The Grail Movement is an organization which originated in Germany in the late 1940s, inspired by the work of the self-proclaimed Messiah Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (also known by his pen name Abd-ru-shin), principally In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message. Abd-ru-shin did not establish the organization; the Movement as it exists today was formally organized by followers.
The Grail Movement is a new spiritual movement dedicated to the dissemination and spread of the work In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message by Abd-ru-shin. Most members reside in 16 countries across Europe, primarily Germany and France, with the Grail Movement reporting hundreds of members in Britain and in the USA. It can also be found in Canada, Brazil and currently established in twenty-two (22) African countries such as Nigeria, Zaire (DR Congo) and Côte d'Ivoire, as well as in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Ecuador amongst others.
Worldwide, there are approximately 10,000 members of the Grail Movement. A declaration of the personal commitment to adhere to the principles of the Grail Message can be made by a request for the "Sealing", a Grail Act (ceremony) that takes place during one of three annual Grail Festivals. This, however, is a personal decision on the part of the individual and leads neither to commitment to an organization nor to formal links with other adherents.
The Grail Movement had its beginnings when Oskar Ernst Bernhardt took up residence in Vomperberg, Tyrol (Austria) in 1928, in order to focus on the writing of his major work "In the Light of Truth" - The Grail Message (as Abd Ru Shin), which was then followed by other works.
The establishment of the Grail Settlement on Vomperberg came about when groups of readers of The Grail Message, wishing to live and work in his immediate vicinity, took up residence there. The Settlement developed gradually; adding residences, work and administration buildings and then a small hall with seating for about 300 people. This hall was used by Abd-ru-shin for Sunday Hours of Worship and for the three annual Grail Festivals, Easter Festival etc., to which adherents of the Grail Message also journeyed.
This development was interrupted in 1938 when the Nazi regime annexed Austria and expropriated the Grail Settlement. Abd-ru-shin was arrested on the first day of the annexation and taken to Innsbruck prison. All residents were expelled so that the Settlement could be used as a Nazi training camp. Abd-ru-shin was eventually released but kept under house arrest and surveillance until he died in 1941 in Kipsdorf, Germany.
It was not until late in 1945 when the Allies returned the Settlement to his widow Maria Bernhardt that, under her direction, new development began. During this time the term "Grail Movement" was in common use, as a group designation for adherents of the Grail Message. Over the years national Grail Movements have formed in many countries, some of which, (e.g., Canada, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Congo (Zaire) and Nigeria) have built their own Halls of Worship although Abd-ru-shin had explicitly stated in his writings that he had not come to establish a new religion.
Grail Movement books
- In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message, Vol. 1 (Paperback). Abd-ru-shin, Grail Foundation Press, 1998,ISBN 1-57461-000-7
- The Ten Commandments of God and The Lord's Prayer, Abd-ru-shin, Grail Foundation Press,1995, ISBN 1-57461-004-X
- Knowledge for the World of Tomorrow, Herbert Vollmann, Grail Message Foundation, Germany, 1975, ISBN 3-87860-074-7
- What Lies Behind It...?, Herbert Vollmann, Grail Message Foundation, 1977, ISBN 3-87860-083-6
- Concerning Grail Activities, Herbert Vollmann, Grail Acres Publishing Co Ltd, 1998, ISBN 3-87860-116-6
- From the Heart of Africa, Irmingard Bernhardt, Grail Message Foundation, Grail Acres Publishing Co Ltd, 1981, ISBN 3-87860-101-8
Wilson, Bryan R. (1975). The Noble Savages: The Primitive Origins of Charisma and Its Contemporary Survival. University of California Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-520-02815-9.
... but their prominence and relative success when compared with such figures as Louwrens van Voorthuizen (Lou) in Holland, Georges Roux in France, and Oskar Ernst Bernhardt in Germany and Austria, all of whom claimed to be the messiah—is striking.
Introvigne, Massimo (1 March 2004). "Grail Movement". In Clarke, Peter. Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. Routledge. p. 244. ISBN 978-1-134-49970-0.
A complicated esoteric work, which includes a history of the universe partially derived from the Theosophical Society (see Theosophy), and hinting at Berhnardt’s own messianic role, it found interested readers within the esoteric milieu (see Esoteric Movements).
- Vojtisek, Zdenek (February 2006). "Millennial Expectations in the Grail Movement" (PDF). Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. 9 (3): 61–79. doi:10.1525/nr.2006.9.3.061. ISSN 1541-8480.
In order to calm the public and hide his messianic claims, in 1937 Bernhardt ordered that the "Conclusion" be cut out of all unsold In the Light of Truth books. ... Four lectures and the "Conclusion" published in 1931 are omitted in the authorized postwar version. The reason for dropping three of the lectures is probably the same as the reason for omitting the "Conclusion" in 1937: they were too explicit in pointing to Bernhardt (Abd-ru-shin) as the Messiah. Of the omitted lectures, the fourth was probably unacceptable after the war due to ideas that might be considered racist.28
- Kürti, László (April 2001). "Psychic Phenomena, Neoshamanism, and the Cultic Milieu in Hungary". Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions. 4 (1): 322–350. doi:10.1525/nr.2001.4.2.322.
Cultic milieu books, long familiar to Westerners, are being translated into Hungarian and sold in legitimate bookstores. The latest examples are Akashic Records by Victor Charon and The Message of the Grail by Abd-Ru-Shin [Oskar Ernst Bernhardt (1875-1941)]. Both are fashionable books involving esoteric worldviews with messianic claims, and both are widely distributed on the Hungarian publishing market.
- « Etwa seit 1923 spürte O. E. Bernhardt seinen besonderen religiösen Auftrag. Er betrachtete sich selbst als Gottesgesandten und als den verheißenen "Menschensohn", der das unvollkommene Werk des "Gottessohnes" Jesus Christus vollenden sollte. 1924 ließ er sich scheiden und begann wenig später mit der Veröffentlichung von Abhandlungen in der von ihm herausgegebenen Zeitschrift "Gralsblätter". Dabei nannte er sich "Abd-ru-shin". » (Plagge 2003: 120-122).
- « Abd-ru-shin (= Oskar Ernst Bernhardt; 1875-1941), ein Deutscher, sah das Werk Jesu Christi als gescheitert an und verkündigte sich selbst als den "wahren Christus", welcher der Menschheit die rettende "Gralsbotschaft" übermittelt. » (Gassmann 1999).
- « Das dreibändige 1926 erschiene Werk Im Lichte der Wahrheit – Gralsbotschaft von Abd-ru-shin ist eine Sammlung von 168 Vorträgen und enthält die Hauptgedanken des Mannes, der sich als "Menschensohn"82 verstand und in einer Pyramide auf dem Tiroler Vomperberg begraben ließ. » Diemling (2012: 153).