Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Grail Church


"The Church of Christ is never a place, but always a people; never a fold, but always a flock; never a sacred building, but always where believers gather in His name. The Church is you who pray, not where you pray. A structure of brick and marble can no more be a Church than your clothes of serge or satin can be you. There is nothing more sacred than you — for your soul is the sanctuary of God."

—  Seán Manchester (The Grail Church)

“Many will have heard the legends concerning Jesus visiting Glastonbury and St Joseph of Arimathea bringing to that sacred place the Holy Grail. This book provides the evidence. It also addresses the systematic erosion of belief in our times and provides disturbing reasons why even some ‘Christians’ no longer accept a personal God or the existence of the Devil.”

— Melvyn Willin (reviewing The Grail Church in Society News)

“Fascinating reading for anybody interested in Jesus’ wilderness years and history of the Apostolic Church of the Holy Grail in Britain from its birth through its disappearance for twelve centuries and then its rebirth in April 1973.”

— Shaun Marin (reviewing The Grail Church in Encounters)

Christianity came to Britain in the first century. Tertullian of Carthage (circa 208) said that the Christian Church of his day "extended to all the boundaries of Gaul, and parts of Britain inaccessible to the Romans but subject to Christ." Eusebius of Cæsaria (circa 260-340) in his Demonstratio Evangelica said: "The Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the Isles called the Brittanic Isles." Sabellius (circa 250) revealed: "Christianity was privately confessed elsewhere, but the first nation that proclaimed it as their religion and called it Christian, after the name of Christ, was Britain."

On page 87 of The Grail Church, its author writes: "To the native Celts the Grail Church became known as the British Church; so as to distinguish it from the Anglo-Saxon English Church. When the Anglo-Saxons adopted Roman Christianity the British Church receded until it eventually vanished. Yet the memory of the Holy Grail could not be eradicated; indeed, its symbolic potency only grew with the passing of time."

The Holy Grail was considered to be a relic of inestimable value as the Cup of the Last Supper that was later used by St Joseph of Arimathea to collect a few drops of the Saviour's blood. Apocryphal writings credit St Joseph with possession of the Cup.

The Holy Grail was brought to the British Isles by St Joseph of Arimathea where, six centuries later, it disappeared. In later legends, as a result of the Holy Grail being lost, the country was strangely afflicted with large areas becoming an uninhabitable wasteland. Those who ventured there died. And a sixth century monk named Gildas wrote a history (Gildæ sapientis de excidio et conquestu Britanniæ) which spoke of a great famine and disease that rendered the island of Britain virtually uninhabitable, resulting in mass migration to the Continent. He attributes the catastrophe to the Britons' loss of faith. There are parallels with then and now. A steep decline in moral attitudes and social behaviour, plus, more significantly, the distortion and loss of faith, makes us ripe for a coming wasteland. There is a difference, however, because this time it might be on a global scale.

Christianity came to Britain in the first century and, according to the book's author, is the essence of our civilisation. Lose it and we lose everything. He believes the consequence of that loss is already apparent.

Of the Grail Church itself, Seán Manchester writes: “The British Church receded until it eventually vanished. Yet the memory of the Holy Grail could not be eradicated; indeed, its symbolic potency only grew with the passing of time.”

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