Is the goblet of San Isidro basilica the Holy Grail?

Here is the news story: Crowds swamp church in Spain after ‘Holy Grail’ claim “Two Spanish historians claim that an ancient chalice on display at San Isidro basilica in the northwestern city of Leon is in fact the Holy Grail.”

Here is the description of the Chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper (commonly called “the Holy Grail”) given to visionary and stigmatist Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich:

“Thus it was that, by God’s permission, this holy vessel, which none had ever been able to melt down on account of its being made of some unknown material, and which had been found by the priests in the treasury of the Temple among other objects no longer made use of, had been sold to some antiquaries. It was bought by Seraphia, was several times made use of by Jesus in the celebration of festivals, and, from the day of the Last Supper, became the exclusive property of the holy Christian community.”

“The great chalice stood upon a plate, out of which a species of tablet could also be drawn, and around it there were six little glasses. The great chalice contained another smaller vase; above it there was a small plate, and then came a round cover. A spoon was inserted in the foot of the chalice, and could be easily drawn out for use. All these different vessels were covered with fine linen, and, if I am not mistaken, were wrapped up in a case made of leather. The great chalice was composed of the cup and of the foot, which last must have been joined on to it at a later period, for it was of a different material. The cup was pear-shaped, massive, dark-coloured, and highly polished, with gold ornaments, and two small handles by which it could be lifted. The foot was of virgin gold, elaborately worked, ornamented with a serpent and a small bunch of grapes, and enriched with precious stones.”

(Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Meditation IV., The Chalice used at the Last Supper)

Now let’s consider whether the goblet of San Isidro basilica matches that description.

I see no way for a spoon to be “inserted in the foot of the chalice”. The goblet is a dark color, highly-polished, with some gold ornamentation. But I’m not sure if the goblet qualifies as pear-shaped. And the “two small handles by which it could be lifted” are absent. The foot is not made of a different material from the cup, and the foot itself is not “of virgin gold”. The foot is not “enriched with precious stones”, but the cup is. And I don’t see the image of a serpent or a bunch of grapes on the foot. So the goblet does not match the description of the Holy Grail.

Finally, there is an inscription in the gold center, between the cup and the foot, which confirms this conclusion. The inscription has Latin lettering. But Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich says that the chalice was of great antiquity and was long possessed by the Jews, Abraham, and his ancestors. So the cup could not have had an inscription in Latin.

I conclude that the goblet of San Isidro basilica is not the Holy Grail.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Forgiveness and Salvation for Everyone
available in print (paperback, 510 pp.) and in Kindle format.

The Catechism of Catholic Ethics
available in print (paperback, 752 pp.) and in Kindle format.

Gallery | This entry was posted in theology. Bookmark the permalink.