The Meaning of Holy Grail

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The Holy Grail

The Tradition: The Holy Grail was a vessel used by Christ at the Last Supper. Given to his grand-uncle, St. Joseph of Arimathea, it was used by him to collect Christ's blood and sweat while Joseph tended him on the Cross. After Christ's death, Joseph was apparently imprisoned in a rock tomb similar to the one he had given for the body of his grand-nephew. Left to starve, he was sustained for several years by the power of the Grail which provided him with fresh food and drink every morning. Later, St. Joseph travelled to Britain with his family and several followers. He settled at Ynys Witrin (Glastonbury), but the Grail was taken to Corbenic where it was housed in a spectacular castle, guarded always by the Grail Kings, descendants of Joseph's daughter, Anna (Enygeus) and her husband, Brons.

Centuries later, the location of the Great Castle of Corbenic became forgotten. At the Court of King Arthur, however, it was prophesied that the Grail would one day be rediscovered by a descendant of St. Joseph: the best knight in the land, the only man capable of sitting in the mysterious Siege Perilous. When such a man arrived in the form of Galahad, the son of Lancelot, along with a miraculous, though brief, vision of the Grail itself, a quest to find this holiest of relics began. Through many adventures and many years, the Knights of the Round Table crossed Britain from one end to another in their search. Perceval (Peredyr) discovered the castle in a land that was sickly like its spear-wounded King. When entertained by this "Fisher" or "Grail King", however, he failed to ask of the grail and left empty-hand. Lancelot next reached Corbenic, but was prevented from entering because of he was an adulterer. Finally Galahad arrived. He was permitted entry to the Grail Chapel and allowed to gaze upon the great cup. His life became complete and together grail and man were lifted up to heaven.

The Names: The Holy Grail first appears as simply "a grail" in...
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