The Holy Grail refers to the chalice that Jesus used at the Last Supper. We read about this sacred cup in Scripture:
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. 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.”
Legend also says that St. Joseph of Arimathea used the Holy Grail to collect Jesus’ blood at the Crucifixion. Because of its significance at the Last Supper and in our salvation, the Holy Grail is one of the most highly-regarded relics in the history of Christianity. While we can’t pinpoint exactly what happened to this majestic treasure, various legends hold theories as to what happened to it.
In the book A History of the Church in 100 Objects, Mike and Grace Aquilina share a legend which says that the Holy Grail has been in Spain since the 200s.
However, many treasured objects hold the title of “the Holy Grail,” with medieval literature and artwork making reference to this precious chalice.
The most famous legend about the Holy Grail was written by Chrétien de Troyes, a French poet from the 12th century who was known as the first writer to mention the Holy Grail. His unfinished work Perceval: The Story of the Grail, is also the first work to associate the Holy Grail with the Eucharist, describing the Grail as being carried in procession the way one would carry a monstrance. This veneration of the Holy Grail was accompanied by a relic from Jesus’ Passion, the spear that pierced His side.
Perceval was never completed, but the writers and artists who came after it continued to depict the Holy Grail in various ways, leading to additional legends about the fate of the chalice from the Last Supper.
To learn more about the many legends associated with the Holy Grail of Jesus and other fascinating Church treasures, check out A History of the Church in 100 Objects, sold here.