In the wake of last week’s announcement that two historians had located the Holy Grail, thousands of Christians have swarmed the Basilica of San Isidoro, hoping to catch a glimpse of the legendary Cup of Christ.
Curators of the ancient church were forced to pull the alleged Holy Grail from its traditional place and relocate it to an exhibition room in the hopes of accomodating the new influx of pilgrims. Raquel Jéan, the director of the Basilica’s museum, told reporters in a statement to AFP:
“It was in a very small room where it was not possible to admire it to the full.”
The Basilica of San Isidoro is located in León, Spain, where it was erected over the ruins of a temple to the Roman god Mercury. Until the 10th century, the Basilica served as a monastery to an order of Benedictine sisters, and then in 1063 the site was rededicated to Saint Isidore of Seville. The former monastery served for several generations as the site of a royal burial chamber, and eleven Spanish kings lie buried alongside their queens and servants under the massive slabs of marble and stone that served as the Royal Pantheon.
While the site still drew a large number of visitors prior to last week, this week the influx of tourists grew exponentially. This is due to the explosive claims made recently by Margarita Torres and José Ortega del Río, a pair of Spanish historians who claim they have successfully identified the Holy Grail in Kings of the Grail, a book that was published last week.
According to Torres and del Río, the Holy Grail is an onyx goblet that sits like a Russian nesting doll within another larger, gold and jewel encrusted cup, known as the Chalice of Doña Urruca. The historians believe that both the Holy Grail and the chalice it rests in have been residing at the Basilica since sometime in the 11th century.
The Chalice of Doña Urruca, Torres and del Río believe, was brought over to Spain from Egypt, with the Grail already built inside the larger goblet. It was a gift to King Fernando I from emmisaries of the Muslim nation, whom he had given assistance to while Egypt was suffering from a famine.
Recent scientific studies have at least confirmed that the cup within the Chalice of Doña Urruca is old enough to be the Holy Grail. Carbon dating shows the cup to be anywhere from 1900 to 2300 years old.
Meanwhile, the Basilica of San Isidoro has received almost a year’s worth of visitors in the last week alone. If the chalice in question proves to be the Holy Grail, who knows how many people will make the pilgrimage to the City of City of León?