Miracle of St. Januarius repeated: blood liquefies
September 19, 2012
The blood of St. Januarius liquefied on September 19, his feast day, in the repetition of a familiar miracle in Naples.
St. Januarius, who was martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian, is the patron saint of Naples and of the city’s cathedral. A vial of his blood, preserved by the faithful since the 4th century, regularly turns into liquid form on his feast day. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, who presided at a traditional ceremony in the cathedral, assured a large congregation that the miracle had been repeated.
Many residents of Naples believe that if the saint’s blood does not turn to liquid form, it is a sign that some tragedy will befall the city. The miracle did not occur in 1980, when an earthquake south of Naples caused over 2,500 deaths. In the most distant past, the absence of the regular miracle was associated with military losses, volcanic eruptions, and outbreaks of the plague.
Scientists have been unable to explain why the saint’s blood, which ordinarily remains in solid form, liquefies on such frequent occasions. The Church has never formally pronounced on the miracle, although the Archbishop of Naples traditionally leads the ceremony at which the vials are placed upon the cathedral altar and the miracle is proclaimed.
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