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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”.

Passover, April 9, 32 A.D. (John 6:4), Jesus lifted up his eyes recognizing a great multitude takes two fish and five barley loaves feeding 5,000 men not counting women and children and afterwards, gathered up twelve baskets of leftover fragments.

Following this great sign, that evening, Jesus walks on the water (sea of Capernaum) and when he got into the boat, the boat miraculously was on dry land (John 6:21). Two great signs in one recorded incidence.

On April 10, 32 A.D., the next day, the mass of people realizing that Jesus and His Apostles had left the area, took rides in boats that had arrived from Tiberias and went across the sea seeking Jesus.

Upon catching up with Jesus, the throng of people were in great wonder how Jesus got there without them knowing it and so quickly, Jesus knew what they were thinking, as they wanted more signs. The question was asked, "So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform?" John 6:30

Jesus responds giving the "Bread of Life" discourse (John 35-71) to include these words, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." John 6:53-55

Through the next and last year of Jesus public Ministry, Jesus takes His Apostles on a journey that leads to Jerusalem, there, Jesus tells His Apostles he will be turned over by the Jews to be crucified by the Romans. Matthew 16:21-28

On Passover (Thursday night) 2 April, 33 A.D., at one point during the Last Supper, Matthew 26:28 states, "And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

The Psalmist wrote, "I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD..., (Psalms 116:13)" Why is the the cup at Mass the "cup of Salvation"? Because of the consecration from wine to the Blood of Christ. Consider what St. Paul writes, "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? (1 Corinthians 10:16)? The answer to both questions is yes. At Mass we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the consecration.

In the garden, at one point Jesus sweated a bloody sweat (Hematidrosis) because of how grieved He was knowing the coming Passion (Luke 22:24).

This is the clear foundation of New Testament writings.

From the cross we read, "But one of the soldiers (St. Longinus) pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water (John 19:34)." St. Longinus previously having been wounded in a past battle, he was blind in one eye. He was healed when he pierced the side of Jesus with his spear and some of the blood and water from Jesus fell into his eyes. Upon his healing, St. Longinus gives his profession of faith, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Recognizing the power of the Blood of Christ, gathered a portion of blood-soaked earth at the foot of the cross.

Clearly, the Blood of Christ brings healing, body, mind, and spirit. We are cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb. "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1st John 1:5-7)."

The Sacrifice of Jesus as the Lamb of God ends the animal sacrifices and the old Testament Covenants. Hebrews 9:12-15 states, "he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant."

Because of this foundation related to the Blood of Christ and the affect this has on liberation, it is only part of Christian veneration to honor those things that Jesus used such as the cup of Christ at the Last Supper, the Holy Grail.

In the search for the Holy Grail, who can forget the story of Indiana Jones and his search for the Holy Grail? Well, sorry Indy, this is the story of the Holy Grail.

There are many other legends and stories surrounding the Holy Grail coming from the Knights of the Round Table in England to other countries like France and Germany.

We start our journey in Jerusalem, just like everything else associated with Jesus, places that Jesus was known to perform the greatest of miracles, the early Christians build Shrines and Churches in honor of those events. You can go to the Holy Land and find these places today and many pilgrims go there every year.

There are many stories and legends when, where and how the Holy Grail traveled throughout Europe.

According to tradition, the Holy Grail was taken to Rome initially with St. Peter. According to this tradition, the Cenacle (Acts 1:13) , the room where the Last Supper took place , the Holy Cup used by Jesus was the property of the family of St. Mark the Evangelist. St. Mark's written Gospel was recognized through the authority of St. Peter, Mark served as interpreter for St. Peter while in Rome.

It is probable that St. Mark would give the Holy Grail to St. Peter recognizing St. Peter's authority and closeness to Jesus.

Taken to Rome, the Holy Grail was maintained through the successors of Peter until the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Valerian (258).

Due to the extreme danger of the precious relic falling into the hands of the Romans, St. Sixtus II, knowing that he would soon be martyred, entrusted the cup to his treasurer and deacon, St. Laurence.

St. Laurence in turn gave it to a Spanish soldier with the request to take it to Huesca, Spain, where he knew that his family would care for it.

From this we learn that the Holy Grail went from Rome and was taken to Spain when in 1055, a unique miracle takes place. In the Middle Ages, great Eucharistic Miracles began to be reported throughout Europe. The Lord Jesus certainly wanted to counter the heretics who began challenging the truth of the Catholic Church. Many times such a miracle was taking place through the consecration of a doubting priest.

Father Ivorra Bernat Oliver was one such priest who doubted transubstantiation (1055 A.D. just 11 years following the Schism of the Greek Orthodox in 1054). Father Oliver reports that while he was celebrating Mass, at the moment of consecration, a miracle occurred at that point of the Mass. The wine contained in the chalice changed in appearance to bright red blood which spilt out onto the corporal, the altar cloth, flowing down to the ground.

Father Oliver, afraid and excited at the same time, informed his local bishop (Urgell), St. Ermengol who after verifying the miracle, reported the events to Pope Sergius IV in Rome. The Pope signed a Pontifical Bull to certify the true miracle.

The relics of the miracle and the papal document are placed in the Church of Ivorra called San Cugat, and history reminds of of this event taking place in 1055 beginning with the Bishop Guillem de Urgell.

Now you might be wondering what this miracle might have with the Holy Grail? Today, in the gothic chapel of the “Santo Caliz” (“Holy Chalice”) in the city’s cathedral (Holy Chalice of Valencia), a miraculous chalice identified by tradition as the Holy Grail, is kept and shown for the veneration of the faithful. To this very day, the altar cloth with blood stains and relics were given from Pope Sergius IV to St. Ermengol and maintained in a gothic reliquary since 1426.

In the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation, especially with the heretical teachings of John Calvin who rejected the Holy Mass and the consecration of the Eucharist, the Holy Grail caused much interest.

Since 1663, a sanctuary was built to increase opportunity for pilgrims to honor the Lord Jesus and the miracle taking place there reaffirming the sign of the Holy Grail. Sorry Indiana, by drinking from the cup does not bring you eternal life, but it brings you to the one who does offer eternal life. On the second Sunday of Easter, the Feast "La Santa Duda", a reference to the doubt of Father Oliver, is celebrated.

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”.

Thanks to their personal strength and dedication, in 1982 the St. Pope John Paul II, became the first Pope to say Mass with the Holy Grail since St. Sixtus II in the third century, and today Christians worldwide are able to venerate this very special cup.

The story of the Holy Chalice of Valencia is a beautiful reminder of the importance of this sacrament in the life of the Church, so evident in the care the vessel used by Christ to institute the Eucharist has received throughout the ages.

According to Janice Bennett, author of "Lawrence and the Holy Grail", MS Bennett states, "Only the Holy Chalice of Valencia, with its upper cup of agate stone, fits St. Jerome's description of the cup used by Christ for the consecration. When one examines its tradition and history in detail, it is quite evident that everything makes perfect sense. I don't believe that anything could ever disprove the theory that the Holy Grail is indeed the Holy Chalice of Valencia, Spain."

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."


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