Valencia: Paella, Sun, Sand, Holy Grail, More Sun and……What?

Forget all the Indiana Jones and King Arthur nonsense; the Holy Grail is real and on view in Valencia. I’ve seen it and the chapel where it’s held is called the Chapel of the Grail. And if that is not proof enough, read on doubting Thomases.

 

Don’t be fooled by appearances and disintegrated, like Jason Glover in the Indiana film; the grail is not the bejewelled chalice, but the humble agate cup that the chalice holds.

 

 

The Real Thing!

The Real Thing!

This is the conclusion of Professor Antonio Beltrán, who has dated the cup as being from 100 – 50 BC, and he is a professor and will wear a white lab coat if challenged.

 

Tradition tells us that the grail, the cup from which Christ drunk wine at the last supper, origin of the catholic mass, was taken to Rome by Saint Peter and was kept there by all the following Popes until Sixtus II. Through his Spanish deacon, Saint Lawrence, the grail was then sent to Huesca (Saint Lawrence’s homeland) in the 3rd century to save it from the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Valerian. When the Muslim invasion began in 711 AD, the chalice was hidden in the Pyrenees, at Yebra, Siresa, Santa María de Sasabe and Bailio, ending up in the monastery of San Juan de la Peña (Huesca).

 

It was later handed over in 1399 to the King of Aragon, Martin ‘The Humanist’ and kept in the Aljaferia Royal Palace of Zaragoza and then in the Royal Palace of Barcelona in 1410. In 1424, King Alfonso V, the Magnanimous handed it over to the Royal Palace (destroyed in the 19th century so as not to give shelter to Napoleon’s soldiers. Because of Alfonso’s stay in Naples, it was given to Valencia Cathedral in 1437.

 

During the Independence War, between 1809 and 1813, the chalice was hidden in Alicante, Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca. In 1916, it was housed in the old Chapter House, later called the Holy Chalice Chapel, its current location.

During the Civil War (1936-1939), it was hidden in Carlet.

 

The grail story was taken up and transformed out of all recognition by Chretien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach

Geoffrey of Monmouth and Richard Wagner, with the addition of round tables, swords with names stuck in stones and ladies who dwell in lakes. And of course Indiana Jones.

 

The grail is taken from its chapel to the high altar in the celebration of the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and in the solemn feast of the last Thursday of October. Otherwise, for a mere 5€, last time I looked, you can go to the chapel and see it amid the flashlights of thousands of Japanese tourists who sincerely believe that King Arthur is buried there and that Steven Spielberg lives just around the corner (at least that’s what I always tell them.

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