A packed congregation at Naples Cathedral on Sunday (19 Sept) witnessed the regular "miracle" ceremony of San Gennaro.
A packed congregation at Naples Cathedral on Sunday (19 Sept) witnessed the regular "miracle" ceremony of San Gennaro. A religious relic reputed to be the congealed blood of Naples' Fourth Century patron saint, Januarius, is the centre of attention at least twice a year when it is said to liquify. The Bishop of Benevento near Naples, Januarius was beheaded during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian at Pozzuoli. The saint's relics are said to have been removed to Naples' Duomo Cathedral, with two phials of his blood collected by a poor woman who witnessed his martyrdom. Several times a year the "miracle" of the liquification of his congealed blood takes place when the phials are placed on the altar where the relics lie and a prayer is said over them. After an indefinite period the blood is said to liquify and bubble up. On each occasion, especially his feastday (19th Sept) a large crowd gathers to witness the ceremony, headed by a group of elderly ladies known locally as "le Zie Di San Gennaro"....the aunts of St Januarius. Sunday's service was celebrated by the Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Corrado Ursi.