorial system in 1789, and the Revolutionary confiscation of 1792. After the owners fled to England, the chateau was divided up and sold in lots, along with its furniture, and today consists of four separate properties.
The chateau of Rieux-Minervois is made up of three main buildings, arranged in a U-shape around a north-facing courtyard, la Cour du Puits. There are two storeys, with attics above, and with a tiled gable roof. The first records go back to the 12th Century, and the chronology of the constituent parts and their history, is extremely complex. The architectural analysis shows five distinct phases, of either construction or conversion. Registered on the Additionnal Inventory of the Historic Buildings ( ISMH in French), it is a private propertyt. Look at the plan established by the Service Départemental de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, 77 rue Trivalle 11000 CARCASSONNE.

The concert's hall


The concerts, art exhibitions and other events are usually held in, what we believe is, the former guardroom of the chateau, dating from the 15th Century. There is also an anteroom, containing the former wine-press, which can be found on the ground plan of 1826.
The maximum capacity of the concert room is 100 (conforming with Health and Safety legislation).

Occasionally concerts take place in the village church, and certain major musical events in the village hall ( Salle des Fêtes ) near to the chateau.

Rieux-Minervois, the church of Saint Mary

The Rotunda is one of the most unusual historic monuments in the South of France. Its heptagonal layout has fascinated both archaeologists and visitors alike.

It is a regular 14-sided polygon in a circular form. Over its centre rises a cupola, supported by a circle of seven arches which delineate the sanctuary.

The interior is the work of an unknown church sculptor, who has come to be called the Master of Cabestany, a small town SE of Perpignan. There are other examples of his work scattered in a wide arc, stretching from Tuscany in Italy) to Catalonia and Navarre (in Spain).

The church is one of the jewels of 12th Century Romanesque architecture, its beautifully carved capitals are remarkable. The chapels are in the later Gothic style.  


Etienne & Françoise CERETTO, Patrick HARRISON & Lucien BRINGUIER
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