For the first time in over 150 years -- Blood of St. Januarius liquefies during Francis' visit to Naples
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/22/2015 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
For the first time in over 150 years, the blood of St. Januarius liquefied in the presence of a pope this past weekend. The phenomenon occurred when Pope Francis visited Naples this past weekend. It was the first time the blood liquefied in the presence of a Pope since 1848, for Pope Pius IX.
According to legend, Januarius was allegedly born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The blood of the patron saint of Naples is normally solid. The blood partially liquefied after Pope Francis kissed the relic during his day trip to the southern Italian city.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples showed the vial to the congregation in the city's cathedral, declaring, "The blood has half liquefied, which shows that St. Januarius loves our Pope and Naples."
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe shows the relic of St Januarius's blood to Pope Francis.
Pope Francis was quick to respond. "The bishop just announced that the blood half liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us. We must all spread the word, so that he loves us more!"
The phenomenon did not occur when St John Paul II visited Naples in 1979 or while Benedict XVI visited the city in 2007.
St. Januarius was a Bishop of Naples who, believed to have been martyred around the year 305 during the Diocletian persecution.
According to legend, Januarius was allegedly born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites. At a young age of 15, he became local priest of his parish in Benevento, which at the time was relatively pagan. When Januarius was 20, he became Bishop of Naples and befriended Juliana of Nicomedia and Saint Sossius whom he met during his priestly studies.
During the 1 1⁄2-year-long persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, he hid his fellow Christians and prevented them from being caught. Unfortunately, while visiting Sossius in jail, he too was arrested. He and his colleagues were condemned thrown to wild bears in the Flavian Amphitheater at Pozzuoli, but the sentence was changed due to fear of public disturbances, and they were instead beheaded at the Solfatara crater near Pozzuoli. Other legends state either that the wild beasts refused to eat them, or that he was thrown into a furnace but came out unscathed.
Kept in a sealed glass ampoule, the saint's blood traditionally liquefies three times a year: on September 19, the saint's feast day, December 16 and the Saturday before the first Sunday of May.
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