The Holy Grail
Legends of the Holy Grail continues to excite the imagination of the first generation are no longer mysteries lovers. Unclear, mysterious relic, which carries the unprecedented power - what is it? This silent, even the authors of novels about King Arthur. With regard to the fact that is the Holy Grail, there are three basic versions. On one of them, the Grail - a stone, on the other - a precious relic (golden image of Noah's Ark?), But the most widely believed that it is the cup from which communion Jesus Christ at the Last Supper and in which adherents have collected a few drops of blood of the crucified Saviour on the cross. This cup and spear, which had been inflicted wounds of Christ, preserved and brought back to Britain by Joseph of Arimathea - so say the legends.
Researchers are always interested in the origin of the legend of the Grail. It is believed that it is based on the Christian apocrypha about the arrival in Britain of Joseph of Arimathea. According to another version, this legendary local roots in the mythology of the ancient Celts. Still others believe that the legend of the Grail is associated with the occult secret society based in ancient times and possessing secret knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation.
Of these three very different theories of the first looks most attractive, but there are no facts that could confirm it. The latter hypothesis is shared mostly by those who do tend to treat all humanity as a collection of secret societies. The pagan roots of the legend of the Grail suggest its origin from a very ancient Indo-European myth of a magical dish - a symbol of life and rebirth. Subsequently, the legend is filled with new meaning, acquired Christian overtones.
The first version of the story of the Holy Grail - «Conte du Graal» - published a famous poet and troubadour Chrétien de Troyes around 1180. This story remained unfinished. Chretien de Troyes claimed that his story is based on information that he found in a book owned by Count Philip Flanders, but this statement can be neither proved nor contested.
While it was generally believed that the author can not write anything himself, and true only what is contained in the ancient sources. The story, which was not based on ancient tradition, could not be worthy of attention. No one is bothered by the fact that the truth of these legends check was impossible. Therefore, Chrétien de Troyes, like many after him, could quite easily refer to any source. In addition, while it was necessary to very carefully choose the themes for novels and poems - pagan subjects might incur the wrath of the Church.
The hero of Chretien de Troyes, Knight Percival of Wales, mentions the mysterious "Grail Castle" and its magical cup. Percival image based on the ancient Welsh saga of the hero by the name of Pryderi, and the stories about him often speaks of the magic cup, which has properties completely coincide with the properties ascribed to the Grail. Saga of Pryderi contained in the collection of ancient Welsh oral traditions «Mabinogion». This collection takes us into the fantasy world of Celtic myths, containing including several stories of King Arthur. Images of Welsh epic come from even more ancient Celtic heroes. King Lear, for example, was "born" by Lera, one of the men mysterious people of the Tuatha de Danann ( "peoples of the goddess Danu"). These people, as the myth says, coming from somewhere in the north, brought with them to the land of the Celts magical items - a magical cup, a marvelous spear and sword invincible. In later legends about King Aptype these objects were transformed into the Holy Grail, the spear that wounded Christ and the sword Excalibur.
About how the Grail was in Britain, said Robert de Born in the poem "Joseph of Arimathea", written around the year 1200. Like Chretien de Troyes, de Born refers to the story of an old book, which speaks of how Jesus called Joseph, and gave him the Holy Grail - the cup of the Last Supper. Together with his sister and her husband Joseph Bron left Palestine and settled in a certain country, "far away in the West," where they propopedovali Christianity. Thus, Robert de Born unambiguously links the Grail with the Christian tradition. However, despite the enormous popularity of legends of the Holy Grail, the church has never recognized the Christian Grail relic. Maybe that's why for the Grail entrenched dubious glory of the sacred character of organized heretical movement within the boundaries of the Western Christian world.
And there is a new parallel: de Born, published his poem, wittingly or unwittingly revealed the origins of the legend of the Grail - the Gnostic "Gospel of Nicodemus," which is set out in detail the myth of Joseph, a bowl and spear. And it is the views of the Gnostics are the basis of all European heretical movements.
Around those years when de Born wrote his poem. Wolfram von Eschenbach, the famous German poet of the time, created the "Parsifal" - their own version of Chretien de Troyes unfinished poem of the Grail. Like other. Wolfram said that the advantage of "ancient sources" and referred to "a Provençal troubadour who wrote his novel in the Arabic language, living in the Spanish city of Toledo" (quite complicated story). In his poem Wolfram argued that the Grail knighthood kept Templaisen - this distorted German name is easy to guess the famous Order of the Knights Templar.
Under the influence of the Knights Templar was a monastic order tsisterniantsev, founded in 1098. Cistercians were famous and influential order, and the most popular of its members was the famous a6bat Bernard of Clairvaux, the "spiritual father" of the Knights Templar. The Cistercians had a strong influence on the anonymous author of the novel «Queste del Sail Graal» - the most famous works of the cycle of stories of the Grail.
The novel's hero, honest knight Galahed, having made a number of exploits, it becomes the owner and keeper of the Holy Grail. He brings to the city of Sarras Grail, the center of paganism, which Joseph of Arimathea converted to Christianity. There Galahed die, and after his death the citizens see a miracle descended from heaven Galaheda hand carries the Grail in the mountain heights.
This parable (remember - told in the beginning of the XIII century) metaphorically says that the Grail is hidden from human eyes. But where? The answer to this question probably know Albigenses (Cathars) - followers of heretical teachings, engulfed at the turn of XII-XIII centuries part of France - Languedoc province and Provence (remember the "Provençal troubadour" relied upon by Wolfram von Eschenbach). The doctrine of the Cathars is largely in line with the secret teachings of the Templars. And in the heart of Cathar cvyaschennom - the fortress of Montsegur - it kept something embodying a great mystery.
Since 1209 the French kings began Crusades Albigensian. In 1244 fell Montsegur. But the main shrine of the Cathars was saved: the four "perfect" after escaping through a complex system of underground passages, carried with them a mysterious bundle embodying the best kept secret of the Cathars. Who would take fugitive heretics? Only close to them in spirit. And as such, after the defeat of the Cathars, Templars remained only.
Templar Order was founded in 1118. At initiation into the Knights Templar made a vow of poverty and chastity, but order quickly became the richest and most influential in Europe. Order became famous as an original interpretation of the Christian faith, close to the Gnostic, for which he was considered almost a nest of heresy. Like all the orders of knighthood and religious sects of the time, the Templars had their own rites and ceremonies, which are written very much, but in reality, very little is known.
Long standoff Templar and the official church, enjoyed the support of the secular rulers of Europe, led to the destruction of the Order. However, many of the secrets of the Templars and have remained unsolved. After the fall of Montsegur before the death of the Knights Templar was sixty years old. In 1312, Pope his bull "By the providence of Christ ..." he abolished the Order, and 18 March 1314 on the fire entered the last Grand Master of the Templars. But again, the main treasure of the Order (and with them the Grail?) Disappeared.
Rumor strongly binds to the location of the Grail Glastonbury Abbey in England and with the legends of King Arthur. Old church in Glastonbury, I remember, perhaps the knights of the "round table" was burned in 1184, it was built in its place a new one. A traditional belief deeply rooted belief that the Grail hidden in the caves of the Abbey.
After the death of the largest organizations heretical legend of the Grail ceased to occupy the attention devoted to the public, having gone to folk tales. But the shadow of unseen relics overshadowed many of the events of medieval Europe. Czech Taborites went into battle under the banner with the image of "beggars" - the sacred chalice, which is easily guessed Grail. And knowledge of the Gnostics did not die with the defeat of the Cathars and Templars - it continued to live in an environment of numerous secret orders and organizations, which are abundant in the history of XII-XIX centuries. It turned out to be in demand at the beginning of this century, when the occult "Thule Society", which arose in Germany in 1918, began the development of scientific and mystical base of National Socialism. And along with the teachings of the Gnostics he was in demand and the Holy Grail ...
Initially, the search for the Grail was headed by a certain Otto Rahn - one Nordic and developers theory. In the early 1930s he visited the ruins of Montsegur, but as far as we can judge, it is not serious searches conducted, and the results of the trip published a book "Crusade Against the Grail", which refers to the Grail "bowl Nibelungen." And in 1937, after his second trip to the Languedoc, Ran suddenly disappeared. His fate is still unknown.
In June 1943, in Montsegur arrived from Germany a large expedition, which led to work in the caves until the spring of 1944. And although he did not find anything, a system of underground shelters and passages, paved the Cathars in the rock under Montsegur, according to archaeologists, lets hope that the Grail can be there. However, inaccessible hiding places in medieval Europe was very much, and dungeons Montsegur - not the most sophisticated of them.