ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Hand of the Martyr

When Willie Martinez showed up to the first day of this conference I'm attending in Valencia, Spain, talking about seeing the shriveled hand of an old Christian Martyr in a Cathedral, I knew I'd have to see it too. He said the veins popped out of it like and the skin was like jerky.

I know. I know. A little too descriptive. And I'd never use the word 'jerky' in the same sentence with 'Christian Martyr.' It seems damn sacrilegious and a little too profane even for my tastes. Still, I had to see it.

So the I ducked out of the last half hour of the conference, changed and began walking in the direction of the town I'd heard it was. Past the river park where they relocated an entire river and made a park the length of the city. Past an old castle entrance. I really didn't know where I was going, but I somehow unerringly arrived at the Plaza of the Sacred Virgin, then around the corner found the awe-inspiring and imposing 1270 edifice called Valencia Cathedral or The Cathedral of the Chalice.

Yeah. That Chalice. 1st Century gold cup that old Jesus shared with the people. And they refer to it as The Holy Grail. BONUS. I get to see a martyr's hand and the Holy Grail.

Check this out

The Holy Grail of Valencia

The most celebrated treasure in Valencia Cathedral is a chalice known as the Santo Caliz, which is said to be the famous Holy Grail. Whether or not this is so, it is certainly an intriguing artifact. It is of ancient date and was hidden in a monastery in northern Aragon throughout the Dark Ages, where it inspired many Grail legends. It has been enshrined in the cathedral since 1437, and can be seen in a dark, simple stone chapel in the corner of the cathedral.

The Santo Caliz is made of two parts: an ancient stone cup attached to a medieval stem and base. Fashioned out of dark brown agate, the main cup is 6.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide. Experts have dated it to the 1st century BC with a provenance of Antioch or Alexandria.3 The medieval stem and handles are made of gold; the alabaster base is decorated with pearls and precious stones.

Inside I took the audio walking tour. As you can see from the pictures here, it was just amazing. I kept wishing Yvonne was there because no matter how much I was enjoying it she would have loved it ten fold me.

Then I saw the hand of the Martyr. I gotta admit. I stopped breathing for a moment. It was a very eerie sight. And it was more than a hand. As you can see, it was the lower half of an arm. Wow. Just wow. Turns out it's from St. Vincent the Martyr. Also known as Vincent of Saragossa. Wikipedia says:

According to legend, after being martyred, ravens protected St. Vincent's body from being devoured by vultures, until his followers could recover the body. His body was taken to what is now known as Cape St. Vincent; a shrine was erected over his grave, which continued to be guarded by flocks of ravens. In the time of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi noted this contant guard by ravens, for which the place was named by him كنيسة الغراب "Kanīsah al-Ghurāb" (Church of the Raven)
Here's the Valencia Cathedral Website

Afterward, I sat in the piazza and drank some water and had a sandwich. The sandwich was Spanish ham, some sort of semi-soft cheese on brioche. Are you kidding me? God that was good.

Here are the rest of the pictures from Valencia, Spain. Enjoy.

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