A Spanish priest who claims to be the guardian of the ‘Holy Grail’ has died after reportedly choking on a piece of meat at a wedding reception.
Juan Miguel Diaz Rodelas, who is the Canon of the Cathedral of Valencia, where the ‘Santo Caliz’ – the ‘Holy Chalice’ or ‘Holy Grail’ in English – is claimed to be kept, in the eastern Spanish region of the same name, had celebrated a wedding mass in the church of Santo Tomas of the city of Valencia.
The Cathedral and believers claim that this is the actual Holy Grail – the Cup of Christ – used to serve wine at the Last Supper.
He was then invited to the reception which took place in Campo Anibal, in the nearby town of Pucol and during the meal a fellow priest, who had also celebrated the mass, noticed Rodelas, 69, was struggling to breathe and so took him to the bathroom where he collapsed.
Paramedics were called to the scene but the priest did not respond to first aid so his colleague asked for some oil from the kitchen to perform the last rites.
The Spanish Civil Guard and local police have launched an investigation and an autopsy has been ordered.
The primary hypothesis is that the priest choked on a piece of meat but investigators are looking into if he had suffered a heart attack before that.
Diaz Rodelas was born in 1950 in the town of Arico Nuevo, in the south-western Spanish province of Tenerife and moved to Valencia in order to study Theology. In 1976 he was named as a priest in Ontinyent and worked in different churches in towns of Valencia province.
He was the Canon of the Cathedral of Valencia, and was a teacher at the Theology Faculty of Valencia, the archbishopric of Valencia said in a press statement.
In some Christian traditions, the Holy Chalice, which is also known as the Holy Grail, is said to be the vessel used by the Messiah to serve wine at the Last Supper before his crucifixion. Its existence and whereabouts are the subject of various myths and legends, including the Arthurian works which focus on the Knights of the Round Table questing to find the Grail.
One potential contender to the title of Holy Grail is the relic located in Valencia. Its first mention dates back to the 12th Century. There is a Chapel of the Holy Grail in the cathedral of Valencia. It is said that the chalice there is, according to Aragon and Valencian tradition, the Holy Grail.
It was used by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II when they visited the country. However, the Church has never taken a stance on the authenticity of the relic.