Tips by Dr. Lori

The Holy Grail Lost Treasure

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Today, the term "Holy Grail" is used to describe something that is hotly pursued or highly sought after. Back in the Middle Ages, the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail described sacred Christian relics. The Holy Grail was known to be a holy cup or chalice that was used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper prior to his Crucifixion. It was also believed that this Holy Grail relic was the same cup that Joseph of Arimathea used to catch Jesus Christ's dripping blood at the Crucifixion. While there is little evidence to connect the Holy Grail to the Vikings in the middle ages, it is believed that as early as the 1200s AD the medieval knights went on a quest to find the holy relic often depicted in medieval art as a silver footed chalice. The Holy Grail was a much older relic than the famed Viking artifact, the Bayeux Tapestry.

The Holy Grail not only was associated with the Last Supper as a drinking cup, but it was also crucial to the celebration of the Eucharist in the Christian mass ceremony. Also, the Holy Grail is an important artifact as it relates to Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.

Where is it?

The earliest record of the Holy Grail appears in the account of the 7th Century Anglo-Saxon pilgrim Arculf who described a two-handled silver chalice from the Last Supper. The pilgrim wrote that he saw and touched the relic as it was in a reliquary in a chapel near Jerusalem between the Basilica of Golgotha and the Martyrium. The pint measurement on the chalice was written in the language used in Gaul during the lifetime of Christ. This is the only time that there was a mention of the Holy Grail relic residing in the Holy Land.

The Knights Templar

By the early 1300s, the Knights Templar was the group that was thought to have defended and protected the Holy Grail. Many believe that the Knights Templar unearthed the Holy Grail while occupying the Temple Mount. When I teach early Christian art and history, I remind people that it is possible that the Holy Grail once secured by the Knights Templar was at some point in time relocated to other parts of the world using their knights' extensive network of partners, supporters, etc. The Knights Templar were the defenders of the Grail castle and also worshiped the Shroud of Turin and other famous Christian relics. Based on its association with the Knights Templar, in my research and that of many others, it is possible that the Holy Grail could be the famous lost treasure of Oak Island, Nova Scotia where the longest treasure hunt on record continues today.

The Holy Grail was supposedly stolen from the Church of the Bucoleon during the Fourth Crusade, circa 1202-04 and sent from Constantinople (present day Istanbul, Turkey) to Troyes by Bishop Garnier de Trainel in 1204. Remarkably, the Holy Grail was recorded as located in Troyes in 1610. Unfortunately, the holy Christian relic disappeared sometime during the French Revolution, circa 1789-99.

King Arthur's Court

Arthurian legends claim that Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail to Glastonbury, England during his lifetime. King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table became associated with the quest for the Holy Grail in the medieval period. During the 1200s AD, Robert de Baron connected the Holy Grail's significance in his poem about Joseph of Arimathea. Knights Perceval and Sir Galahad of King Arthur's court undertook the search for the Holy Grail.

Other information maintains that the Knights Templar or the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of King Solomon seized the Holy Grail from the Temple Mount during the Christian Crusades and hid it away somewhere in their travels while protecting Christian pilgrims. Is the Holy Grail a long lost treasure that may be still be discovered? Is it on Oak Island? Is it back in the Holy Land?

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