On the trail of the Holy Grail
From the monastery of San Juan de la Peña in the Pyrenees to the city of Valencia,
passing through Zaragoza.
With it, John Paul II in 1982 and Benedict XVI in 2006, celebrated.
The Holy See nominates Valencia “city of the Sacred Chalice”.
View the gallery HERE
The tradition tells that the Chalice was used by the Apostles in Jerusalem even after the Last Supper of Jesus. Peter would have brought it first to Antioch and then to Rome and it was used here by numerous Popes for the Rite until Pope Sixtus II (257-258). Before being put to death during the persecutions of the Emperor Valerian, he would have handed it to the deacon Lorenzo (the future San Lorenzo). Before suffering martyrdom too, managed to bring it to his native land, in Spain in Huesca (then Osca), through Precelio, a Spanish Christian who was in Rome (this episode is told in the ‘Life of San Lorenzo’ written by San Donato in the VI century).
Nothing more was known about the relic until 1134, when a canon of Zaragoza wrote that he had seen the relic in the Benedictine monastery of San Juan de la Peña in the Pyrenees describing it as “The Chalice of the Last Supper used by Jesus Christ ” (it can be referred to it a document of the year 1071, preserved in the said monastery, which mentions a precious stone chalice).
When king Martin I of Aragon came to know it, he convinced the monks to give it to him (of this there is documentation in the Archive of the Crown of Aragon in Barcelona dated September 26 1399). Brought to the royal palace of Alajaferia in Zaragoza he remained safe for twenty years or so.
On the king’s death, (according to a document from the Archive of the Kingdom of Valencia), his widow Margarida of Prades gave it to the city of Valencia.
In 1424 King Alfonso the Magnanimous thought to translate the Chalice from the royal palace to the Cathedral of Valencia (1437), donated to her by the king. The Holy Grail never left its new location, except in certain cases such as the spanish occupation of the Napoleonic army (1809-1812) and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to save it from possible robberies.
In 1959 and 1994 it was given for a short period to the monastery of San Juan de la Peña, the place that first had historically accepted it.
Since then it has been a relic highly venerated by the faithful. It was visited by Saint John XXIII, who granted plenary indulgence on his feast day, Saint John Paul II, who celebrated the mass with the Holy Chalice in Valencia on November 8 1982 and Pope Benedict XVI, who celebrated the Eucharist on the occasion of the V World Meeting of Families, on July 8 2006.
After the Holy See officially nominated Valencia “city of the Holy Grail”, in honor of this recognition, the city celebrates the jubilee year of the Holy Grail every five years.
(by Marisa Uberti)
Estudio sobre el Santo Cáliz de la Catedral de Valencia,
Valencia 1969; 2ª Ed. revisada, Valencia 1984.
St. Laurence and the Holy Grail: The Story of the Holy Chalice of Valencia,
Denver (Colorado) 2000.
Die Entdeckung des Heiligen Grals.
Das Ende einer Suche, München 2003.
“El Santo Grial de Valencia”, en Macconi, M. y Montesno, M. (Ed.),
Il Santo Graal, un mito senza tempo, dal Medioevo al cinema. Atti del Convengno Internazionale di Studi su
“La reliquie tra storia e mito: il Sacro Catino di Genova e il Santo Graal, Genova 2002.
Sánchez Navarrete, M.,
El Santo Cáliz de la Cena, (Santo Grial) venerado en la Catedral de Valencia,
Valencia 1994. Contiene una completa bibliografía.
Olmos Canalda, E.,
Cómo fue salvado el Santo Cáliz de la Cena. Rutas del Santo Grial desde Jerusalén hasta Valencia.
6ª Ed. Valencia 1949.
Oñate Ojeda, J. A.,
El Santo Grial. El Santo Cáliz de la cena, venerado en la Sta. Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Valencia.
Su historia, su culto, sus destinos, 3ª Ed., Valencia 1990.
Sancho Andreu, J. (Ed.),
El Santo Cáliz. Historia, leyenda y culto.
Generalitat Valenciana, Valencia 2006.
Sancho Andreu, J.,
Il Santo Calice riafferma la verità dell’Eucaristia.
L’Osservatore Romano, 5 de julio de 2006.