Many unusual bodily phenomena have occurred to various privileged souls throughout the history of the Church. One of the most unusual phenomena is known as liquefaction: the experience whereby a preserved deceased person’s blood loses its hard, crumblike characteristics and miraculously changes back into liquid as fresh as it was when that person was alive.
|St. Nazarius of Rome|
In the tomb of Saint Nazarius, whose decapitated body and head were perfectly conserved, a vial of the Saint’s blood was found as fresh and red as if it had been spilt that same day. Saint Ambrose conveyed the bodies of the two martyrs into the new church of the Apostles which he had just built. A woman was delivered of an evil spirit in their presence. Saint Ambrose sent some of these relics to Saint Paulinus of Nola, who received them with great respect as a most valuable gift, as he himself testifies, and placed them in honor at Nola. The feast day of St. Nazarius is July 28.
Over a century later, it was purported that a vial of St. Januarius' blood surfaced and was preserved and permanently fixed in the metal reliquary in the Cathedral of Naples .The cathedral also has another reliquary, a sliver case containing what is believed to be the remains of the saint's head.
Thousands of people assemble to witness this event in the cathedral of Naples, three times a year: on September 19 (Saint Januarius day) to commemorate his martyrdom), on December 16 (to celebrate his patronage of both Naples and of the archdiocese), and on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May (to commemorate the reunification of his relics).
|Reliquary containing the Blood|
There has been a reported parallel "miracle" of the liquefaction of "blood" using substances available in the fourteenth century when the vial was recovered and there has not been any reasonable explanation of the missing century between the saint's death and the discovery of the vial. There are also similar liquefactions of the alleged "blood" of other saints in the Naples areas including St. John the Baptist, St. Stephen and St. Pantaleone. These and other concerns have convinced the Vatican not to declare the liquefaction a miracle. After the II Vatican Council, it even considered removing St. Januarius from the liturgical calendar, but popular pressure made it retain the saint's veneration as a local cult.
UPDATES : March. 24, 2015
Blood of Naples' patron liquefies during Pope Francis' visit to cathedral
|Pope Francis kisses a reliquary containing what is believed to be the blood of St. Januarius during a meeting with religious Saturday at the cathedral in Naples, Italy.|
At the end of Pope Francis' spontaneity-filled meeting with priests, seminarians and religious in the cathedral of Naples, the vial of dried blood of the city's patron saint appeared to miraculously liquefy.
God our Father,enable us who honour the memory of St Januariusto share with him in the joy of eternal life.Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,who lives and reigns with youin the unity of the Holy Spirit,one God, forever and ever.Amen.
|St. Andrew Avellino|
This blood acted strangely. In some of the vials, it retained its liquid consistency for over a century. In others it foamed or frothed, particularly on the anniversary of the saint's death. Several witnesses testified to these phenomena during the investigation before his beatification. When his tomb was opened in 1711, some of his fleshy tissue remained incorrupt, floating in a dark red liquid. This too, proved to be human blood, and it gave off a sweet perfume. In 1713 it was also found to be frothing or bubbling, as it was again in 1804 and 1852. In 1985, however, none of the blood preserved showed any of these tendencies. Witnesses over the next two hundred fifty years claimed that Bernardino’s preserved blood remained liquefied and was seen to bubble and boil.
Saint Patrizia is the other Patron Saint of Naples and her blood, which is kept in the monastery at San Gregorio Armeno, liquefies on 25 August every year (which is her Saint’s day) and often on other occasions too.
Saint Patrizia was the neice of Constantine the Great and was born in Constantinople in 350 A.D. She was brought up in the Imperial Court and educated as a Christian by a pious woman called Aglaia. From an early age Patrizia vowed to remain a virgin. But her family had counted on her getting married so Patrizia fled the family home rather than break her vow.
|Worshipers view vials of the blood of Saint Patrizia |
at the San Gregorio Armeno monastery
In 1864, when the convent closed down, the nuns moved to the San Gregorio Armeno Monastery, taking with them the sacred blood and remains of their Founder. These sacred remains are still to be found under the main altar there, in a glass urn decorated with silver, gold and precious stones.
Legend has it that a knight who lay down on the Saint’s tomb was cured of all his ills. He prayed all night and, seized by religious fervour and reluctant to leave the reliquary, he opened the urn and tore one of the Saint’s teeth out. Blood flowed out as if the body was still
alive. He collected the blood in two phials which are still preserved today.