Search for the Holy Grail turns boozy

CityPress - - News -

Bri­tish po­lice raided an English coun­try pub this week in search of a stolen wooden relic be­lieved by some to be the Holy Grail – a cup from which, ac­cord­ing to the Bi­ble, Je­sus is said to have drunk at his fi­nal meal be­fore his cru­ci­fix­ion.

But the only item in the whole pub that looked any­thing like the relic was a salad bowl.

The Grail has cap­ti­vated re­li­gious ex­perts for cen­turies, spawn­ing myr­iad the­o­ries about its lo­ca­tion and in­spir­ing nu­mer­ous fic­tional ac­counts from the Mid­dle Ages on­wards.

The ob­ject of the po­lice search was a frail wooden bowl known as the Nan­teos Cup, which has been at­trib­uted with heal­ing pow­ers since the 19th cen­tury, at­tract­ing pil­grims and oth­ers who be­lieve it might be the Holy Grail it­self.

Af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tip-off, a team of eight of­fi­cers and a po­lice dog ar­rived on Sun­day morn­ing at the Crown Inn, a vil­lage pub in the ru­ral English county of Here­ford­shire.

Po­lice said they re­ceived in­tel­li­gence re­ports the cup had been seen in the pub, so they ex­e­cuted a search war­rant.

The land­lady of the 15th-cen­tury pub, 58-year-old Di Franklin, said: “If some­body had stolen some­thing as price­less as the Holy Grail, I don’t think it would be on show in my pub.

“They came with fi­bre­op­tic cam­eras to look in all the cor­ners and nooks and cran­nies, and un­der the floor­boards ... they were clearly se­ri­ous about it,” Franklin said.

Po­lice said the relic, a dark wooden cup kept in­side a blue vel­vet bag, had been stolen from a house in the area about a month ago.

“We get a few rogues and scal­ly­wags in the pub, but no one who’s quite on the level of steal­ing a price­less an­cient arte­fact,” Franklin said.

The cup takes its name from Nan­teos Man­sion, a coun­try house in Wales where the ves­sel is re­ported to have been stored un­til 1952 af­ter 16th­cen­tury monks flee­ing King Henry VIII’s dis­so­lu­tion of Eng­land’s monas­ter­ies sought refuge there.

The cup was said to have been brought to Bri­tain af­ter Je­sus’s death by Joseph of Ari­mathea, the bib­li­cal fig­ure who pro­vided Christ with a tomb and, ac­cord­ing to leg­end, brought Chris­tian­ity to Bri­tain.

Sci­en­tists who have ex­am­ined the cup say it al­most cer­tainly dates from cen­turies af­ter the Cru­ci­fix­ion and is not made of the olive wood that might have been ex­pected for a Mid­dle Eastern drink­ing ves­sel. – Reuters

SOUGHT The Nan­teos Cup

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