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THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS

They are very many. The eagerness to benefit from its powers has seduced people since ancient times. And even the fictitious grails, although they do not have any magical or spiritual faculties, have always provided great economic and worldly benefit to their owners. They attract pilgrims, curious and popularity. We talked about the most recent in our article ” The Last Holy Grail”, but it is not the only one or the one with the most followers. Let’s discover a few, shall we?

THE MOST POPULAR

The most applauded of those around there, is undoubtedly the Holy Chalice of the Cathedral of Valencia, in Spain. Considered by many the authentic, among them the Holy See, which in October 2014 even instituted the Jubilee of the Holy Grail that is repeated every five years (where it is possible to obtain the forgiveness of all sins with the plenary indulgence that is granted to who goes in that period) and named the cathedral as a Holy Pilgrimage Place. It has also been used to celebrate the Eucharist by Popes John Paul II in 1982 and by Benedict XVI in 2006, and according to legend it was used by at least 23 more popes (the first of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries).

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS
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It is an agate cup, they say carved in the 1st century with a support with handles (this last accessory added later). They say that it was sent to Spain by Saint Lawrence themartyr already in the third century, specifically in the year 258 shortly before his martyrdom.

And there is even a “Spanish version ” of the story of its first custodians, which tries to justify its authenticity. Obviously for this to be possible and to make everything coincide, they had to change some events, dates and characters of the accepted version as the original (mainly taken from the Wolfram story).

THE SPANISH VERSION OF THE FIRST CUSTODIANS

They say that the Occitan troubadours called the king of Aragon (who had gone from time to time in the French south), Amfortas. Let us remember that Anfortas was the third custodian, successor to his brother Frimutel, and previously to Titurel (according to the prequel legend of Wolfram’s Parzival). This is where the legend starts. To justify this rumor, they point out that there were some coins minted at that time, by Alfonso I (1104-1134), the Battler, in which he had inscribed “Anfus Dei Gratia Rex”.

But in this way the legend of Titurel takes a leap in time and possibly also in space (since it has always been believed that the mountain of Munsalvaesche or Montsalvat where the Temple of the Grail was located could refer to somewhere in the French Pyrenees or at most to the Monserrat massif, in Catalonia). However, the Spanish legend, although it moves near the outer mountain ranges of the Pyrenees, in Osca, Huesca, Aragón (Spain), is not in the mountains but on a flat hill near them, known as La Hoya or La Plana. But what contrasts the most is the fact that history advances in time about 900 years, to the year 1130 approximately.

The legend tells of some events that really happened. That Alfonso (according to legend, Amfortas) loses a large part of his territories and his kingdom falls into disgrace. During the battle of Fraga (which actually occurred in September 1134) in Huesca against the Almoravids, the king was wounded

and fled to the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, where the Grail had already been in 1071 (commanded by San Lorenzo). The wound does not heal, and while the wound is open his kingdom collapses. After twenty days he dies childless.

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS
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Alfonso I had introduced the Order of the Temple in Spain. As he died without descendants in his testament, he left his kingdom to the military orders, the Templars, the Hospitallers and those of the Holy Sepulcher. Later, the Aragonese, rejecting his will, took his brother Ramiro outof the monastery where he lived and made him sovereign as Ramiro II, the monk king, as they called him. It is according to legend, Perceval, the mystical knight. But this new king, no warrior nor combative, does not suit well for the rich, and so a rebellion begins.

But the tour of the chalice that fits with this Spanish version could not be the “pagan” of Titurel and Perceval (this one featured magical elements, fairies, witches and enchanted swords). Even if it referred to the mountain of Munsalvaesche (mons salvationis), at the top of which was the temple of the Grail that could be somewhere in the Pyrenees and therefore also in Spain.

In this regard we have to consider that as we have said before, it has also been thought that Montsalvat was referring to the Montserrat massif in Spain. But the link between Montserrat and the Chalice of Valencia was not consistent with Lorenzo’s story (although neither was the other one). Because the facts just didn’t match. They also say that the relic may have visited the Montserrat monastery on one occasion, but it would have been in the twentieth century, and for a short time, when it made a pilgrimage through its old shelters during the commemoration of its seventeenth centenary of its arrival in Spain and the second visit to Barcelona.

THE TOUR OF THE CHALICE

The story therefore had to have clearly Christian connotations and had to begin naturally at the Last Supper.

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS

It is assumed that after the supper the chalice was guarded by the first popes starting from Saint Peter (who participated in the supper with Jesus) until reaching Sixtus II (the twenty-fourth). Lorenzo was born in Huesca in c. 225. (hence it has been chosen in the legend as a connection with Spain).

When the emperor Valeriano proclaimed the edict of persecution against the Christians he was in Rome, a year earlier in 257 he had been appointed deacon. The Pope Sixtus II was beheaded in 258 but the legend tells usthatbefore death he found Lorenzo and handed the treasures that the Church had accumulated to him, so to protect them, including the Chalice.

When Sixtus was killed, the emperor gave Lorenzo three days to collect and deliver the treasure. Before it was too late, Lorenzo ask for aid in a clandestine meeting with other Christians in a cave or catacomb, where he found Precelio, a Hispanic born in Yepes (Toledo, Spain), who he gave several relics, including the Chalice, and he ordered that he take them to his relatives who lived in Osca, Huesca along with a letter and an inventory.

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS

After the three-day period Lorenzo was burned alive. But by then according to legend the relics were safe. Precelius took them as he had promised to Lorenzo’s uncles and cousins, and they hid them in the church of San Pedro el Viejo (a Visigothic and Mozarabic temple that according to oral tradition was the only Christian temple open to worship during the Muslim domination) of his town. And so it came to Spain.

After several centuries, in 711 before the advance of the Muslims, Bishop Acilso fled to take refuge with the relics of the Church to the mountains of the Pyrenees, including the Chalice, and hid it in the Cave of Yebra (it is suspected that the church Yebra parish was Episcopal See for some years).

THE CHALICE IN THE EPISCOPAL SEE

As the Episcopal change of location (either a threat or convenience), the chalice with other relics of the Church moved with it. And so it would pass through several temples, in the years 815-831 it was located in the Monastery of San Pedro de Siresa, in Hecho, where the episcopal see had to remain for more than a hundred years. Then before the year 1000 it moved to Santa María de Sasabe, in San Adrián, near Aisa. In 1014 to 1033 the Episcopal See passed it to the Church of the Court in Bailo where it remained from 1014 to 1045. In 1045 the Episcopal See moved it to Jaca, the chalice would be guarded first in the provisional Church or monastery (while the cathedral was being built), and then in the new Cathedral of Jaca when they finished building it in 1063. While the relic was in the Cathedral of Jaca it would appear according to the legend Amfortas, or Alfonso I. In 1171 it arrived at the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña de Huesca, where it remained until 1399, until the King of Aragón Martín el Humano insistently requested the relic (the first written document of the general) from the monks to keep it in his house in Zaragoza, at the Oratory of the Royal Palace of the Aljafería de Zaragoza.

ITS VISIT TO BARCELONA

The Chalice wasin Barcelona (but not in Montserrat) for a few years. Let us remember this section of the tour: The chalice was in the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña, in 1399 it was delivered to King Martín I, who first kept it in his Palace of Pottery in Zaragoza. When the king moved to live in his castle in Barcelona c. 1408 (where today is the well-known Torre Bellesguard designed by Gaudí between 1900-1916) he takes it with him, being deposited in the chapel of the Royal Palace of Barcelona.

When the king went to live in Barcelona, he took it there. Later, Alfonso V would take it to his home in Valencia in 1424, and when he was absent he had it taken to the Valencia Cathedral in 1437.

ITS ARRIVAL IN VALENCIA

Around 1423-1424 the King of Aragon, then Alfonso V, the Magnanimous (Martin had died without a direct successor), returned from Naples to Valencia (he was also King Alfonso III of Valencia) taking the relics of the crown there, and they remain deposited in the Chapel of the Royal Palace of Valencia on August 2, 1428. In 1432 the king left again for Italy. After a few years, in 1437 the still absent king ordered that it be guarded in the Cathedral of Valencia (the relics had been left as collateral for a loan with the Cathedral).

AN UNPAID LOAN

King Alfonso the Magnanimous received a loan from the Cathedral of Valencia of 136,430 salaries to finance the military expenses of the kingdom of Naples, and put the relics of the Crown of Aragon as a guarantee of return, including the chalice. Upon reaching due date and not being able to pay the debt, he delivered the relics and the Holy Chalice to the Cathedral of Valencia on March 18, 1437.

The delivery was made by Joan, Alfonso’s brother. The relic was in the cathedral until 1809, when Canon Pedro Vicente Calvo, fleeing the Napoleonic troops, transferred it to Alicante. Then due to the War of Independence they took it to Ibiza, Mallorca and finally in 1813 itreturned to the Cathedral of Valencia.

During the Spanish Civil War it was hidden outside of Valencia. It occurred during the assault and fire of the cathedral on July 21, 1936. Canon Elías Olmos Canalda saved the chalice by giving it to a trusted parishioner named María Sabina Suey. She hid itat her mother’s house on Calle Avellanas nº 3, 3º. Then the relic traveled to his brother’s house on Calle Pelayo No. 7 where it remained until October 1936. In January 1937 it returned to Calle Avellanas. And on June 29, 1937, it was moved to other relatives close to Carlet in the house of Bernardo Primo Alufre (today the street is called Santo Cáliz). After the civil war, on March 30, 1939 it returned once again to the Cathedral of Valencia.

Since then it has gone out for a walk only on a few occasions, in 1959 in commemoration of the seventeenth centenary of its arrival in Spain it made a pilgrimage visiting its old shelters. The itinerary started from its old shelter in San Juan de la Peña, passing through the others until arriving back in Valencia in July of the same year. It made another pilgrimage to Carlet (Valencia) in 1964 to celebrate the 25 years of its hiding there.

THE INDICATIONS THAT SUPPORT THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE CHALICE DE VALENCIA

Experts say this is the real Grail also because the Spanish monastery and its surroundings were the spot that described the poet Chretien de Troyes (the first who mentioned a grail) in his poetic stories. Apparently the description made in the poetry has great similarity with the building and the surroundings of Mount San Salvador in whose valley is precisely the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña.

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And not only, there are other tests that indicate this Grail as the best candidate. For example, at the base of the cup there is an inscription, a tiny Kufic text, but curiously in Arabic, of 17 millimeters, where it is written “resplendent” (hence it is related to the celestial stars). But for others the spelling says “God, the Savior” (read in Hebrew and vice versa). According to its supporters this would indicate that it is the one used by Jesus at the Last Supper.

However, some investigations by the University of Valencia (UPV) say that it is possible that the author of the inscription was a converted Jewish rabbi named Moshé Sefardí, or Pedro Alfonso (his “Christian” name in homage to his protector Alfonso I of whom he was his doctor) who had access to San Juan de la Peña where the Chalice was, since he was the doctor of King Alfonso I. Pedro was a translator and knew both the Hebrew and Arabic languages, as well as being an astronomer (an expert in astronomical tables and Arabic calendars). And curiously, in this period the decoration of the Chalice was completed with the insertion of a foot and some handles.

And as we have pointed out before, the chalice is also related to some coins minted in the period of King Alfonso I, which would confirm that Alfonso was actually Amfortas, the third custodian of the Holy Grail. Apparently the fact that he went to the monastery to take refuge to heal from his mortal wound would indicate that he had also taken it there before to be guarded by the monks.

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS
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Curiously, the first document written in relation to this grail are letters from King Martín I in which he asks the monks of the Monastery of San Juan de la Peña to deliver the Chalice, dated August 29 and September 23, 1399, for which there is evidence that the chalice was there (the other sites are assumptions transmitted orally or generated by other historical insights). The monks relented and handed over the chalice. Although the donation document states that the chalice was brought from Rome with a letter from San Lorenzo, that letter has never been found, so it continues to be information gathered from oral legend.

But according to supporters, a “physical” proof that Lorenzo sent the chalice to Spain exists. According to them, it would be the capital of the Cathedral of Jaca. In which through some carvings in the stone, the story of the legend is told. It is assumed that the iconographies belonged to the old cloister of the cathedral in the 11th century, between 1044 and 1076. Although there are no documents that can confirm the date of its construction because the archives suffered several fires in 1395 and 1450 so this information it is not verified. But although the date does not coincide, the inscription on the stone of the word SIXTVS refers to Pope Sixtus, so it is related to the legend of Lorenzo and the Grail.

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS
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In particular, the iconography would represent the legend of how the chalice arrived in Spain. On one of the faces Pope Sixtus II (by the inscription SIXTUS) gives an ordinance, on the next facet it is guessed that it is Lorenzo who delivers an object (the chalice is supposed) to a soldier and blesses it, in the third Lorenzo is imprisoned, and in the fourth that is a representation of Lorenzo being martyred.

THE LAST SUPPER BREAD PLATE

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The Sacred Catino of Genoa, was brought from the Holy Land in the First Crusade to Italy. It is a hexagonal plate of Egyptian green glass, once believed to be emerald. This is not considered the Grail, but rather a dish used at the Last Supper.

A LINGUISTIC CONFUSION

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The Holy Grail of the Monastery of Santa María de O’Cebreiro in Lugo, located in a village where one of the roads to Santiago passes. Guarded there since the 9th century near a hospital that shelters pilgrims. The legend was formed because of a miracle caused bythis grail, which during a Eucharist the bread and wine were turned into flesh and blood. Later the legend was carried by the North of Europe by the French and German pilgrims, being of inspiration to turn it into the true Holy Grail of the Last Supper, but it was due to a linguistic confusion since the inn of O ‘Cebreiro was dedicated to Saint Geraldo de Aurillac, whose name was pronounced Guiral, similar to grail, hence the association.

TWO WORTHLESS BOWLS

THE 10 MOST FAMOUS ALLEGED HOLY GRAILS
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The Chalice of Doña Urraca from the 11th century, according to the authors of the hypothesis who published a book where they explained its origin, this would be the true Holy Grail. They are two bowls of onyx of Roman origin of little value. According to the story, it was donated by a Fatimid caliph to the emir of the Taifa of Denia in 1054 and it was passed through the hands of kings until today, which is located in the Basilica of San Isidoro de León. However, the scarce historical validity of its research and the abundant errors of interpretation have made this grail never be considered valid to be a candidate for the position of the authentic one.

OTHER ALLEGED GRAILS

The Chalice of Antioch displayed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Found in Syria in the early 20th century, subsequent research shows it to be a forgery.

The Cup of Santa Isabel, from Hungary. After her death, miraculous cures were attributed to it.

The Ardagh Chalice was found in Ireland in the 8th century and is currently on display in the National Museum in Dublin.

The Achatschale, the agate bowl of the treasure of the Habsburgs in Vienna. It is from the fourth century from Constantinople or Trier. It is part of the imperial relics of the old Holy Roman Empire.

The Nanteos Vase is a medieval wooden bowl from the Nanteos Mansion in Wales. However, research has shown that it is from the fourteenth century and also the wood was not used for wine because it is porous.

THE GRAIL OF THE RIVER THAMES

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It is the penultimate to emerge. It did it less than a year ago when the news came out that the true Holy Grail had been found (as in all cases they say), along with the rest of the same immense treasure that we just talked about at the beginning. On that occasion it was also supposedly in England, but this time under the waters of the River Thames, outside London.

On that occasion it was Barrie-Jon Bower, also a 41-year-old archeology fan living in England who claimed to know where the Holy Grail was. Apparently it would be in a secret underground crypt under the River Thames, specifically in a section of recent artificial construction that crosses the Hounslow Heath district, in the far west of London.

According to his statements to the local newspaper The Sun, the mythical order of the Knights Templar returned from the crusades with sacred relics and treasures of gold and gems, among them would be the Holy Grail, which according to him is a stone and not a cup. They built this secret underground crypt to hide those treasures brought from the Holy Land. So there, under the concrete foundations of the small artificial dam, would be the vault of the secret crypt, the last resting place of the much sought after and coveted sacred chalice.

And in order to confirm his theory and find out if the secret crypt is really down there and the Holy Grail, he said that he has convinced an environmental agency to support his initiative, with the aim of draining the river in that section, according to the Ancient Origins portal. According to the geophysical teams with which he has carried out the investigation, they have cost him around 1,000 pounds sterling and now he plans to drain the river when he has the permits and the date, since the drainage scheduled for December 18 of last year was postponed for Adverse weather conditions.

In view of all this, everyone is determined that the Holy Grail has to be a cup or chalice (or a stone in the shape of a cup or a stone embedded in a cup, so that it could contain liquid) of great economic value (with the exception of the two bowls of onice from Doña Urraca).

The most general idea is that it was made of some precious mineral, agate, emerald or Egyptian green crystal and gold. But would it be plausible that a humble and poor man like Jesus was in AD 33 would drink with his equally poor friends at a banquet with a cup of such value?

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