24/7 VALENCIA: Could you tell us more about the latest news regarding the Way of the Holy Grail?
WAY OF THE HOLY GRAIL ASSOCIATION: “The Association has obtained funding of 4 million euros in 2021 for two municipalities along the route in Aragon.
The Cultural Association The Way of the Holy Grail is 20 years old and with it two decades of development of the Way of the Holy Grail not only in Spain, but also in major international cities such as Jerusalem, Rome and Naples.
These are 20 years dedicated to structuring the different routes offered by the history of the sacred relic in our country from the study and knowledge of the territory.
The awards ceremony was attended, among other personalities, by Mr. Carlos Abella Picazo, Secretary General of the Spanish Tourist Board, who received a copy of the book “The Holy Grail” published by Sargantana from Dr. Ana Mafé, a book that invites you to get to know the Holy Grail of the Cathedral of Valencia and its historical journey through different parts of the Mediterranean.
Both Jesús Gimeno Peris, secretary and councillor of Massamagrell and its president, were kind enough to tell us about all the work they are doing via civil society in an evening that brought together all those involved in tourism in the Valencian Community. We would like to highlight the presence of Emiliano García and Toni Bernabé from Visit Valencia, and of course, the Regional Secretary of Tourism, who despite not supporting the Cultural Association The Way of the Holy Grail with any kind of aid, had to hand them the award that, on their own merits, is theirs.
The event was also attended by the heads of Valten Travel, the TT.OO. of the Way of the Holy Grail, represented by Pepe Pizcueta and Lynne Lamantia, who form an essential tandem, as they have been supporting this route from their travel agency for twenty years.
At the beginning of the millennium an audit on horseback was prepared in 2002 to establish the route, followed by an official pilgrimage with the participation of the Diputación de Valencia and the Government of Aragón in 2004. Up to 3 guide books have been published (in 2003, in 2004 and in 2019) which explain village by village the main route of the Way of the Holy Grail as it passes through Aragon and the Valencian Community. Several road bike audits to adapt the route to people with reduced mobility: 2016 and 2018. The International Scientific Commission for the Study of the Holy Grail was created in 2018, bringing together researchers from all over the world interested in the history of the sacred relic and its implications for the territory. Cultural days, weeks and fortnights have been held in Valencia since 2016 in different locations.
Several thousand Pilgrimage Credentials have been distributed since 2002. The fourth edition of these credentials will be presented in 2022.
The Way of the Holy Grail has more than four historical-artistic routes and passes through six autonomous communities. The main axis is called the Way of the Holy Grail, the Route of Knowledge, the Way of Peace. It begins in the Pyrenees in Huesca, crosses the whole of Aragon and enters the Valencian Community through the municipality of Barracas until it culminates at the Cathedral of Valencia.
We are working with the Council of Europe to make it a European Cultural Itinerary in the 21st century. This is a non-political decision that is only approved through the union of synergies of the European international associative fabric. This is something we have been working on, without any public support, for five years. Because we want people from all over Europe to be able to reach the city of Valencia on foot, on horseback or by bicycle, following the European precepts of the SDGs.
In 2014, the association initiated the necessary alliances to carry out a European project with the University of Zaragoza. This culminated in 2015 with the presentation of the “Route of the Holy Grail” at the Aragon stand at FITUR. The route of the Jacetania was signposted, the main route of the route was uploaded on the website, drawn up by the Master Equestrian Fernando Avilés, member of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Association The Way of the Holy Grail Route, and the proceedings of the congress of the European Holy Grail Route Project were published.
The Holy See, in view of the interest shown by the Archbishop Cardinal of Valencia Carlos Osoro Sierra in the custody and dissemination of the history of the sacred relic of the Holy Chalice of the Cathedral of Valencia, granted in 2015 the celebration of a Jubilee Year every five years and in perpetuity.
Thanks to the Holy See, the Way of the Holy Grail has become the first Jubilee Way by frequency in the whole of Christendom. We are talking about 2.2 billion Christians (31% of the world’s population) interested in knowing this part of their history.
From 2019 there was a turning point in the history of the holy relic and a wide range of possibilities will open up based on the scientific studies of Dr. Ana Mafé García. In October 2019, the German television channel ZDF INFO filmed a German-language documentary on the Holy Grail based on the studies of Dr. Mafé. From the documentary there is a presence in the German Wikipedia of the Holy Grail Way and its importance in the construction of the European Holy Grail.
The French TV channel RMC Découverte filmed a French-language documentary on the Holy Grail in September 2020, based on Dr. Mafé’s studies.
The 1st International Congress on Dissemination and Journalism on the Way of the Holy Grail was held on 19 and 20 November 2020 in Massamagrell with the presence of high-level journalists such as Javier Sierra and Fran Contreras.
In October 2021 Dr. Mafé was in a film about the Holy Grail of Valencia for the French channel C8 of the Canal + group and in February 2022 the BBC has also filmed with Dr. Mafé a mini-documentary for the Anglo-Saxon public.
In 2022, the other routes that complete the tourist experience of the WAY OF THE HOLY GRAIL are being developed: THE PYRENEAN VIRGINS ROUTES, THE RELIQUES ROUTES AND THE RESCUE ROUTES. Each of these routes is based on historiography, heritage research and the creation of tourist experiences.
Having the opportunity to position Spain with two pilgrimage axes, such as Mecca and La Medina for the Muslim world, means creating a fundamental link in the perception of Europe’s history.
Europe has the opportunity to export to the world the values that have shaped the different social forms of establishing peace between peoples. Centuries of struggle, war and genocide must never be repeated.
The strengths of this project lie above all in being able to show the reactivated values of our enlightened past through new eyes, those of the millennials. Spirituality, fraternity, being welcoming, generosity, solidarity, knowledge, tolerance and understanding, all of which are at the centre of the construction of the tourist story that underpins the Way of the Holy Grail…and have been cemented as the values of this route by civil society.
After Jerusalem and Rome, Valencia is the third most important Jubilee city in terms of frequency in the entire religion of Christianity. The route of the Way of the Holy Grail can generate a multitude of opportunities for investment, employment, hope and, of course, a new positioning of Spain in front of all international destinations as “the best place in the world and the safest place to make a pilgrimage on foot”.
In 2021, Dr. Ana Mafé García, has given two European projects for two municipalities in Aragon that have been approved by the Spanish Government with 4 million euros. In the Valencian Community, the technicians and managers of Tourism Valencian Community paralyzed 9 projects of the same characteristics in 9 municipalities of Castellón and Valencia, losing 18 million euros in investments for our land.
This road is called to bring thousands of people in a sustainable way to our city, to our municipalities. This road is, without a doubt, a hope for the future that will bring many joys to the families that live from tourism and, as its president says, a way of distributing resources to avoid, as far as possible, the ‘hunger queues’ that are looming.”
Report by ‘24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia