The Purity Chalice
Before the Grail appeared, Chibiusa had spoken of a picture of a beautiful jeweled chalice that she saw in Neo-Queen Serenity's room, and attempted to make a clay replica of it for her art class in school. Diana mentioned that the Grail granted Neo-Queen Serenity wondrous power that could save people when a crisis called for it.
The Purity Chalice
In our weakness be thou the quickening power of life.Arise within our hearts as healing, strength and joy.Day by day may we grow in faith, in charity, in the purity by which we may see thee,and in the larger life of love to which thou callest us. Amen.
So we're plunged instantly into New Testament times. Some of the events that take place in the Bible's Book of Acts are happening offstage simultaneously. Our hero is a talented young artisan named Basil, who was adopted by a wealthy businessman to be his son and heir. But Basil is majorly screwed over by his wicked step-uncle, who sells him as a slave to an exploitative silversmith. From there, he's purchased by Luke the Physician (yep, that Luke) who brings him to meet Joseph of Arimathea. The elderly church heroes have a daunting commission for our boy. They possess the modest cup used by Jesus and his apostles in the Upper Room at the Last Supper, and want a special silver chalice created to hold it, which must feature the faces of Jesus's most beloved followers. They've chosen Basil, who is about 19 years old at this stage, to be the artist.
One of the questions driving the plot concerns Basil's ultimate success. He worries that if his ability to make the chalice will depend on the purity of his own state of mind, it's doomed, for lots has happened to make him bitter and vengeful in his short life. I love it that Bible stories are always drawn from by characters as real and living historical precedents to aid decision making, which is so refreshing in our era, when many people sweep them aside as legends or fairy tales.
Marie Jakober WebsiteISFDB BibliographySample Chapter: The Black ChaliceEdge Science Fiction and Fantasy PublishingA review by Victoria Strauss Advertisement Riveting historical fantasy from Marie Jakober and new SF/Fantasy publisher Edge.It's 1134. In a bleak monastery somewhere in Germany, Paul of Ardiun begins the chronicle he has been ordered byhis religious superiors to write: the story of the knight Karelian Brandeis, for whom Paul once served as squire, whofell prey to the evil wiles of a seductive sorceress, thereby precipitating civil war and the downfall of aking. But before Paul can set down more than a sentence or two of this cautionary tale, the sorceress herselfmagically appears to him. He is a liar, she tells him, and always has been. She lays a spell on him: from thismoment, he will only be able to write the truth.And what is the truth? To re-discover it, Paul must go back thirty years, to the day Karelian and his men aredriven by storm deep into the menacing Forest of Helmardin. There, they come upon a mysterious castle, where they'rereceived as if expected. Inside is light and luxury -- and Raven, the castle's mistress, more beautiful andfascinating than any human woman could be. Karelian and his men fall deeply under her seductive spell. Only Paul,good Christian that he is, is able to recognize Raven's pagan sorcery, and to resist it.Thus begins a powerful tale of ambition, delusion, obsession, and betrayal, focused upon four memorablecharacters: Karelian, jaded by too many years of fighting, who has come to question the beneficence and even theworthiness of the Christian god; Raven, priestess of the old gods, struggling to keep their power alive againstthe encroaching threat of Christianity; Gottfried von Heyden, Duke of Reinmark and Karelian's patron, who believeshimself the heir to an incredible destiny and is determined to create God's kingdom on earth; and Paul, devoutlyreligious yet unable to suppress the forbidden desires of his true nature, doomed always to fall short of the purityhe longs for more than anything else. These four, with their opposed beliefs and agendas, draw one anotherinevitably into an escalating spiral of violence that reaches out to engulf the whole of Reinmark. Meanwhile,behind their human conflict, a larger one plays out: between the ancient pagan gods and the new god of Christianity,who cannot rest until he possesses all the world.Fantasy and historical novels have a lot in common, for to recreate the past is as much an act of imagination as tobuild a non-existent world from scratch. The Black Chalice is a near-flawless melding of the two forms. Jakoberhas invented the duchy of Reinmark, along with all the places and characters in it, but this fabricated region possessesa completely authentic historicity. Yet while Reinmark is familiar in that sense, it's also quite alien -- in itspolitical sensibilities, for instance, in which the religious and the secular are never completely separate, and themindset of the characters, whose priorities and concerns are very different from modern ones. This skillfully-evokedsense of real-world strangeness allows the fantasy elements (which include not just magic but supernatural beings, therisen dead, and the pagan cup of plenty known in Christian mythology as the Holy Grail) to blend seamlessly with thehistorical ones, to form a unified and convincing whole. It's a combination that will appeal as much to fans ofhistorical writers like Cecelia Holland as to fantasy buffs.The Black Chalice's press kit bills it as "[possibly] the first overtly and intentionally pagan novelpublished in Canada." Well, maybe. Certainly the struggle between Christianity and the old gods provides the book'soverarching theme. But The Black Chalice isn't just a pagan tract. In Jakober's scenario, the differencebetween pagan and Christian isn't so much a difference of kind as of degree. The Christian god is one of many, asky god who like other sky gods desires mastery over the earth. What makes him unique is that he has accumulatednot just spiritual power, through his followers' belief in him, but political power, through the ceaseless wars ofconquest fought in his name. This, according to Jakober, is the true threat of Christianity: that church andempire will unite into a single entity, leaving nothing in the world that does not belong to the Christian god,no corner in which non-Christian ways can hide. It's that struggle, not just the more generalized oppositionbetween old gods and new, that lies at the heart of the book -- a more subtle take on the Christian/pagan dichotomythan usual, with some interesting contemporary resonance.Though Christianity doesn't come off well at all in The Black Chalice, its views and arguments arescrupulously presented, mainly through the character of Paul, whose unwilling narrative forms the novel'sbackbone. Paul is desperately devout, but also profoundly dishonest with himself and others about his desiresand impulses. Every action he takes is double-sided, stemming both from the purest Christian and the basestpersonal motives. Jakober conveys this difficult mix with admirable skill; in a book full of memorablecharacters, Paul stands out. He's not likeable, but he is believable and understandable, and, ultimately,pitiable in his pointless self-torment. The process by which he comes, finally, not just to tell the truth butto understand it is one of the novel's most compelling themes.The Black Chalice is the work of a major talent: intelligently conceived, beautifully written, powerfullyabsorbing, deeply moving. It deserves wide acclaim, and wider readership -- which unfortunately, as a small-presspublication, it may not achieve. It's a prime candidate for hand-selling, though. Hopefully booksellers willsee the quality of this striking book, and direct their customers toward it.Copyright 2000 by Victoria StraussVictoria Strauss is a novelist, and a lifelong reader of fantasy and science fiction. Her most recentfantasy novel The Garden of the Stone is currently available from HarperCollins EOS. For details,visit her website.If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning,please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide
A chalice (from Latin calix 'mug', borrowed from Ancient Greek κύλιξ (kulix) 'cup') or goblet is a footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning.
The ancient Roman calix was a drinking vessel consisting of a bowl fixed atop a stand, and was in common use at banquets. In Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Lutheranism and some other Christian denominations, a chalice is a standing cup used to hold sacramental wine during the Eucharist (also called the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion). Chalices are often made of precious metal, and they are sometimes richly enamelled and jewelled. The gold goblet was symbolic for family and tradition.
In Western Christianity, chalices will often have a pommel or node where the stem meets the cup to make the elevation easier. In Roman Catholicism, chalices tend to be tulip-shaped, and the cups are quite narrow. Roman Catholic priests will often receive chalices from members of their families when first ordained.
In Eastern Christianity (Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches), chalices will often have icons enameled or engraved on them, as well as a cross. In Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism, all communicants receive both the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ. To accomplish this, a portion of the Lamb (Host) is placed in the chalice, and then the faithful receive Communion on a spoon. For this reason, eastern chalices tend to have larger, rounded cups. In the Russian Orthodox Church, the faithful will often kiss the "foot" (base) of the chalice after receiving Holy Communion. In other traditions, they will kiss the cup. Although Orthodox monks are not permitted to hold personal possessions, the canons permit a hieromonk (i.e., a monk who has been ordained to the priesthood) to keep a chalice and other vessels necessary to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.