The Guardian Angel: The Holy Grail of Valencia

The Holy Grail of Valencia is the Chalice used by Jesus in His Last Supper with the apostles to consecrate and offer the Eucharistic wine that is His Blood, but it has also been identified as the cup in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the Blood of Jesus on the Cross.

This precious object has always been at the center of extraordinary stories and novels like the legend of the Knights of the Round Table in England, the stories of Perceval in France, and Parzival in Germany of the twelfth and thirteenth century.

This genre was used by Wagner in a Christianesoteric perspective and at the end of the twentieth century the fantastic novels of B. Cornwell favored the birth of the editorial trend still alive today.

The Holy Grail of Valencia is the Chalice used by Jesus in His Last Supper with the apostles to consecrate and offer the Eucharistic wine that is His Blood, but it has also been identified as the cup in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the Blood of Jesus on the Cross.

There are a number of variants to indicate the Grail: San Greal, Holy Grail, Sangreal in England, Sanct Graal and Saint Graal in the antique and modern French, Gral and Graal in German. The “grolla” of the Aostan valley is lexically related to the grail and similar to the Latin gradalis o gratalis, “vase” or glass.

From many sources, we know that a few centuries after the death of Christ the Holy Grail was being shown to Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem. According to the account of Arculo, a French bishop who lived in the Holy Land in 720 A.D, the Chalice in which the Lord Himself consecrated His own Blood was preserved in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

The venerable Bede adds that the cup was protected by a net and it could be touched and kissed through an opening. No one knows exactly when the Chalice was taken from Jerusalem; most probably as far back as the seventh century.

Today, in the gothic chapel of the “Santo Caliz” (“Holy Chalice”) in the city’s cathedral, a miraculous chalice identified by tradition as the Holy Grail, is kept and shown for the veneration of the faithful. This precious item is constructed in different portions: the inverted upper part of a Cornelian chalice constitutes the base, the stem is enriched by precious stones and the upper part is a cup, also of Cornelian. These parts are attributed to different eras; the cup is the most antique and the most difficult to date and constitutes the most interesting part.

On the base there is an inscription in Arabic of disputed interpretation, but that could be another proof to determine the date. According to professor Salvador Antunano, “When we know the mystery of the Chalice of the Holy Grail we realize that in it there is nothing enigmatic or esoteric. The history of this precious Chalice concerns the most dramatic, most sublime episode ever lived by humanity: the history of the Word made Man and Eucharist”.

The New Testament The Gospels

The New Testament accounts describe the Holy Eucharist as Jesus gave it to us. The term "bread from heaven" becomes fully clear only when we reach the Revelation to John. The Gospels Christ said at Capernaum. Jn 6:51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My Flesh." Jewish life is rich in symbolism. The Seder table is filled with symbolic foods. Jesus said, Mt 26:23 "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with Me, will betray Me." He referred to the urhatz, the first washing; slaves eat quickly without stopping to wash their hands, but now Jews wash their hands in a bowl of warm water as a symbol of their freedom. The moror, bitter herbs which remind Jews that the Egyptians made their ancestors' lives bitter with hard labor, are dipped in charoset, a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, and wine, to recall that even hard lives have their sweet moments. The matzo is the bread of haste that the Hebrews ate as they fled from Egypt. The karpas, green vegetables, represent the coming of Spring with its renewal of life, symbolizing the journey from slavery to the promised land; Jews dip them in salt water before eating to recall the tears shed along the way. If Jesus had said the Holy Eucharist was a symbol the Jews at Capernaum would instantly have accepted it. The Jews knew that He was speaking literally. Jn 6:52 "How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?" On other occasions when our Lord spoke of Himself as a Jn 10:9 "door" or a Jn 15:1 "vine," nobody said, "How can this man be made of wood?" or "How can this man be a plant?" They recognized these as metaphors. But when Jesus insisted, Jn 6:53 "Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life." The Jews who heard this said, Jn 6:60 "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" They remembered God's command to Noah and all mankind, Gn 9:4 "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." God spoke more forcefully to His chosen people. Lv 17:10 "I will set my face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people." It was only after Christ's redemptive sacrifice and the Holy Spirit's enlightenment that the Apostles saw the full meaning of our Father's next words. Lv 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life." In the Old Covenant our Father in heaven had commanded His children not to eat the blood of animals because we are not to participate in the life of animals. Animals, having no immortal souls, are lower than man in the order of created nature. However, in the New and Everlasting Covenant we consume the Blood of Christ to participate in Christ's eternal life. Jesus knew we would need a lot of help to become accustomed to the Holy Eucharist. He performed the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes in the dim light of the original Passover sacrifice Ex 12:6 and of His Crucifixion. Mt 27:45 He performed the four great Eucharistic actions: He took the bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His apostles to feed the people: Mt 14:15 "When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.' Jesus said, 'They need not go away; you give them something to eat.' They said to him, 'We have only five loaves here and two fish.' And he said, 'Bring them here to me.' Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over." The three Gospel narratives of the Last Supper are absolutely consistent. Matthew: 26:26 "This is My Body." 26:27 "This is My Blood…" Mark: 14:22 "This is My Body." 14:24 "This is My Blood…" Luke: 22:19 "This is My Body." 22:20 "This … is the New Covenant in My Blood." Jesus' next words instituted the Catholic priesthood: Lk 22:19 "Do this in remembrance of Me." Jesus assured the Apostles that the Holy Eucharist is a reflection of the heavenly banquet. Mt 26:29 "I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." After His resurrection, Jesus walked with two disciples to Emmaus. When they arrived, He celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for them; Lk 24:30 "While He was at table with them, He took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them." Acts of the Apostles The apostles celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Acts 2:46 "Day by day, attending the Temple together and breaking bread in their homes…" The Apostles were visibly religious Jews. They wore the kippah (prayer hat), the tallit (prayer shawl with fringes) and the tephillin (phylacteries). Long after Jesus ascended to the Father, Peter protested that he had never in his life eaten anything unkosher. Acts 10:14 When these Jewish Apostles remembered Christ's command, Lk 22:19 "Do this in remembrance of Me," they added it to their synagogue worship. They began with synagogue prayer and Scripture readings, and then went to their homes to celebrate the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood. To this very day, the Introductory Rite and Liturgy of the Word come directly from Jewish synagogue worship. The Liturgy of the Eucharist comes directly from the Apostles' breaking bread in their homes. At Troas, Paul spoke all night, but he made sure to receive the Holy Eucharist. Acts 20:7 "On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the morrow; and he prolonged his speech until midnight." Acts 20:11 "And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed." On the Adriatic Sea, at dawn, Paul celebrated Mass for 276 people. Acts 27:35 "...he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves." The Epistles Acts 20:11 "When Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten…" St. Paul explained clearly what "breaking bread" meant. 1 Cor 10:16 "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the Blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ?" St. Paul continued, 1 Cor 11:27 "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord." St. Paul in these words confirmed Catholic teaching that the "bread … of the Lord" is truly Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and that the "cup of the Lord" is the same substance: "Whoever … eats the bread or drinks the cup … will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord." St. Paul added, 1 Cor 11:29 "For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the Body eats and drinks judgment upon himself." If we receive the Holy Eucharist without acknowledging, at least in our hearts, that it is His true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, we send ourselves to hell. The Revelation to John In the beginning God had said of marriage, Gen 2:24 "Therefore a man … cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." Jesus assured us, Jn 6:56 "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." God prepared us first through natural marriage and then through the Holy Eucharist for the supernatural marriage to come at the end of time, Rev 20:7 "For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride [the Church] has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed in … the righteous deeds of the saints." The Holy Eucharist, through which Christ abides in us and we in Him, will be our wedding feast. Rev 19:9 "Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb."