Many rumors have circulated over the years about the existence of the Holy Grail. Does it really exist and if it does, what exactly is it and does it really hold special powers?
According to Spanish researchers, Magarita Torres, a medieval history teacher at the University of Leóne and historian Jose Manuel Ortega del Rio, the Holy Grail has been identified. They believe it is the chalice that Jesus used to drink wine at the Last Supper. The same chalice that Jesus told his followers represented his blood. This chalice they say, is the one that sits encased in glass in the San Isidro Basilica in León, Spain.
In a newly released book entitled Kings of the Grail written by Torres and del Rio they claim, "The onyx chalice itself is contained within another antique cup known as the Chalice of Doña Urruca, which sits in León's basilica of Saint Isidore.”
They also found two Egyptian parchments “at the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo” that speak of the chalice used by Jesus and appears to back up their claim.
"Those parchments told of how Muslims took the sacred cup from the Christian community in Jerusalem to Cairo.
The historians say it was then passed to Denia, an emir who helped the Egyptians when suffering due to famine. It is believed the chalice then went into the possession of “Christian King Ferdinand I of Castile.” According to Agence France-Presse, this new find was previously known as the goblet of the Infanta Dona Urraca, the king’s daughter. It is believed to be the same cup Pope Benedict used during a mass at the Valencia Cathedral in 2006.
Some people believe it is still at the cathedral but the historians say it has been in San Isidro Basilica since the 11th century. The chalice is believed to have been made between 200 BC and 100 AD. Torres and del Río say that “the first 400 years of the chalice's history remain something of a mystery” and are not sure whether this chalice was used by Christ. However, they still insist that this is the cup Jesus used.
"The only chalice that could be considered the chalice of Christ is that which made the journey to Cairo and then from Cairo to León - and that is this chalice," said Torres.
Over the years, people have speculated about the Holy Grail. For instance in the 12th century, Chrétien de Troyes wrote in Perceval, le Conte du Graal (The Story of the Grail) that it was actually a fruit bowl while Wolfram von Echenback (1170-1220), who was a poet and knight, believed it must be a stone vase. Still others believe the Holy Grail is likely somewhere in Jerusalem and even a cathedral in Genoa, Italy.
It is also believed by some that the famous object was once in the hands of the Knights Templar. And still others like Roger Sherman Loomis, Alfred Nutt, and Jessie Weston believed the idea of the grail was only a Celtic myth. Daniel Scavone, author and history professor at the University of southern Indiana believes the Holy Grail is really the Shroud of Turin.
The idea that the Holy Grail is a golden cup led to the discovery of 200 of them. The cup that Torres and del Rio say is the real Holy Grail is made of gold, agate and onyx.
When news of this find became public, people flocked to the Saint Isidore Basilica’s museum to see it – so many that according to museum operator, Raquel Jaen, the cup was removed because the room where it sat was far too small. He added that there is a plan to find a larger space that can hold such large crowds.