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Annex 2: The Holy Grail – 1 The Origin

There are some evidences from the lifetime and ministry of Jesus, as well as from the lives and writings of his Apostles, to affirm that the Holy Grail originated in Jerusalem.

The document known as “Grand-Saint-Graal” states that the Grail is a book associated with blinding light. It tells us the Scottish genealogy of Perceval and Lancelot. These affirmations are supported by the “Book of John”, the legend of Joseph of Arimathea, the suggested birthplace of Saint George, the trial of the theologian Pelagius, and the life of Saint Mary Magdalene. Solomon’s castle was also the Grail castle. Other books such as the German Parzival and the Perceval Continuation tell us that the Grail story was first written by Jewish scholars. Other sources tell us that the Grail was a stone fallen from heaven or a Table.

The legends maintain that the few people who saw the Grail, even those who were best prepared for this experience, suffered a severe shock, temporary lost of memory, confusion and disorientation and some were even blinded. For ordinary people the Grail is a mystery. Most of us are looking for it, consciously or not, but only on a part time basis, whereas a few people as Lancelot, Gawain, Perceval, Galahad and King Arthur devoted their life to its quest.

The Middle Age anonymous French author of The “Grand-Saint-Graal” describes how he saw the Holy Grail twice in 717 AD. He said that he copied his document from a book given to him by the Christ himself, and that this book contained the genealogy of Jesus. Lancelot and Perceval have royal and saintly pedigrees as they descend from Kings David and Solomon. This book refers the reader to the history of Britain from the death of Jesus to the death of King Arthur, five hundred years later, This period of the Holy Grail narrative represents the early history of Christianity during which the new religion spread across Western Europe, that is Italy, France, Germany, and Britain. The “Grand-Saint-Graal”, in its different copies, leads us from Jerusalem to Scotland and Northern France and back to Jerusalem again. The author is a descendant from the Christ’s family, he was educated in France and, although his name is unknown, it is clear that he was linked to Britain and British Christianity; he probably lived in Scotland after having been in Glastonbury. He was related to Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who prepared Jesus’ body for burial. On the other hand, King Arthur, Perceval, and Lancelot are thought to be descendants of Joseph of Arimathea. Another author of Arthurian text, the Frenchman Chrétien de Troyes, a converted Jew, also said that Christ wrote a book that survived Him.

In 1892 a book written by Enoch, Son of Jared (Gen.5:18,24), between 30 BC and 70 AD was discovered in Serbia. It is known as “Slavonic” or “Second Enoch” and, like the “Grand-Saint-Graal”, describes a revelation by God to Jesus and repeated to John by an Angel. This pseudepigrapha attributed to Enoch is, of course, non-canonical and contains Jesus’ promise of a future life. Some people correlate this document with the ethic of Jesus that also includes his exalted view of man, his charity and benevolence, his patience under affliction and his love of others as well as his kindness towards animals. Ox and dove have become the symbols of the Holy Grail. It is admitted by most scholars that Jesus did not write any book, even if he was a Prophet, a Preacher and a Teacher. As the author of the “Grand-Saint-Graal” said, Jesus was also a human being.

In Luke, chapter 21, Jesus foresaw the destruction of Jerusalem as it happened later in 70 AD, as well as the dispersion of the Apostles. A similar dispersion took place in Britain when the early Christians fled to the mountains of Wales and Scotland. In the fifth and sixth centuries, the Abbeys of Glastonbury in England and of Fecamp in France were founded by Rome. The Christianity of the Grail Castle was pro-Roman even if, at the time of Arthur, the centres of Christianity were Jerusalem and Constantinople. The earliest missionaries in France, Spain and Britain were not the major Apostles but Joseph of Arimathea, Saint Philip and Saint Lawrence, and they were linked to the Church of Constantinople. The Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother, Helena, were born in Britain. Constantine made Christianity the state religion and King Arthur claimed to descend from Constantine. Helena found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified and had the Tomb of Christ built within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. King Arthur gave a piece of the True Cross to Melrose Abbey in Scotland. The many pilgrims who went to worship in this church were, in part, responsible for the crusades and the creation of the Order of the Knights Templar.

The early Christians who worshipped at the Avalon Grail Castle knew about Luke’s Gospel and, as a result, the feast of Pentecost; the fiftieth day after the Passion, was for them of paramount importance. They did not seem to know the “Book of Acts” that transferred authority from Jerusalem to Rome where Christianity became established as early as 70 AD. The early British Christian knew and used the “Gospel of John” who mentioned Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Merlin, the great priest, prophet and warrior, followed John the Baptist’s life style. The “Gospel of John” has been deemed heretical and Gnostic by many scholars while others find it orthodox. Perhaps as many as fifteen thousand Knights Templar, and million of people in the South of France, died for their faith in the “Gospel of John”. Many of the people who worshipped the Holy Grail were in fact looking for a spiritual life away from the materialistic world around them, and the “Gospel of John” provided them with the necessary guidance to reach it. John was criticised by those who said that he believed in the philosophy of Dualism that had been condemned by the Church. It is even thought that John’s Gospel was the sacred book of the Cathars in the South of France. When the King Arthur’s Realm disappeared, the Holy Grail left Britain to go first to the Cathars in Languedoc and then, when they were destroyed too, it probably went back to Jerusalem.

Solomon’s Temple was built on the Mountain of Jerusalem called Moriah. It had nine gates covered with gold and silver, and the front was pure gold. Inside were the three most venerated objects: a candlestick representing the seven planets, a table (King Arthur’s round table) with twelve loaves representing the Zodiac, and an altar with incense. These were the Holy of Holies. Its chief altar was square with raised corners that looked like horns. This Temple was conquered and destroyed many times, and its treasures disappeared little by little. Many believe that only the Holy Grail was saved.

At King Arthur’s Court before 542, only the priests and priestesses were educated in the arts, whereas the Princes learned mainly warfare. Lancelot and Perceval could read, but not King Arthur.

The German Knight Templar Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote a beautiful Grail document describing the adventures of Parzival (known as Perceval in France) who, at one point, stops at a fountain to receive instruction from a holy hermit called Trevrizent. The hermit told Parzival that the Grail texts written in a Semitic language were found by accident in Toledo, Spain, once a Visigothic capital and later a Jewish and Moorish cultural centre. The author was a Jewish scholar called Flegetanis, a descendant from Solomon’s royal line, who became Christian. According to him the Grail was brought from the stars to the earth by some angels; after, some devoted knights took it in custody. Parzival remained fifteen days with the hermit to listen to his teaching. He was told that to find the Holy Grail, guarded by some Knights Templar, was not easy, or certain, even if he would devote all his life to the search. These knights lived from the power of the Grail, a stone that fell from Heaven. Parzival went on his journey until he found a beautiful and richly decorated castle where he was warmly welcomed by the Fisher King. A voice woke him up in the morning and told him that he would soon be the father of a beautiful daughter who would wed a King and that one of their descendants would free Jerusalem from the Moslems (Godfrey de Bouillon obviously).

Later on Parzival asked for shelter in a hermitage where he was welcomed by a Lady who said that she was his aunt, King Arthur’s half-sister, Queen Morgan le Fay. She told Parzival that his mother died of sorrow soon after he joined King Arthur in the search for the Holy Grail. She told him about the Table of the Last Supper, and about a second one made centuries later, and known as the Holy Grail and used now in worship. It was taken from Jerusalem by Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Parzival’s mother. A third table was made by Merlin. It was round as the world and was used for worshipping God by King Arthur’s Knights who would, in this way, learn the truth of the Holy Grail.

King Solomon had a ship, the Holy Church, specially built to take missionaries to Western Europe. This ship was richly decorated. On the altar he put King David’s crown, as well as his sword, and three branches from the tree of life. This ship had, of course, a symbolic meaning: as a ship carries people safely across the sea, this ship, called Holy Church, carries God’s ministers safely all over the world, and through sins, without fear of contaminating them. The ship also means the holy table, the altar and the holy cross. Centuries later Perceval, Bors and Galahad found Solomon’ ship in Britain, together with King David’s golden crown, and a book explaining the significance of the ship. Perceval’ sister, Dandrane, prepared a new belt from her own golden hair to hang the sword. The four of them then sailed to a fort near the Marches in Scotland. They were welcomed in a castle near-by. The Lady of the castle had leprosy. Perceval’ sister, Dandrane gave her virginal blood and the Lady was cured but Dandrane died. Before, she asked that her body be put on the Holy Church and sailed to Sarras, to be buried there, the place chosen to bury Perceval and Galahad when their time would come too.

After the collapse of King Arthur Realm around 542 and the death of Perceval’ sister, it is not clear where the Grail went. The ship left Britain for Jerusalem but it is believed that it stopped in Marseilles, not very far from the old sacred necropolis of ancient Gaul at Aliscans, and no too far from “the Head of Gaul”, Lyons. Not far away from Marseilles, Saint Mary Magdalene lived and founded churches. She was a perfect example for Dandrane and Queen Guinevere, as well as for all the Christian women.

Perceval was the last King of the Grail Castle as well as the last male adult nephew of King Arthur. And where was Sarras? It must have been a Celtic burial place reserved for its royalty. Dandrane was of royal blood (her mother was Camelot’s widow) and of religious ancestry (she was descending from Joseph of Arimathea). Sarras must have been more prestigious that Calton in Scotland where Merlin had constructed a royal necropolis for the Celts. Sarras must have been as prestigious as Lyons, the Head of Gaul; the only possibility is the ancient city and harbour of Marseilles where Joseph of Arimathea stopped when he was trading with Western Europe and also when he left Jerusalem in 70 AD. There are even some suggestions that the Holy Grail was taken to Marseilles at that time, five centuries before it went to Britain; most of Jesus’ Marys went there too after his death.