Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|In Search of the Holy Grail From the Last Supper to the 21st Century|
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
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An interesting look at several Holy Grail candidates
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 03/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When you buy a DVD like this for a buck, you can never be sure you're getting something worth watching, but In Search of the Holy Grail turned out to be a surprisingly good documentary. At 52 minutes, it's certainly not an in-depth examination of the Grail legend in all of its intricacies, but this production communicates a lot of good information and calls upon several formidable and erudite experts from different sides of the debate. After the obligatory laying out of the foundation (the nature of the Grail according to legend vs. its probable factual nature - if it ever even existed, a quick look at life in the Middle Ages, when the legend first arose, etc.), the documentary turns its attention to four (or five) existing "grails" laying claim to the mantle of the Holy Grail, examining each one in turn. It also briefly examines the claim by Michael Baigent and others that the "grail" actually refers to a secret bloodline of Christ (thankfully, it does this with no mention of Dan Brown's name).
Spain's Valencia Cathedral houses an agate vessel said to be the Holy Chalice, the only Grail contender formally blessed by a Pope (John Paul II). Its provenance goes all the way back to the end of the fourteenth century, but it was supposedly taken to Rome by St. Peter, then sent to Spain for safekeeping when the Roman persecution of Christians put it in danger. A more romantic possibility is the Glastonbury Grail, for Glastonbury is intimately associated with the legend of King Arthur. Supposedly, Joseph of Arimathea brought the cup with him to England and buried it at the spot from which the Chalice Well now springs. According to the documentary, local priests threw the chalice into the well for safekeeping after Henry VIII broke from the Vatican and ordered the destruction of all Catholic abbeys. In 1906, a local mystic had a vision of the Grail in the well and, when he dug beneath that well, found a glass bowl which is now known as the Glastonbury Grail.
In 1988, Andrew Sinclair discovered a 15th century scroll containing a "treasure map" which suggested to him that the Grail is buried beneath Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, the supposed headquarters of the Knights Templar after the surviving Templars fled France. He managed to get permission to excavate the site, finding one of the hidden vaults but no supposed Grail (although some still believe the Grail is there somewhere). The Nanteos House in Scotland holds a mysterious wooden cup, discovered under the ruins of Strata Florida Abbey in the late 1800s, said to have healing powers. The story is that, during the Reformation, seven monks escaped the monastery at Glastonbury with the sacred cup, and it eventually ended up in Strata Florida Abbey. (Physical evidence suggests it is not possibly old enough to be the Holy Grail.) While the Nanteos Cup is comparatively plain, the Great Chalice of Antioch is anything but. Discovered in Turkey in 1910, this chalice is ornately decorated with what some say are perhaps the earliest depictions of Christ's disciples. Since it dates back to the 6th century, however, it could only be the Grail if the Grail was in fact a commissioned piece that had no association with Jesus personally.
The documentary puts forth no opinion on the true identity or whereabouts of the Holy Grail, although some of its experts declare their case for one candidate or the other. The only problem I have with the presentation is the fact that it does not come out and say that several, if not all, of these pieces have been effectively disproven to be the true Holy Grail. Still, it makes for quite an interesting program, especially for such a low-budget price."