In the Basilica of San Isidoro in the northern Spanish city of León is a cup that some say is the Holy Grail, the very cup that Christ used in the last supper.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
– Matthew 26:26-29
In 2011, while researching Islamic remains in the Basilica of San Isidoro, medieval historian Margarita Torres inadvertently discovered parchments, at first one and then another, in the library of the University of Al Azhar in Cairo Egypt. The parchments, scribbled in Arabic, are effectively documentary evidence that the cup that is in León is indeed the Holy Grail.
Margarita Torres and her colleague Jose Miguel Ortega del Rio then spent 3 years carrying out further research into the matter, before publishing their findings in a book, Los Reyes del Grial (2014) – in English, The Kings of the Grail (2014).
The first parchment that was found is an inventory of items in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the time of the beginning of the Fatimid Caliphate, circa 909 AD. That inventory includes an item described as “the cup that the Christians call the cup of the Messiah”.
The second parchment that was found mentions that a piece was chipped off the cup with a knife. The cup that is in León happens to have a chip.
It is known that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre did house an artefact of importance to early Christians described as “The Chalice”. According to a layout of the original church, there was once an entire room for The Chalice.
What is more, in 570 AD, Antoninus of Pianceza, a pilgrim to Jerusalem, noted in writing the presence of a stone cup made of onyx in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as well as the Holy Lance, in Jerusalem, before that was lost.
The cup in León is essentially an onyx cup that resembles a small bowl, stylistically consistent with cups used during Roman times. A gold covering has since been wrapped around the cup, and so now the item resembles a goblet.
It is thought, the first Fatimid Caliph, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah (909-934 AD), gave the cup to the emir of Denia in the Iberian peninsula as a token of friendship, in 909 AD. Remarkably, this happened exactly 100 years before another Fatimid Caliph, Al-Hakim, ordered the ruin of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in 1009 AD. The fact that it is precisely 100 years leads me to think the first Fatimid Caliph was supernaturally inspired to transfer the cup, out of Jerusalem, to the Iberian peninsula.
Subsequently, in the eleventh century, as Islamic Andalusia fought against Christian Spain, it is thought, the emir of Denia presented the cup to the king of León, Fernando I (1037-1065 AD), at the time the strongest among the Spanish, in an attempt to stave of a Christian onslaught of Denia. By the way, León is Spanish for “Lion”.
The cup in León thought to be the Holy Grail has been there since the eleventh century, the reign of Ferdinand I of León. Inscribed on the gold covering of the cup in León is “URRACA”, the name of the daughter of Ferdinand I of León.
Today, the artefact remains in León, in a church, the Basilica of San Isidoro.
I think, historian Margarita Torres did in fact stumble upon evidence of the Holy Grail, serendipitously. I say this for 3 reasons. First, the account of how the cup came to be in Spain makes historical sense. Second, it is quite remarkable for the cup of the last supper of the Lion of tribe of Juda to be in León, literally Lion. Third, the realisation that the cup in León is the real one happened in 2011-2014, in these last days before the second coming of Jesus Christ.