Rorate Caeli

Raising the Cross on the Summit of Grand Garde

The following is the translation of the original article by the FSSPX by a dear reader. Click here to read the full article in French and to see more pictures. 

Just over 10 years ago, on February 11, 2009, God called three seminarians of Ecône back to Him. In memory of these three young men, a cross was raised on the summit of Grand Garde in the Swiss Alps, which is directly across the valley from the seminary. The cross was blessed on June 18, 2019, in presence of the whole seminary, the families of the deceased and friends from the canton of Valais.


The idea was first proposed in 2013, but remained in the planning stage until spring of 2018. It took a whole year to bring the project to fruition. The cross was made by a carpenter in Valais, another craftsman applied copper plating, a solid foundation had to be designed and prepared… this took a month.

The 70 kg metal base was flown up to the summit by helicopter, together with an air compressor and a drill. The base was sunk 1.6 metres deep into the rock. Another 105 kg had to be carried up by the seminarians.

On Monday, June 17, 2019, at the end of exams, a group of seminarians began the climb. They carried the cross joyfully over 1 km horizontal distance and 200 m ascent, before raising the cross and attaching it solidly in its final location.


Fr. Bernard de Lacoste, director of the seminary, had the honour of carrying out the benedictio solemnis and gave a brief address on the meaning of the project.

After the solemn blessing, Jésus-Christ monte au Calvaire set to music by Pergolesi was sung, and those in attendance came one by one to adore the cross. In conclusion, the Sabak brothers and Fr. Sabur sang the Chaldean Stabat Mater.

Address by Fr. de Lacoste

“Dear friends,

We are gathered at the summit of Grand Garde to bless a cross raised in honour of three seminarians of Ecône who died in an avalanche 10 years ago: Raymond Guérin, Mickaël Sabak, and Jean-Baptiste Després. If this project of raising the cross has been successfully carried out, despite numerous difficulties, it is thanks to the generosity and the skill of a number of our faithful at Ecône. I would like to thank them warmly for their understated and extremely effective assistance.

The accident of February 11, 2009, took place at Cleuson. Why then are we raising a cross here, on a different mountain? Because we can see this cross from the seminary. In this way, priests, future priests, brothers and the faithful of Ecône will only have to look up to see it. This is good for three reasons:

Firstly, the Society of Saint Pius X is one family. When one of our members is called back to God, we do not want to forget him. He must remain present in our memories. We know the soul is immortal. When we see this cross, we will remember to pray for our deceased confreres, and for all those who have died in the mountains. Perhaps some of them are still in purgatory.

The second reason is that when we look upon this cross, it will strengthen our hope. Across the arms of this cross is written, ‘O Crux ave spes unica,’ O Cross, hail, our only hope. It reminds us of our destiny: we are pilgrims and strangers upon this earth; our true homeland is in heaven, and it is through the cross that we will reach heaven.

The third reason is that we live in a world that rejects the Cross and the reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ. In planting the banner of our King on the summit of this mountain, we are reminding the world that above all terrestrial rulers, it is God who reigns from His Cross.”