I published the first edition of A Pope of their Own: El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church in May 2017. By then, Palmarian Pope Gregory XVIII–Ginés Hernández–had left the papacy and the church and married a former nun. These events made El Palmar de Troya known again. It had been four decades since the Spanish press devoted this much interest to the Palmarian Church.
Since then, the Palmarians have attracted even more attention. They became front-page news in Spain as the ex-pope and his wife were tried for the armed robbery of the Basilica in Palmar de Troya. The interest in the Palmarian Church was also sparked by best-seller writer Dan Brown’s Origin (2017) that included it in the plot. That made the existence of the church known to many outside of Spain, too. As my book was the only recent monograph on the Palmarians, it has been downloaded tens of thousands of times. To reach such a vast readership was undoubtedly an unusual experience for me.
Taken into account the rapid development during the last three years, I decided to write an enlarged version of A Pope of their Own, which follows the Palmarian Church until today. The updated parts are mainly found in chapter 9 (pp. 189–200), covering the current papacy of Peter III. However, I have also included some new sections about earlier history and about rituals (see pp. 20–22, 99–102, 112–113, 118–119, and 226–229).
On February 19, 2020, the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial published a long interview with Ginés Jesús Hernández. Between 2011 and 2016 he was Gregory XVIII, the pope of the Palmarian Catholic Church. In April 2016, he left the papacy and the church and moved to his girlfriend Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. Shortly after leaving El Palmar, he publicly claimed that the church was a hoax (see my summary of the events).
In June 2018, once again the couple made front-page news when the Spanish press reported that they had climbed over the high wall of the church compound in an attempt to rob the very centre of the Palmarian Church: the Basilica in El Palmar de Troya. In a subsequent fight, both two Palmarian bishops and the couple were wounded. Ginés Hernández was very severely injured, being stabbed in the chest. Still, he recovered and both he and his wife were prosecuted for armed robbery. In May 2019, they were sentenced to prison for six and five years respectively, but directly released on probation (see my summary of the events).
Continue reading “New Interview with the Palmarian ex-Pope”
There are several TV-documentaries about El Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Church, but by far the most ambitious and well-researched is the new series, “El Palmar de Troya” that is broadcasted in February 2020 on the Spanish Moviestar+ Cero Channel. The series is produced by Movistar+ in collaboration with 100 Balas (The Mediapro Studio) and 93 Metros directed by Israel del Santo and with Daniel Boluda in charge of the research.
“El Palmar de Troya” includes four 55-minute episodes following the Palmarian phenomenon from the beginning in 1968 until today. It includes testimonies by former church members including ex-Pope Gregory XVIII (Ginés Hernández) and his wife Nieves Triviño, who used to be a Palmarian nun. But there are also testimonies by other ex-bishops and ex-nuns as well as former lay members. Apart from them, some outsiders, including me, talk about El Palmar and the Palmarian Church.
Continue reading “New Documentary on El Palmar de Troya”
Until very recently the Palmarian Catholic Church had no official internet presence at all. Even for those actively searching, it has been difficult if not impossible to find a phone number or an email address. This was highly unusual even in the world of Catholic traditionalism. Still, in the 1990s, the church maintained a very rudimentary internet site, but it was not updated and eventually disappeared.
In December 2018, however, the Palmarians suddenly launched a professionally looking multilingual website: www.palmarianchurch.org. The site includes basic information about the Palmarian Church, the Order of the Carmelites of the Holy Face and pope Peter III. On the site, one finds a lot of images and films, mainly documenting important religious feast and the basilica in El Palmar de Troya. There is also a growing number of texts: general overviews of the church’s history and teachings, apparition messages, extracts from official documents (including the catechism and the Palmarian Bible) and hagiographies as well as diatribes against the media and people considered enemies of the church.
Continue reading “Palmarian Internet Presence”
On June 10, 2018, began a new, bizarre chapter in the history of the Palmarian Catholic Church. The Palmarian ex-pope Ginés Jesús Hernández (earlier known as Gregory XVIII) and his wife, Nieves Triviño climbed over the high walls of the church compound at Palmar de Troya.
They were masked and armed, apparently planning to rob the cathedral, but were discovered by a Palmarian bishop who was outside the basilica. According to testimonies, they beat Bishop S with a hammer and threatened him and another bishop, J, with a knife. However, in the subsequent fight, Hernández was severely injured, while the others escaped with less serious physical injuries.
It was on April 22, 2016, Gregory XVIII (sed. 2011-2016) resigned the Palmarian papacy. He later claimed that he had lost the faith and that the whole church was a hoax. He left to live with Nieves Triviño, whom he later married. For details, see my book A Pope of Their Own.
Here is a brief description of the events from June 10, 2018 to May 17, 2019.
Continue reading “A Robber Ex-Pope and his Wife: From the Beginning to the End”
As a part of my extensive documentation and study of the Palmarian Church, I publish a sizeable collection of images that were published digitally by the Church ca. 2002.
The first document includes pictures of the apparition site at Palmar de Troya, the first chapel that was built there and not least the construction of the enormous Palmarian Basilica. It includes 129 images. See Palmar de Troya and the Palmarian Basilica
The second document includes pictures of Palmarian chapels around the world. It includes 197 images. See Palmarian Chapels worldwide.
A religious group known as the Palmarian Church plays a quite prominent role in Dan Brown’s most recent book Origin (2017.) Though Dan Brown’s Origin is a work of fiction, as in earlier works in the Robert Langdon series, he claims that the book is based on thorough research. Based on my long-time research into all things Palmarian, I have written an evaluation of the factual claims that Dan Brown makes about the Palmarian Church.
In the text, I first give a very short introduction to the history and teachings of the Palmarian Church to know what we are talking about. Then, I will say something about what “research” is or can be before I turn to my appraisal of Dan Brown’s assertions. There are statements that, indeed, are correct, while there are many claims that are wrong, half-wrong or at least very questionable. My conclusion is that there is nothing that indicates that Brown has done any individual research on the matter, let alone any thorough investigation, and has misunderstood several things in even the most easily available online sources.
Here you can read my text “Dan Brown and the Palmarian Church. Or What is this Thing Called Research”
Three years ago, I wrote a group profile on the Palmarian Church for the World Religions and Spirituality Project (WRSP), led by Professor David Bromley. The project website is a very useful resource for those who are looking for good and reliable information about a large number of religious groups, both big and small. It includes a growing number of “group profiles”, but also many other resources.
As readers of this website will know, there has been dramatic changes in the Palmarian Church in the last three years. Among many other things, Pope Gregory XVIII left the papacy and the church. He married and now he and his wife are in prison accused of attempted armed robbery. In short, it was necessary to write an updated profile.
You find the new text here.
In the recent 25th-anniversary issue of Immobilien Zeitschrift, a German magazine dedicated to the real estate business, there is an excellent article on the Palmarian Church, written by Friedhelm Feldhaus. You may think that a real estate magazine is not the most obvious place for such an article, but to some extent, it is focused on the construction of the huge basilica in El Palmar de Troya.
Friedhelm Feldhaus has done excellent research. He read much of the recent texts on the church, but he also went to El Palmar, entered the basilica and interviewed a number of people in the town and elsewhere. In short, the article provides the reader with an unusually good introduction to the history and current status of the Palmarians.
So if you read German, I really recommend the piece, and even if you don’t, look at the images. I have never seen a better picture of the whole church compound from above.
The full text is found here
On June 20, 2018, the Spanish journal El Confidencial published an extensive article on the Palmarian church, the development throughout the decades and the current situation: “Miedo y asco en el Palmar de Troya: el milenarismo va a llegar” . The article is written by Carlos Prieto and to a large extent built on my research and it includes an interview with me, too.