The legend of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro

O Cebreiro is a popular town through which the French Way passes and the protagonist of the popular legend of the Holy Grail

Santo Grial

Santo Grial

The legend of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro

Although many knew of the existence of the town of O Cebreiro as one of the most common starting points on the French Way, not everyone knows the history of its particular Holy Grail. This town located Pedrafita do Cebreiro stands out for its landscapes especially when there is snow, but also for the history of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro which attracts thousands of people thanks to its great religious importance.

The history of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro

The history of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro is born from a legend that took place in this village in the year 836 and is collected by different historical sources of great importance. According to this legend, one stormy winter day Juan Santín, a resident of the village, went to the monastery of San Geraldo de Aurillac to celebrate the Eucharist, something that took his monk by surprise due to the bad weather that day. 
When the monk realized that the neighbor had entered the monastery to celebrate Mass, he reproached him for coming only to see some bread and wine, despising the effort he had made to go. Just after that moment, the host the monk had turned into flesh, while the chalice was filled with blood, as a sign of appreciation to the man who had come and showing the bad behavior of the monk.
Besides counting on the transformation of the host and the chalice, the legend also tells that the virgin located on the altar of the monastery, paid homage to the neighbor of O Cebreiro by witnessing this miracle. At that moment she knelt down and bowed her head as a sign of respect, a position she still holds.
Years after this happened and after the legend was spreading more and more, the Catholic Kings went to visit this area of the Piedrafita municipality in 1486. According to the story, Queen Isabel wanted to take the chalice before returning to the Court, however a strange event made her return it to the monastery and even gave her a reliquary where she could keep it.
Cebreiro flickr/Manuel López Castro

Cebreiro flickr/Manuel López Castro

The Holy Grail of O Cebreiro at present

Today, the monastery of San Geraldo de Aurillac still preserves this 12th century chalice, in addition to the reliquary that Queen Isabella I of Castile gave it. The pilgrims who come from the French Way and all kinds of tourists who come to the area can see them on display, especially on September 8th and 9th when it is commemorated.
Although there are no official references that this is real, many historians relate the history of the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro to the work "Parsifal" by the author Richard Wagner. This work talks about a mysterious chalice located in the country of Parsifal, which could refer to the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro and Galicia.
In relation to its name, although this chalice is known as the Holy Grail of O Cebreiro, according to the expert Mathew Kuefler this link is generated with a linguistic confusion. Some speak of this chalice being the authentic Holy Grail, however this medievalist is popularly known as the Holy Grail because it is confused with San Guiral, a variant of San Geraldo Aurillac saint who is venerated in the village.
Translated with (free version)


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