This summer, visitors to Valencia can follow the path of the Holy Grail with a special exhibition dedicated to the revered chalice…
A momentous piece
As arguably the most iconic symbol of the Roman Catholic religion, the Holy Chalice that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper has taken a long and arduous journey over the centuries. Since the 1400s, the bejewelled cup has called the city of Valencia home. Situated in a dedicated chapel behind a wall of protective glass in the city’s famous cathedral, thousands of visitors come to the city every year to see the authentic relic that was held by Jesus Christ himself.
In celebration of the city’s first Holy Jubilee Year, a dedicated exhibition is being held until the 7th June in the Almudín – the 14th century Gothic building and former granary that is located beside the Plaza de la Virgen and the cathedral. Designed to introduce and complement the city’s first Holy Jubilee celebrations, which will take place in October, the exhibition offers some fascinating insights into the story behind the Holy Grail.
The exhibition, which is entitled The Paths of the Grail (Los Caminos del Grail), traces the chequered history, evolution and long pilgrimage of the Holy Chalice through the centuries. It follows the relic from the Last Supper in Jerusalem in the first century AD all the way up to its arrival in Valencia in the 15th century under the guard of King Alfonso the Magnanimous.
Visitors will travel with the chalice through Rome, Huesca, the Pyrenees and San Juan de la Pena – its final resting place before arriving in Valencia on 18 March 1437. Its incredible history traces the relic’s preservation and survival during tumultuous times, such as the persecution of the Christian people in Rome by Emperor Valerian, the invasion of Spain by the Moors and the Spanish Civil War.
Visitors will be able to discover more about the different types of chalice that have existed throughout history, and the exhibition also details the occasions when the Holy Chalice has been removed from the cathedral for safekeeping during wartime. It will also explore its use by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in Holy Mass.The showcase will also take a look at the chalice’s cultural significance, in particular its portrayal in literature, music and art, including Renaissance painting from Valencian masters such as Juan de Juanes.