The biggest religious mysteries of them all

Following the recent emergence of another theory about the origins of the Shroud of Turin, the Daily Telegraph in England nominates its  top five religious mysteries.

The Ark of the Covenant

The Old Testament recounts that Moses, on leading the Israelites from Egypt, received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai.

The Commandments, written on stone tablets, were later placed in a chest made from acacia wood, plated with gold and topped with two golden angels – the Ark of the Covenant.

The Ark was kept in the Temple of Solomon Jerusalem for centuries, according to the Old Testament.

The hunt for the sacred chest, which featured in the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark, has become almost as legendary as the artefact itself.

In May 2008 German archeologists claimed to have found in Ethiopia the remains of a 10th century BC palace belonging to the Queen of Sheba and an altar which at one time reputedly held the treasure.

Ethiopian legend holds that the Ark was taken to the queen's palace by King Solomon after they fell in love.

The Holy Chalice and Holy Grail

The Holy Chalice is believed to be the cup or bowl that Jesus drank from during the Last Supper.

A chalice kept by the Cathedral of Valencia in Spain is recognised as a holy relic, but the Vatican has never claimed that it is the actual chalice that Christ used. The story of the Holy Chalice gave rise to the later legend of the Holy Grail, which developed in the early Middle Ages.

The Holy Grail, which is said to possess special powers, is associated with Arthurian legend.

The True Cross

Churches across Europe claim to have in their possession fragments of wood from the cross on which Christ was crucified.

Many are said to have been brought back from the Holy Land by St Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, the Roman ruler who legalised Christianity in the Roman Empire in 313.

FULL STORY Top five religious mysteries (UK Telegraph)

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