Domenica, 24 Marzo 2019
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San Gennaro 'miracle' repeated


(ANSA) - Naples, September 19 - The Miracle of San Gennaro
was repeated on Wednesday when the blood of Naples' patron
saint liquefied at 9.12am.
A huge crowd of faithful, who had been pouring into the
city's cathedral and the square outside from the early hours of
the day, greeted the announcement of the miracle recurrence with
warm applause.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, held up
a phial containing the blood of the 3rd-century saint while a
traditional white handkerchief was waved.
For religious and superstitious Neapolitans, the ritual's
success is a good omen for the city.
The miracle takes place on the anniversary of the martyrdom
of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) in September 305 AD.
The dried blood of the saint is preserved in two glass
phials and traditionally liquefies three times a year, the
Church says, 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.
When the miracle does not occur it is seen as 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 several
days before being returned to a vault in the chapel of the
cathedral's 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The first historical reference to the liquefaction of the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 sceptics believe it is due to the shaking of the
containers or the penetration of warmth from the holder's hands.

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