Long time lurker, finally registered primarily for the purpose of posting on this issue.
My username is indeed taken from this topic, as should be obvious.
I could have added this to the existing grail thread, but I took the liberty of deciding that the topic merits its own thread. Mods will either validate that judgment, or merge this with an existing thread
Let me tell you where I “sit” before I tell you where I stand, so to speak….
I am a practicing and believing Roman Catholic and graduate of Catholic Biblical School in Denver, so that tempers my persuasions.
I don’t “take mythology at face value”, but I believe that mythology and fact merge in this case.
I have searched all the forums for “Valencia”…I’m surprised it appears to be absent, at least as it relates to the Holy Grail. Well, maybe not so surprised…. much of the world is unaware that a solid Holy Grail candidate is hidden in plain sight. The apparent lack of discussion on the Valencia grail on these forums is why I decided on a separate thread….
A little known fact is there is a “holy grail” candidate in existence today for which a very credible case can be made.
It resides in a church in Valencia, Spain.
It is not made of metal, but stone (agate), and it is a simple cup, not an ornate chalice.
I personally believe this cup is indeed THE cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.
A very interesting book was published on the subject by Janice Bennett in 2003: “St. Laurence and The Holy Grail: The Story of The Holy Chalice of Valencia”
She notes that Indiana Jones could have saved himself trouble by visiting a small Chapel in Valencia
No guillotine traps or invisibles bridges there; you can visit the Chapel and view the cup with no risk to life and limb during the posted hours. Very little hype, but there it is…
There have been some remarks in this thread to the effect of “There is no Holy Grail” or “I don’t believe in the Holy Grail”.
Let’s consider the Last Supper Grail (as opposed to the “catch Christ’s blood at the Crucifixion” grail). For clarity, I’m going to call this the “Holy CUP” rather than the “Holy GRAIL”.
This IS a historical object … or at least was.
If one accepts that from a purely *secular* standpoint that the Last Supper described in the Gospels was a historical event (and plenty of non-Christians do believe this), then Christ DID use a cup. This cup may or may not have been lost to history
The Joseph of Aramethea story of catching Christ’s blood at the crucifixion (in a vessel called the “Holy Grail”) is medieval in origin and does not have basis in history. It falls in the category of “legend”. The same is true of the Arthurian legends, Rosslyn Chapel / masonic stories, and the like….
What IS agreed up on is:
- The Valencia cup is at least old enough to be the Holy Cup used at the Last Supper; archaeologically, it does date to the right time period.
- It is consistent with the utensils used by Jews at the Passover. Ornate, stemmed metal vessels would not have been used ("It would not be made of gold..."). Stone was common material for drinking cups; wood was considered ritually impure.
Here are the common objections, and answers:
Agate was expensive, and Jesus and his Apostles would not have had access to such items.
: The Last Supper was described as taking place in an “Upper Room”. In that time period, a building with a second floor would have been owned by someone wealthy.
Though Scripture does not specify the identity of the Apostles’ benefactor that night, tradition holds that the Upper Room was St. Mark’s family home. We do know that St. Mark’s father owned an Olive Oil press, and there was wealth in the family as a result.
Also, we know from Scripture that Jesus had supporters in the Sanhedrin, notably Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea. Scripture tells us that Joseph even provided the tomb for Jesus. The wife of Pilate also was an ally. Any of these people could plausibly have been responsible for providing the means to facilitate a Passover Supper using expensive vessels in a house with a second floor.
The cup would have been lost; no one at the time would have had the presence of mind to save it.
Relics were important in Christianity all the way back to the early Church, and based on Christ’s original instructions (“Do this in memory of me”), Mass was celebrated by the very earliest Christians (often in crypts or tombs, to avoid being discovered).
It certainly would have been only logical to retrieve THE cup that Christ used when he first taught the Apostles this “new and improved Passover ritual”. If it belonged to St, Mark, it would not have been difficult to retrieve. After all, being made of agate, it would not likely have been carelessly lost or broken.
In the early Church, records show that masses said by Peter and his successors in Rome specifically used the phrase “and then He took THIS cup” in the consecration, while the other Churches would use the form “and he took THE cup”. This supports the tradition that the actual Holy Cup (or what was believed to be that cup) was used in Rome up until the year 265.
The extent fourth century writings of St. Jerome also make mention of the Holy Cup, and his detailed description does match the Valencia Cup very nicely.
The history of the cup becomes intertwined with St, Laurence sometime in the 4th Century. The writings of Donato speak to this.
Its history after the 3rd century resembles Indiana Jones adventures in some respects, as it passed through many hands to protect it from Roman and Muslim plunders. The grail quest yarns spun in the Middle Ages could well have been at least partially inspired by this actual history. This continued all the way to the 20th century, when during the Spanish Civil war the cup was hidden by various people in closets and secret compartments to keep it from malicious hands.
Sometime in the 13th or 14th century, the cup was mounted on a gold-handled chalice. This is the way we see the Cup today.
“What does this cup look like?”
“Well, there’s a picture of it right here”
Again, note that the actual Holy Cup is the top stone cup only; the ornate chalice and alabaster base is the part that was added in the middle ages.
For what it’s worth, Pope John Paul II became the first Pope to celebrate Mass with the cup in 400 years. Then Pope Benedict XVI used it, and very significantly, he used the defitite article in his consecration: “He took THIS cup”.
There is not 100% proof that the Valencia Cup is THE Holy Cup, but there is ample history and ancient tradition to support it, and no particular evidence that it is NOT the cup. The history and archaeology is more cogent than that of True Cross fragments, for example.
The one other Grail candidate of any credibility is the Antioch Chalice, dug out of a well in 1910. However, modern scholarship has dated it to the 5th or 6th century (not old enough), and consensus opinion today is that it was used as a lamp, not a drinking vessel. Here it is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:
The validity of relics is not a matter of “doctrine” or required belief in the Catholic Church, but the Church does place value on relics because they are a tangible, visible reminders of the otherwise unseen reality on which we base our faith. This is similar to photographs of loved ones, or even locks of hair from deceased family members. Even if I misplace the lock of hair from my deceased wife, it does not take anything away from her. It’s just that these objects help me remember her in ways that appeal to my human senses. The actual Holy Cup is a similar reminder of the most important sequence of events in History.
Along these lines, there have been no miraculous or supernatural properties attributed to this cup of which I’m aware. No “magic, superstitious hocus pocus”… It won’t heal a gunshot wound. But – Christians have faith that what the Cup represents CAN bring eternal life, one that does not require remaining in a cave for centuries to achieve.
Thanks for reading; I hope this adds yet another dimension of (hopefully valuable) insight to this forum….