Mysteries of the Faith (2023) s01e02 Episode Script

Holy Grail

The people
of Manoppello feel in a very visceral way
the presence of the Holy Face
Just like a God who protects their lives.
It is a true miracle.
I remember very well
the first time I saw the Holy Face.
And it was a wonderful feeling.
Because when I came face to face
with this extraordinary face of Jesus
I felt loved in a very powerful way.
We are faced with the first moment
of the resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I have lived in Manoppello since birth.
- Good morning. How you doing?
- Hey.
Were you waiting for me?
So for 67 years
I only left town for a few years to work.
Otherwise, I've always lived here
with my family.
The Holy Face has always
been a part of my life
ever since I was a kid.
Then, during some difficult moments
I do believe that the Holy Face
has protected my family.
For three generations.
My father, myself,
and my daughter especially.
Certainly, we've all been helped a lot.
It takes courage
to say this word "miracle."
But miracles do exist.
We are in Piazza Marcinelle,
named after the town in Belgium,
where, in the 1950s,
many of Manoppello's men went to work
in the mines, including my father.
My father was a devotee of the Holy Face.
One day, he couldn't go down the mine
because the doctor hadn't given him
his authorization note,
and he told him,
"Instead of going down
at 6:00 in the morning,"
you'll go down in the afternoon at 2:00."
So he didn't go down.
And this was the moment he was saved.
The face of disaster here
where a burning Belgian coal mine
trapped some 260 miners
half a mile under the surface.
Rescue teams fight a grim battle
against fire, smoke,
and deadly carbon monoxide.
In the morning,
the mine was burning,
so he wouldn't have survived.
Fortunately for me,
my father returned and started his family.
Certainly, I believe my father was helped
by the sacred face of Jesus,
by the Holy Face.
From the very beginning of Christianity,
relics have been considered
to be miracle workers.
They are perceived
to have the ability to cure people,
protect people, to protect entire cities.
Relics can provide, basically,
a direct line to God,
to be able to say "I need help,"
and God will be able to hear you better
than if you were just
praying at your local church.
The Holy Face
has been associated with miracles
right from the very beginning
of its story.
The greatest miracle of all
takes place in 33 AD
in Jesus' tomb after his crucifixion.
Two days later,
when the disciples
return to the tomb to pray,
they find the stone at the entrance
rolled away
and Jesus' body gone.
Only his burial cloths and veil remain.
Seeing this, they are convinced
that Jesus has risen from the dead.
It's said that inside the tomb,
when the Holy Spirit arrived,
it emanated a light as strong as the sun.
It brought Christ back to life,
and overturned the stone of the tomb.
It left the image of the Lord
imprinted on the inside of the cloth.
Of course, I am convinced
that this is the face of Jesus
and indeed a miracle.
The fact that
that symbol of devotion
has been imbued with the credence
of thousands and thousands of people
for centuries and centuries
is a powerful thing.
For the last four centuries,
the veil has been protected
by Manoppello's order of Capuchin friars,
who live behind the church.
There is a fascinating legend
about how the Holy Face arrived
here in Manoppello.
The legend is told for the first time
in this text, "The Historical Report"
written in 1645 by Father Donato da Bomba,
preacher and Capuchin friar.
The story goes that in 1506,
a mysterious pilgrim
suddenly appears in Manoppello,
carrying a parcel.
The stranger interrupts a group of elders.
He asks to speak privately
to the town's physician, Dr. Leonelli,
and tells him it's a secret matter
of huge importance.
The doctor breaks down in tears
and turns to find the stranger
has disappeared into thin air,
making him wonder whether the pilgrim
might have been an angel.
Legends about the veil's miraculous powers
have been told
ever since its magical arrival.
And they're still being told today.
The Holy Face helped me, too.
Forty-six years ago,
I was based in Gemona
because I was in the military.
We had a barracks there.
And I was in a group that was sent away.
There was a strike
and instead of coming back in the evening,
we left early the next morning.
And we found this huge tragedy.
An earthquake.
And slowly, we realized
our military comrades
had been trapped under the rubble.
And searching for a dead comrade,
I found myself pulling out
my own clothes from the rubble.
And that has left a mark on me.
Because that strike
might not have even happened.
And if there'd been no strike,
I would not have come back to Manoppello.
Deep inside, I believe the Holy Face
helped me and saved me.
Non-believers would say
we are crazy to believe
that there's something in objects,
but it is the opposite.
Of course miracles can happen
through objects,
because when we relate
to a sacred artifact,
our heart is open.
There's a relation to God, directly.
So, of course, through the relic,
God may act.
Faith in the Catholic Church
says that miracles happen all the time,
and every time you take communion,
that's a miracle, because
when that bit of wafer is blessed,
it becomes the literal Body of Christ.
And so if you believe that,
then the leap to the power of objects
touched by Christ
is really not that far.
Relics have always
been associated with miracles.
But there's one relic above all others
that's rumored to heal all wounds,
grant everlasting happiness,
and deliver eternal youth.
The Holy Chalice,
better known as the Holy Grail.
It's the ultimate object of desire,
hunted for centuries
by kings, scholars, and believers.
I think finding the Holy Grail
is so important to so many believers
because it is the most direct
connection to Jesus.
We're talking about
the cup that he drank out of
in one of his most trying moments
during his life.
The story
of this most sought-after of relics
begins in the upper room
of a house in Jerusalem,
where Jesus gathers his disciples
for a meal.
As they eat, Jesus declares
that he will soon be betrayed
by one of them
and be killed.
He fills a cup with wine,
says, "This is my blood,"
and shares it among the 12 men.
The whereabouts of the Holy Grail
have been a mystery ever since.
Finding that Grail would, I think,
validate the faith of so many people,
showing that this is true
and that my faith is real.
The search for the precious cup
reached fever pitch in the Middle Ages
with the story of King Arthur.
According to legend,
the king sent his knights
in search of the Holy Grail,
a mystical cup with miraculous powers.
Legend has it that the Holy Grail
can bring about eternal life.
It actually will make the old young again.
So, of course, this makes it
a tremendously compelling object.
The Holy Grail becomes this symbol
of not just Jesus, but adventure
adventure that imbues the adventurer
with a certain amount of power
if they can find the Grail.
Now three women claim
to have succeeded
where King Arthur failed.
Each believe they have discovered
the Holy Grail.
They have differing theories
as to where the Grail can be found,
but they all agree on one thing
that the cup of Christ is in Spain.
I am Dr. Ana Mafé García.
We are in Huesca right now
as we're celebrating
its patron saint, San Lorenzo.
The story of San Lorenzo
is the story of the Holy Grail.
The first time I heard
the story of San Lorenzo,
it was from my grandmother.
She said, "You have a challenge,"
because the history
of the Holy Grail and its journey
are not well enough known.
It's life's greatest journey.
We are at the monastery of Loreto.
This is the place
where San Lorenzo grew up.
The Priest Lorenzo left Huesca
around 257 AD and went to Rome,
where he became the archdeacon
and custodian of the Holy Grail.
When San Lorenzo
arrives in Rome in the 3rd Century,
Christianity is outlawed,
so priests use the cup in secret
to celebrate mass.
But by 258 AD,
Rome is bankrupt
and its emperor needs money.
Valerian launches a savage persecution
of all the Christians in the city,
determined to plunder their treasure.
Nothing is safe.
To save the most precious relic of all,
its custodian, Lorenzo, hides the Grail
and smuggles it out of Rome
under the cover of darkness.
He sends the cup to his family
for safekeeping
in the town of Huesca in Spain.
An act of defiance,
which he will pay for with his life.
Valerian orders Lorenzo
to be burned to death,
but the Holy Grail is safe.
During those days,
San Lorenzo shows proof of love
not only for the memory of Jesus,
but also for the Holy Grail,
the Holy Chalice.
I get emotional knowing
he is remembered in Huesca.
The legend says
that after Lorenzo
sent the Grail to Huesca,
it was hidden in monasteries
across the north of Spain
for over a thousand years,
before it was moved to
the city of Valencia in the 15th century,
where it can still be found
almost 600 years later.
The Vatican has hinted to the world
that the Valencia Grail
is the true cup of Christ.
Two different popes have visited the city
and used the Chalice to celebrate mass.
And Ana believes she has found the proof.
When I started to study this Holy Chalice,
I discovered that the Holy Chalice
is made of the stone sardius,
which has its origins in Judea.
Sardius signifies
the tribe from which Jesus came,
the House of David.
So I am convinced,
the cup Jesus had in his hands
is in Valencia Cathedral. Without a doubt.
But Ana's claim
that this is the true Holy Grail
is being challenged by another historian
in another Spanish city
400 miles to the north.
I love film.
I love history.
I love Harrison Ford.
Archaeology is the search for fact
not truth.
And I grew up with Indiana Jones.
Watching that film,
seeing Harrison Ford in the classroom,
reminds me of when I was a student.
So, when I was finishing my studies
to be a historian,
my classmate gave me a poster
of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,
and they told me, "You are going to be
someday our Indiana Jones,"
and I say, "Ha-ha! I think not."
It would not be made out of gold.
That's the cup of a carpenter.
Because I would
like to tell him,
"You are not right, Dr. Jones,"
because the Holy Grail
can't be created of wood,
like in the film.
There's only one way to find out.
I know that because
the cup of Christ is now in León,
in the Royal Palace of San Isidoro.
I was not looking for the Holy Grail.
I was looking for answers
about the origin of the Chalice of Urraca,
this Islamic object from Egypt
preserved here in San Isidoro.
And I could not find a reason
why this object was here,
because it was not a Spanish object.
And this is why
we sent an apprentice to Egypt,
to Al-Azhar in Cairo,
one of the most important
Muslim historical institutions,
and there they have
a lot of chronicles, documents.
When I received the first phone
from my colleague in Cairo,
he told me,
"Sit down and shut up."
And I said, "Shut up? Why shut up?"
And he said,
"The object is not as you expect
but the cup of Christ."
And after the shock, we say,
"What exactly says the parchment, please?"
And the parchment says:
In the middle of the 11th century,
in Egypt there was a great famine.
The Caliph of Egypt asked for help
from the Islamic world
and received an answer
from King of Dénia in Spain,
a Muslim governor.
In 1055,
the King of Dénia sends food
to the starving people of Egypt.
In return, the Caliph of Egypt
writes to the king
to offer him the pick
of the treasures of his kingdom.
Looking to make peace
with his Christian neighbors,
the Muslim king replies,
"I want the most precious object
to give as a gift
to Ferdinand the Great, King of León."
And what better gift
to give a Christian king
than the cup of Christ?
We are in the cloister
of San Isidoro.
Here we have royal remains
of King Ferdinand and Queen Urraca.
And King Ferdinand the First
gave the Chalice,
the cup of Christ, that he has received,
and gave it to his daughter, Urraca.
And this is why the cup is called
"Chalice of Urraca."
This has the greatest claim
to be the Holy Grail,
more than other chalice around the world.
I believe the Holy Grail is here.
I believe that here is the cup of Christ.
There were many legends
about this Grail
The real Holy Grail
The Holy Grail, the cup that
is the Cup of Urraca.
The first time I saw it was years ago,
and it was not yet presented
as the Holy Grail,
wasn't singled out,
and now it's presented in a darkened room,
and everyone is very quiet.
And as people come in,
they have come there
to see it as the Holy Grail,
and there's silence and attentiveness
and there's kind of a reverent gaze.
They believe that that is something
that's going to be good for them.
That's going to help their soul.
Everything has changed.
I was taking a coffee right now,
and a lady came directly to us,
and she say,
"Excuse me. You are Margarita?"
I say, "Yes, lady, what do you want?"
And she say, "May I take your hands?"
"Because you have touched the Holy Grail."
"You have touched the cup of Christ."
So she take my hands
She say, "May I just"
For me, it's a very emotive moment,
and she say, "May I touch you?"
And I say, "Of course."
And I give her a hug and she say,
"Thank you, thank you, thank you."
And I start to cry. She and me.
And this is why any study
about relics is important,
because we are not just
researching about an object.
We are researching about an object
in front of which
many people put their hopes.
These two women
are both convinced
they've found the cup of Christ.
But that's not the end
of the controversy of the Holy Grail.
Now there's a third historian
who thinks she can settle the matter
once and for all.
At first, I wasn't interested
in the world of relics.
But with the Holy Grail,
it was appealing to me.
So I got into this world.
As a result of various investigations,
I can prove there is a key element
in the history of the Grail
that's been overlooked.
For over a thousand years,
this monastery,
chiseled out of the Pyrenean mountainside,
was home to a community
of devout Benedictine monks,
Monks charged with guarding
the secrets of the Holy Grail.
Secrets Catalina has been unraveling.
The investigation
carried out by Margarita Torres
is super interesting.
She wanted to show that the Chalice
was requested by the Emir of Dénia
to be taken to León in the 11th century.
This does not make any sense,
because there is a key element,
and that is the appearance
of a document from 1322.
This document is a request
made by James II of Spain
to the Sultan of Cairo
for a number of relics,
which included the Holy Grail.
The document from 1322 proves
that the Chalice did not arrive in León
on the dates indicated by Margarita.
Because on this date, 1322,
the chalice was still in Cairo.
If it wasn't, why would King James II
request it from the Sultan in Cairo?
If Catalina is right,
then the Grail wasn't given
to the King of León in the 11th century,
but was sent to Spain
by the Sultan of Cairo 300 years later
where for 70 years,
it was kept safe by the monks
here at San Juan de la Peña.
And Catalina has unearthed
another document in the archives,
which reveals where she believes
the Grail went next,
and where it can still be found.
In 1416,
the King Alfonso the Magnanimous
relocates the court
to the Royal Palace of Valencia
and some years later,
Alfonso took out a loan
from Valencia Cathedral
to finance the campaigns
he was carrying out in Italy
as stated in the document here.
As a guarantee,
he leaves in the Cathedral the Chalice
in which Jesus Christ
consecrated his blood on Holy Thursday.
That loan was never repaid,
and the relics remained in the Cathedral
from 1437 to the present.
All the different lines of research,
I think they all point towards Valencia
as the relic's destination.
And I think that speaks for itself.
Catalina is convinced, like Ana,
that the Valencia cup
is the real Holy Grail.
But unlike Ana,
she thinks it came to Spain
not in the 3rd century,
but over a thousand years later.
And she agrees with Margarita,
that it came not from Rome,
but from Egypt.
Elsewhere in the world
they say that they have the Holy Grail.
In Valencia, we humbly say, "Prove it!"
We are not in competition.
But this chalice,
because of its history and evidence,
is the cup with which Jesus Christ
celebrated the Last Supper.
Do we know if this is the real Holy Grail?
It's hard to say,
but, man, is it fun to speculate.
To me,
authenticity is incredibly important.
I mean, I want to know
whether something is real or fake.
But a lot of people
aren't as interested in historical fact
as they are about, "What can heal me?"
"What can make my life better?"
For centuries,
the faithful have shared stories
of the power of relics
to perform miracles.
The Holy Face
has given me so much.
He has given me exceptional help
in times of great difficulty.
My daughter had a brain hemorrhage
at the age of 23.
She was in intensive care when I saw her.
And after 48 hours, the doctors told me,
"Your daughter won't make it."
They tried everything.
And then on Palm Sunday they said to me
"If you agree,
we'd like to donate her organs."
We agreed to it.
When Francesca fell ill,
the community of Manoppello
gathered around our family
and two masses were celebrated
in front of the Holy Face
to ask for help at this
special moment for Francesca.
Not even 24 hours later,
the phone rings again.
He says to me, "I've got news for you."
And then, you know, I was prepared.
It's not like it was news to me.
I knew it and he told me,
"No, Francesca is alive."
She is doing crosswords.
Can you imagine? Crosswords!
These were the doctor's words.
On April 14th, 2003,
I woke up.
I woke up, I opened my eyes.
And I woke up pretty healthy, so to speak.
I was close to death,
and I'm here, talking about it.
That's a lot to deal with.
Well, what more can I tell you?
Who saved her?
Surely it wasn't medicine,
because the doctors said,
"We don't have any cure for her."
A doctor made a gesture
as if to say something supernatural
had arrived.
And it's clear that, inside me,
I'll say it again,
I am sure that there was
the hand of the Holy Face.
I don't think
I can explain what happened.
I don't really think it can be explained.
The word "miracle,"
it's not for me to use it.
Surely there was a gift,
a gift that was followed
by many other gifts in my life.
I believe that the Holy Face
saves my life every day.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee
The 6th of August,
our solemn day
of the Holy Face of Manoppello
ends with a procession.
Every year, without fail,
I've carried the Holy Face in procession.
The throne is very heavy,
but the weight doesn't affect us.
The feeling that I get from it
is something quite exceptional.
You feel something inside
beyond normal life.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are thou amongst women
The inhabitants of Manoppello
believe that what they find on the shroud
is the face of the first moment
of the resurrection
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, it is this belief that brought
the miracle into their lives.
And this is why today
Rocco and Francesca can testify to us
of this beautiful experience they had
with the Holy Face.
We don't have very many things
in our world that are miraculous,
and I think people need miracles.
People crave miracles.
People could see a little piece
of something that is tiny
that is able to heal the sick.
What could be more powerful a sign
that God is alive and at work
among us than that?
Where there has been
a miracle, there's a relic.
You connect to the power of the relic,
and suddenly,
there's something that uplifts you.
You're here, but your mind,
your spirit is up there,
you know, you're connected to God.
Next on Mysteries of the Faith
For thousands of years,
relics have been used
to spread the word of God
around the world.
Just as you have missionaries
going out into the world,
you also have relics spreading the faith.
This relic is a way of evangelizing.
We must take it to the streets.
Previous EpisodeNext Episode