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World Association of International Studies

Post Holy Grail in Valencia?
Created by John Eipper on 01/24/22 3:39 AM

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Holy Grail in Valencia? (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 01/24/22 3:39 am)

The search for the Holy Grail has been one of the great fascinations of humanity, especially during the Middle Ages, because it was believed to be a symbol of immortality and divinity.

The age-old theme has made rivers of ink run, creating a niche for itself on the big screen, and more recently, even in video games. Characters as varied as King Arthur and Indiana Jones have tried to claim the coveted treasure. Even an occult section of the Nazis, created by Heinrich Himmler and called the Deutsches Ahnenerbe, became obsessed with the relic, to the point of being completely convinced that the Chalice of the Last Supper would make the Third Reich invincible and definitely strengthen his idea of ​​the racial superiority of the Aryan people.

There is a sacred cup in the Mediterranean, specifically in the Cathedral of Valencia. That is, at least, the 2019 thesis of a Spanish PhD in Art History, Ana Mafé. The researcher documented through various sources (from writings to frescoes) the chalice's route from Jerusalem, Rome, Naples and San Juan de la Peña, in Aragón. Her research, inspired in Panofsky's methodology, led her to conclusion that if there is a cup, which was on a Jewish table 2,000 years ago, it is the one located in the Cathedral of Valencia.

Mafé published the book The Holy Grail in 2020, which synthesizes the 1,200 pages of her thesis, to bring it closer to the general public. Another researcher, Gabriel Songel, Professor of Design at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), also published the book El Cáliz in 2020, corroborating that the Valencian cup had been in Aragón. He found the oldest known reference to the Holy Chalice to date, in a manuscript of the reliquary of the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, which makes it more likely that the Chalice of Valencia is the authentic one. What is clear (and no one has been able to refute it until now), is that the Chalice of Valencia is an agate, a gem that is only found in Palestine, and was carved in a very distinctive way around the first century of our era.

These studies have brought growing popularity to the Valencia Cathedral cup, and activities around it have proliferated in recent years. From the first International Congress of the Holy Grail in which UNESCO was asked to declare the relic a World Heritage Site, to the promotion of the Camino del Santo Grial hiking route, etc. Many efforts have been made to attract cultural tourism.

The activity with the most potential that is being developed around the chalice is the Camino del Santo Grial, taking the Camino de Santiago as an inspiration. A visit to Jerusalem is proposed, where it was used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, and to Rome, because it remained there for almost three centuries until Pope Sixtus II entrusted its custody to his deacon Saint Lawrence, a native of Huesca, to protect it from persecution decreed against the Christians by the emperor Valeriano in the second half of the third century, who took it to his land. But the route itself begins at the mountain pass of Somport, or at the monastery of San Juan de la Peña in Jaca (Huesca). This is where the relic brought by Saint Lawrence was hidden in the year 258, until the King of Aragón, Martín I the Human, took it to the Aljafería Palace in Zaragoza, in 1399. The path continues through Teruel until it reaches Valencia, where it would have been delivered by King Alfonso V the Magnanimous, in 1424, to settle a debt he owed to the Seo, according to Professor Vicente Pons, canon archivist and librarian of the Cathedral.

Finally, at the international level, symbols play a very important role. The search for the Holy Grail is one of the symbols of European identity. It is not only a medieval theme, but it is the symbol that reflects universal transcendence and divinity. At the moment, in addition to the layout of the pilgrimage, they already have a greeting: "Peace and love with you, light on the road." It is an itinerary for athletes, pilgrims and for all those people who want to find themselves on a journey full of culture and spirituality.

JE comments:  Ronald Hilton (our Founder) was fascinated by antiquity, Spain, and religious art.  Consoly, you've done him proud!  One quick chronology question:  if the Grail has been in Valencia for so long, why has the search for it continued?  I presume there are competing candidates for this elusive distinction.

(Please excuse the glitch in our website, which lists your residence as "Spain-Canary."  Consoly León Arias lives in Manzanares, in the heartland of Castilla-La Mancha.)

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  • More on the Valencian Holy Grail (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary 01/25/22 3:51 AM)
    To answer John E's question, it may be surprising or even incredible, but the truth is that until 2019, no one had carried out a rigorous and focused study on the Chalice in the Valencia Cathedral. Hence, there was no absolute certainty that the Holy Grail is the one located in Spain.

    JE comments: I should read the Mafé book for the details, but it is surprising that no one thought to undertake a study prior to this Millennium.  It seems that Franco in particular would have relished the prestige of having the Grail in his custody. Might Valencia's distinction as a Republican city have lessened his enthusiasm?

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  • Holy Grail in Valencia or Leon? Both? Neither? (from Gary Moore) (John Eipper, USA 02/06/22 7:35 AM)

    Gary Moore writes:

    Regarding the recent announcement on WAIS that scholarship has confirmed Christianity's long-lost Holy Grail to now be curated in Valencia (Consoly León Arias, January 24th), I was surprised because I thought another Holy Grail had been announced not long previously as being curated in León.

    Puzzled, I found the solution in the following tabloid headline:


    (LEÓN GOT IT IN 2014)

    (Or did Valencia steal it from León?)


    Could this be why the Grail, inexplicably, appears to be in two places at once?

    JE comments:  One medievalist at the link above claims that the Grail is a 12th-century invention, and that you cannot look for something that doesn't exist.  A "Holy Grail" has become a catch-all metaphor for something both magical and unobtainable.  Nothing fits this description better than, well, the Holy Grail.

    Yet this doesn't mean the debate and the searching, so ingrained in Christian culture, will stop.

    Next up, Columbus's bones?  Seville, Santo Domingo and Havana all lay claim to this honor, which in our current climate may not be much of one (an honor).

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