Feast of St. Januarius
#1
Is anyone familiar with this phenomenon?  Does the liquefaction of the martyr's blood occur at regular intervals throughout the year? Does it occur only in the course of the ceremony, when the reliquary is moved toward the martyr's head? 

~Anam-Chara

“A dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. January, liquefies 18 times during the year.... This phenomenon goes back to the 14th century.... Tradition connects it with a certain Eusebia, who had allegedly collected the blood after the martyrdom.... The ceremony accompanying the liquefaction is performed by holding the reliquary close to the altar on which is located what is believed to be the martyr's head. While the people pray, often tumultuously, the priest turns the reliquary up and down in the full sight of the onlookers until the liquefaction takes place.... Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation. There are, however, similar miraculous claims made for the blood of John the Baptist, Stephen, Pantaleon, Patricia, Nicholas of Tolentino and Aloysius Gonzaga—nearly all in the neighborhood of Naples” (Catholic Encyclopedia).


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#2
Just wondering and I can't seem to find anything online about it for today. Today is his feast day {and also my birthday} and I'm curious to find out if it happened or not this year.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08295a.htm tells more about it.
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#3
(09-19-2009, 02:02 PM)dakotamidnight Wrote: Just wondering and I can't seem to find anything online about it for today. Today is his feast day {and also my birthday} and I'm curious to find out if it happened or not this year.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08295a.htm tells more about it.

:birthday:

(I'm curious about whether it happened as well)
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#4
There is some tradition or belief that if it doesn't occur, it protends a disaster of some sort.
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#5
Sept. 19. Saint Januarius (Gennaro) (304). Noted in the world everywhere, the great Saint Januarius was martyred for the Catholic Faith under the Emperor Diocletian. His body is now enshrined in the Cathedral of Saint Januarius in Naples. There are two vials of his blood there, which liquefy eighteen times every year, on three occasions. Millions of visitors have seen this liquefaction of Saint Januarius'  blood. This miracle is a child-like tribute to the preciousness of the blood of every martyr who shed it for the truth of the one, holy and apostolic Church, founded by Jesus Christ for the salvation of all men.  http://www.smcenter.org/events_saints_Sep02.htm

Happy Birthday!  :salute:
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#6
Il miracolo e fatto! The blood liquefied... I have no link to post (I called a hotel in Naples and asked the concierge). Anyway, Naples is safe for another year...
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#7
Thanks, Vox!  Your post made me wonder what would happen if I googled in Italian (what we call "googlismo")  and it worked.  Here's a link with a photo, but it's in Italian:

http://www.napolisport.net/news/?id_news=5272&Napoli,+si+ripete+il+miracolo+di+San+Gennaro

If you put the words "San Gennaro miracolo Napoli" into Google images, you get some pictures.
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#8
Here's an English one (yes, it did):

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/21/world/...aples.html

Quote:NAPLES — The scene was familiar on the feast day of the patron saint of Naples, St. Januarius: the packed cathedral; the procession with the saint’s relics, including two glass vials said to contain his clotted blood; the mounting anticipation during the solemn ceremony, culminating in an explosion of applause at the archbishop’s joyful announcement: “I give you the good news, the blood has liquefied.”

But on Saturday a singular announcement colored the annual ritual that has enthralled Neapolitans since the 14th century. “You can kiss the reliquary,” Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the city’s archbishop, told the excited crowd. “Know that every proper hygienic sanitary precaution has been taken.”

Anxiety over swine flu, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in June, has been particularly acute in this southern Italian city. When a 51-year-old man infected with the H1N1 virus died in Naples this month, only a handful of relatives attended the funeral and the pallbearers wore sanitary masks for fear of contagion, Italian newspapers reported.

And two weeks ago, Neapolitan transit workers went on strike, saying they were afraid of catching swine flu from dirty city buses.

Initially, in response to flu worries, local church officials mulled over measures forbidding worshippers from kissing the reliquary containing what they believe is the blood of San Gennaro, as he is known here, a local bishop martyred in 305. But that risked upsetting the followers of this popular saint who Neapolitans believe protects their city.

After some debate, Cardinal Sepe convened a committee of experts to determine the risk of contagiousness from kissing the sealed glass bauble that encases the vials with the substance. One of the few times kissing was forbidden altogether was during a cholera outbreak in 1973.

Last week, the experts approved the devotional practice.

“As long as all the necessary hygienic precautions are taken, there is practically no risk to public health,” said Marcello Piazza, a professor at the University of Naples Federico II, and a member of the committee.

Many hundreds of people in Italy are thought to have been infected by the H1N1 virus, but it has not directly claimed any lives, Professor Piazza said. “More people die of common influenza,” he said. Another death was reported this weekend, of a woman in Messina, in Sicily.

So until next Sunday, when the relics are returned to the fortified safe where they are kept during the year, worshippers in Naples can share a close encounter with their patron saint. After each kiss, a disinfected handkerchief will be passed over the glass of the reliquary, a measure that had already been in practice for years.

“I have faith, if God wants me to get a terrible disease, I’ll get one, blood or no blood,” said Clelia D’Ammanbrosca, a Neapolitan worshipper who had arrived at the cathedral at the crack of dawn to get a spot near the high altar.

Little is known about St. Januarius, believed to have been a Neapolitan bishop and early Christian martyr, whose relics are preserved in an ornate chapel in the Naples Cathedral. The liquefaction of the substance that the faithful believe to be his blood takes place three times a year, in December, May and on Sept. 19, coinciding with his feast day. It was first recorded in 1389.

Theologically, the Vatican has never accepted the liquefaction as an official miracle, preferring to refer to it as an inexplicable phenomenon, said Gennaro Luongo, a professor of hagiography and ancient Christian literature at the University of Naples Federico II. But the Vatican acknowledges the widespread veneration of the saint.

“Since the 15th century, a popular belief holds that if the blood does not liquefy or only partially liquefies it bodes badly for the city,” Professor Luongo said. “People poke fun at this, but predictions are common to many religions. It is part of popular religiosity.”

Over the centuries, many have tried to find scientific explanations for the phenomenon, and Cardinal Sepe has said, according to Italian news reports, that he intends to have the liquid studied.

“I put myself at his disposal,” said Luigi Garlaschelli, a chemist who closely examined the liquid in a previous study concluding that thixotropy, the property of certain gels to liquefy when they are shaken, might be one reasonable explanation. But because the vials are sealed, he was doubtful that any future experiments would be carried out on the substance itself.

But faith, in the case of Saint Januarius, seems to be trumping science.

“Some people have been kissing San Gennaro for years, and if they hadn’t been able to do so this year they might have panicked, immediately thinking of an epidemic, which isn’t the case,” Professor Piazza said. “In the long run, the disadvantages outweighed the advantages of a ban.”

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