Skip to comments.Miracle of San Gennaro Repeated (St. Januarius)
Posted on 09/19/2005 6:11:01 AM PDT by Pyro7480
Miracle of San Gennaro repeated
Dried blood of Naples' patron saint liquefies
(ANSA) - Naples, September 19 - Thousands of people packed into this city's cathedral Monday morning to watch the blood of patron saint San Gennaro liquefy in the repetition of a centuries-old 'miracle.' The miracle officially took place at 09.56 (07.56gmt) and was announced by the archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Michele Giordano, who held up a phial containing the blood while a white handkerchief was waved from the altar to the applause of the crowd. This year the miracle took on special importance because it marked 1,700 years from the martyrdom of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) in 305 AD.
Aside from the faithful, leading local politicians attended the ceremony which was also broadcast live by a host of national and international TV networks.
Naples Mayor Rosa Russo Jervolino said the liquefaction was "a sign that San Gennaro is still protecting our city. It was also a strong sign of hope and, I'd say, encouragement for everyone to work for the common good." Cardinal Giordano expressed a similar view in his sermon in which he said that "solidarity should be considered as a new civic virtue." The dried blood of the saint is preserved in two glass phials and traditionally liquefies three times a year, allegedly thanks to the devotion and prayers of the faithful.
Aside from the anniversary of the saint's beheading, the miracle also takes place on December 16, to commemorate the 1631 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius believed to have been halted by the saint's intervention, and again on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May.
On this occasion, there is a procession through the city's streets to recall the many times the relics have been moved over the centuries.
The liquefaction process sometimes takes hours, even days, and on occasions fails to happen at all.
For the faithful and superstitious, the ritual's success is a good omen for the city while its failure is a sign of impending disaster.
In fact, disaster has struck on at least five occasions when the blood failed to liquefy, including in 1527 when tens of thousands of people died from the plague and in 1980 when 3,000 people were killed in an earthquake which devastated much of southern Italy.
The phials will remain on view in the cathedral for eight days before being returned to a vault in the chapel of the Treasury.
The first historical reference to the liquefaction of the martyr's blood is dated 1389.
Although now a headline-making saint, little is known about San Gennaro except that he was bishop of Benevento to the south of Naples and was martyred during the persecution of Christians spearheaded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
The bishop was beheaded for refusing to bow down to his 'pagan' persecutors. According to legend, his body and head, still dripping blood, were gathered up by an old man and taken to a safe place while a local woman filled a phial with his spilt blood.
A group of Italian scientists has analysed the contents of the phials, establishing that they do contain blood, but have been unable to explain the phenomenon.
Some believe it is due to the shaking of the containers or the penetration of warmth from the holder's hands.
Thousands of Neapolitans crowded the Italian city of Naples's cathedral on Monday to see what they believe to be the dried blood of their patron saint liquefy in a glass vial.
The alleged "miracle", which has been taking place almost without fail for centuries, is seen as a sign that San Gennaro (Saint Januarius) still loves them.
In a ceremony attended by the city's mayor and thousands of Roman Catholic faithful, Cardinal Michele Giordano held up the glass vial and swirled around the dark red liquid inside for all to see.
Prolonged applause greeted the liquefaction, which is seen as a good omen by superstitious Neapolitans.
"The miracle certainly represents a message of hope. It is a sign that San Gennaro continues to protect our city," said Naples mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino, a practising Catholic.
Failure to liquefy is believed to bring about disasters, such as in 1980, when 3000 people died in an earthquake that devastated southern Italy.
While acknowledging that the substance in the glass container is indeed blood, many scientists argue that the miracle is caused by the shaking of the glass container or by the warmth of the hands that hold it.
Scientists call the process thixotropy, whereby the viscosity of a thixotropic liquid increases if left unstirred and decreases if stirred or moved.
The so-called San Gennaro miracle usually takes place on the saint's feast day, which falls on September 19, and on two other occasions each year -- December 16 and the Saturday before the first Sunday of May. -- Sapa-DPA
Thanks for the ping Pyro
Looks like: "We report, we decide."
BTTT on the Optional Memorial of St. Januarius, September 19, 2006!
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