Sabina Suey: The Valencian Postwoman Who Hid the Holy Grail in Her Sofa

When the Spanish Civil War broke out, everyone from Spanish revolutionaries to M.I.6 agents wanted to steal the Holy Grail. Little did they know that a Valencian postwoman had hidden it in her sofa

Sabina Suey, who had the foresight to protect the Holy Grail, was a postwoman and professional pianist.

By Adam Hay-Nicholls at Air Mail: It is a story that’s equal parts Indiana Jones, John le Carré, and outlandish sitcom: a woman was pursued by the British secret service and the Nazis during the Spanish Civil War because she’d hidden the Holy Grail—the cup from which Christ is said to have drunk during the Last Supper—in a sofa.

There is debate as to where the relic is today, or if it even existed in the first place. A source of myth and mystery, more than 200 goblets across Europe alone have been posited as the holy chalice. Some academics have dismissed the Grail legend as a literary invention of the Middle Ages. Others theorize it was spirited away by the Knights Templar and is currently locked away in Fort Knox. Yet if it really does exist, several of the more credible routes from Jerusalem point toward Spain.

Since 1437, the Valencia Cathedral has housed the cup most commonly credited as the true Grail by Western Christianity. The Santo Cáliz (Holy Chalice) comprises two parts: a blessing cup made of reddish-brown agate stone, and a carved-gold reliquary, into which the cup is set, with precious gems at its base.

In 1960, an archaeological study concluded that the cup dates from the second or first century B.C. and was made by hand somewhere between Palestine and Egypt—the only region where this type of agate is found. The gold stand dates from the 11th century, and is a means of showcasing it. It has passed through the hands of many popes. It’s thought to have been transported from Jerusalem to Rome by Saint Mark (a disciple of Saint Peter the Apostle, the first pope) around 60 A.D. and remained there until 258 A.D., when Pope Sixtus II is said to have given it to Saint Lawrence to take to Spain and keep it safe from persecution under Emperor Valerian. More recently, John Paul II and Benedict XVI used it when they visited Valencia in 1982 and 2006, respectively.

During the Spanish Civil War, which was fought between the Republican Communists and the insurgent Nationalist Fascists from July 1936 to April 1939, Valencia suffered from a heavy-handed Republican military presence, which was hostile toward members of the clergy. Priests, nuns, and bishops were brutally murdered, and churches were looted for items of value and sometimes burned to the ground.

On July 21, 1936, when half a dozen militia members burst through the Valencia Cathedral’s tall, Romanesque doors, worshippers feared what might happen. The Marxists made a beeline for the Gothic chapel where the Santo Cáliz was venerated, only to find that it wasn’t there. It wasn’t anywhere, in fact. They ransacked the place and, furious, overturned pews and set fire to the confessionals and the tabernacle, which spread to 16th-century tapestries and destroyed various relics.

The Republicans finally led away the youngest member of the clergy, José Gasch, and tortured him to find out where the Grail was.

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