Sangreal . . . Sang Real . . . San Greal . . . Royal Blood . . . Holy Grail.
It was all intertwined.
The Holy Grail is Mary Magdalene . . . the mother of the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ . Sophie felt a new wave of disorientation as she stood in the silence of the ballroom and stared at Robert Langdon. The more pieces Langdon and Teabing laid on the table tonight, the more unpredictable this puzzle became.
As you can see, my dear, Teabing said, hobbling toward a bookshelf, Leonardo is not the only one who has been trying to tell the world the truth about the Holy Grail. The royal bloodline of Jesus Christ has been chronicled in exhaustive detail by scores of historians. He ran a finger down a row of several dozen books.
Sophie tilted her head and scanned the list of titles:
The Templar Revelation:
Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ
* * *
The Woman with the alabaster Jar:
Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail
THE GODDESS IN THE GOSPELS
Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine
Here is perhaps the best‑known tome, Teabing said, pulling a tattered hardcover from the stack and handing it to her. The cover read:
HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL
The Acclaimed International Bestseller
Sophie glanced up. An international bestseller? Ive never heard of it.
You were young. This caused quite a stir back in the nineteen eighties. To my taste, the authors made some dubious leaps of faith in their analysis, but their fundamental premise is sound, and to their credit, they finally brought the idea of Christs bloodline into the mainstream.
What was the Churchs reaction to the book?
Outrage, of course. But that was to be expected. After all, this was a secret the Vatican had tried to bury in the fourth century. Thats part of what the Crusades were about. Gathering and destroying information. The threat Mary Magdalene posed to the men of the early Church was potentially ruinous. Not only was she the woman to whom Jesus had assigned the task of founding the Church, but she also had physical proof that the Churchs newly proclaimed deity had spawned a mortal bloodline. The Church, in order to defend itself against the Magdalenes power, perpetuated her image as a whore and buried evidence of Christs marriage to her, thereby defusing any potential claims that Christ had a surviving bloodline and was a mortal prophet.
Sophie glanced at Langdon, who nodded. Sophie, the historical evidence supporting this is substantial.
I admit, Teabing said, the assertions are dire, but you must understand the Churchs powerful motivations to conduct such a cover‑up. They could never have survived public knowledge of a bloodline. A child of Jesus would undermine the critical notion of Christs divinity and therefore the Christian Church, which declared itself the sole vessel through which humanity could access the divine and gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven.
The five‑petal rose, Sophie said, pointing suddenly to the spine of one of Teabings books. The same exact design inlaid on the rosewood box.
Teabing glanced at Langdon and grinned. She has a good eye. He turned back to Sophie. That is the Priory symbol for the Grail. Mary Magdalene. Because her name was forbidden by the Church, Mary Magdalene became secretly known by many pseudonymsthe Chalice, the Holy Grail, and the Rose. He paused. The Rose has ties to the five‑pointed pentacle of Venus and the guiding Compass Rose. By the way, the word rose is identical in English, French, German, and many other languages.
Rose, Langdon added, is also an anagram of Eros, the Greek god of sexual love.
Sophie gave him a surprised look as Teabing plowed on.
The Rose has always been the premiere symbol of female sexuality. In primitive goddess cults, the five petals represented the five stations of female lifebirth, menstruation, motherhood, menopause, and death. And in modern times, the flowering roses ties to womanhood are considered more visual. He glanced at Robert. Perhaps the symbologist could explain?
Robert hesitated. A moment too long.
Oh, heavens! Teabing huffed. You Americans are such prudes. He looked back at Sophie. What Robert is fumbling with is the fact that the blossoming flower resembles the female genitalia, the sublime blossom from which all mankind enters the world. And if youve ever seen any paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, youll know exactly what I mean.
The point here, Langdon said, motioning back to the bookshelf, is that all of these books substantiate the same historical claim.
That Jesus was a father. Sophie was still uncertain.
Yes, Teabing said. And that Mary Magdalene was the womb that carried His royal lineage. The Priory of Sion, to this day, still worships Mary Magdalene as the Goddess, the Holy Grail, the Rose, and the Divine Mother.
Sophie again flashed on the ritual in the basement.
According to the Priory, Teabing continued, Mary Magdalene was pregnant at the time of the crucifixion. For the safety of Christs unborn child, she had no choice but to flee the Holy Land. With the help of Jesus trusted uncle, Joseph of Arimathea, Mary Magdalene secretly traveled to France, then known as Gaul. There she found safe refuge in the Jewish community. It was here in France that she gave birth to a daughter. Her name was Sarah.
Sophie glanced up. They actually know the childs name?
Far more than that. Magdalenes and Sarahs lives were scrutinously chronicled by their Jewish protectors. Remember that Magdalenes child belonged to the lineage of Jewish kingsDavid and Solomon. For this reason, the Jews in France considered Magdalene sacred royalty and revered her as the progenitor of the royal line of kings. Countless scholars of that era chronicled Mary Magdalenes days in France, including the birth of Sarah and the subsequent family tree.
Sophie was startled. There exists a family tree of Jesus Christ?
Indeed. And it is purportedly one of the cornerstones of the Sangreal documents. A complete genealogy of the early descendants of Christ.
But what good is a documented genealogy of Christs bloodline? Sophie asked. Its not proof. Historians could not possibly confirm its authenticity.
Teabing chuckled. No more so than they can confirm the authenticity of the Bible.
Meaning that history is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history booksbooks which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?' He smiled. By its very nature, history is always a one‑sided account.
Sophie had never thought of it that way.
The Sangreal documents simply tell the other side of the Christ story. In the end, which side of the story you believe becomes a matter of faith and personal exploration, but at least the information has survived. The Sangreal documents include tens of thousands of pages of information. Eyewitness accounts of the Sangreal treasure describe it as being carried in four enormous trunks. In those trunks are reputed to be the Purist Documentsthousands of pages of unaltered, pre‑Constantine documents, written by the early followers of Jesus, revering Him as a wholly human teacher and prophet. Also rumored to be part of the treasure is the legendary Q Documenta manuscript that even the Vatican admits they believe exists. Allegedly, it is a book of Jesus teachings, possibly written in His own hand.
Writings by Christ Himself?
Of course, Teabing said. Why wouldnt Jesus have kept a chronicle of His ministry? Most people did in those days. Another explosive document believed to be in the treasure is a manuscript called The Magdalene DiariesMary Magdalenes personal account of her relationship with Christ, His crucifixion, and her time in France.
Sophie was silent for a long moment. And these four chests of documents were the treasure that the Knights Templar found under Solomons Temple?
Exactly. The documents that made the Knights so powerful. The documents that have been the object of countless Grail quests throughout history.
But you said the Holy Grail was Mary Magdalene . If people are searching for documents, why would you call it a search for the Holy Grail?
Teabing eyed her, his expression softening. Because the hiding place of the Holy Grail includes a sarcophagus.
Outside, the wind howled in the trees.
Teabing spoke more quietly now. The quest for the Holy Grail is literally the quest to kneel before the bones of Mary Magdalene. A journey to pray at the feet of the outcast one, the lost sacred feminine.
Sophie felt an unexpected wonder. The hiding place of the Holy Grail is actually . . . a tomb?
Teabings hazel eyes got misty. It is. A tomb containing the body of Mary Magdalene and the documents that tell the true story of her life. At its heart, the quest for the Holy Grail has always been a quest for the Magdalenethe wronged Queen, entombed with proof of her familys rightful claim to power.
Sophie waited a moment as Teabing gathered himself. So much about her grandfather was still not making sense. Members of the Priory, she finally said, all these years have answered the charge of protecting the Sangreal documents and the tomb of Mary Magdalene?
Yes, but the brotherhood had another, more important duty as wellto protect the bloodline itself. Christs lineage was in perpetual danger. The early Church feared that if the lineage were permitted to grow, the secret of Jesus and Magdalene would eventually surface and challenge the fundamental Catholic doctrinethat of a divine Messiah who did not consort with women or engage in sexual union. He paused. Nonetheless, Christs line grew quietly under cover in France until making a bold move in the fifth century, when it intermarried with French royal blood and created a lineage known as the Merovingian bloodline.
This news surprised Sophie. Merovingian was a term learned by every student in France. The Merovingians founded Paris.
Yes. Thats one of the reasons the Grail legend is so rich in France. Many of the Vaticans Grail quests here were in fact stealth missions to erase members of the royal bloodline. Have you heard of King Dagobert?
Sophie vaguely recalled the name from a grisly tale in history class. Dagobert was a Merovingian king, wasnt he? Stabbed in the eye while sleeping?
Exactly. Assassinated by the Vatican in collusion with Pepin d'Heristal. Late seventh century. With Dagoberts murder, the Merovingian bloodline was almost exterminated. Fortunately, Dagoberts son, Sigisbert, secretly escaped the attack and carried on the lineage, which later included Godefroi de Bouillonfounder of the Priory of Sion.
The same man, Langdon said, who ordered the Knights Templar to recover the Sangreal documents from beneath Solomons Temple and thus provide the Merovingians proof of their hereditary ties to Jesus Christ.
Teabing nodded, heaving a ponderous sigh. The modern Priory of Sion has a momentous duty. Theirs is a threefold charge. The brotherhood must protect the Sangreal documents. They must protect the tomb of Mary Magdalene. And, of course, they must nurture and protect the bloodline of Christthose few members of the royal Merovingian bloodline who have survived into modern times.
The words hung in the huge space, and Sophie felt an odd vibration, as if her bones were reverberating with some new kind of truth. Descendants of Jesus who survived into modern times . Her grandfathers voice again was whispering in her ear. Princess, I must tell you the truth about your family.
A chill raked her flesh.
She could not imagine.
Sir Leigh? The manservants words crackled through the intercom on the wall, and Sophie jumped. If you could join me in the kitchen a moment?
Teabing scowled at the ill‑timed intrusion. He went over to the intercom and pressed the button. Remy, as you know, I am busy with my guests. If we need anything else from the kitchen tonight, we will help ourselves. Thank you and good night.
A word with you before I retire, sir. If you would.
Teabing grunted and pressed the button. Make it quick, Remy.
It is a household matter, sir, hardly fare for guests to endure.
Teabing looked incredulous. And it cannot wait until morning?
No, sir. My question wont take a minute.
Teabing rolled his eyes and looked at Langdon and Sophie. Sometimes I wonder who is serving whom? He pressed the button again. Ill be right there, Remy. Can I bring you anything when I come?
Only freedom from oppression, sir.
Remy, you realize your steak au poivre is the only reason you still work for me.
So you tell me, sir. So you tell me.