Annual miracle fails to occur…
Bad Omen: Blood of St. Januarius Fails to Liquefy in Naples
UPDATES 16-DEC-20 21:42 UTC:
- Turns out that on Dec. 12, Francis had just accepted the resignation of “Cardinal” Sepe and replaced him with Mr. Domenico Battaglia as the Novus Ordo archbishop of Naples
- Another video of the non-occurrence of the miracle has appeared (YouTube)
- Yet another video has also been released (Napoli Today)
- The Italian Napoli Today has published a post on the failure of the miracle today
- Article below updated to reflect latest information
Usually the dried blood, which is kept in a flask-like reliquary in the cathedral of the diocese of Napoli (Naples), whose patron saint he is, turns liquid three times a year on very specific days: on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May; on September 19, which is the feast of St. Januarius; and on December 16. On rare occasions, however, the blood will fail to liquefy, as happened today. Historically, such failure has been the harbinger of impending calamity.
Il Mattino has released a video clip of the ceremony at which the saint’s blood was expected, but failed, to liquefy:
Although the people at the cathedral had hoped that the miracle would perhaps occur later in the day, at 6:30 pm local time, this did not happen either.
The last time the blood failed to liquefy was Dec. 16, 2016, a year in which Italy had been rattled by a number of earthquakes, centered around Norcia (Nursia), the birthplace of St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism. The last such earthquake destroyed the basilica built over the spot where the saint and his twin sister, St. Scholastica, are believed to have been born.
The earthquake of November 23, 1980 — the year when the dried blood of St. Januarius had failed to liquefy on September 19 — was devastating, as the following links show:
- Earthquake in Irpinia, Italy, 1980 (Video)
- The Shock that Changed Italy (Video)
- Nov. 23, 1980: Southern Italy Rocked by Earthquake (This Day in History)
Also in 2016, Naples was added to the list of cities at risk from being affected by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which is considered to be the world’s most dangerous volcano. December 16 is historically tied to St. Januarius and the volcanic outbreak of Vesuvius in 1631, as mentioned in the news report above.
As far as the ceremony surrounding the habitual liquefaction of the saint’s blood is concerned, the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia describes what transpires as follows:
What actually takes place may be thus briefly described: in a silver reliquary, which in form and size somewhat suggests a small carriage lamp, two phials are enclosed. The lesser of these contains only traces of blood and need not concern us here. The larger, which is a little flagon-shaped flask four inches in height and about two and a quarter inches in diameter, is normally rather more than half full of a dark and solid mass, absolutely opaque when held up to the light, and showing no displacement when the reliquary is turned upside down. Both flasks seem to be so fixed in the lantern cavity of the reliquaryby means of some hard gummy substance that they are hermetically sealed. Moreover, owing to the fact that the dark mass in the flask is protected by two thicknesses of glass it is presumably but little affected by the temperature of the surrounding air. Eighteen times in each year, i.e. (1) on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May and the eight following days, (2) on the feast of St. Januarius (19 Sept.) and during the octave, and (3) on 16 December, a silver bust believed to contain the head of St. Januarius is exposed upon the altar, and the reliquary just described is brought out and held by the officiant in view of the assembly. Prayers are said by the people, begging that the miracle may take place, while a group of poor women, known as the “zie di San Gennaro” (aunts of St. Januarius), make themselves specially conspicuous by the fervour, and sometimes, when the miracle is delayed, by the extravagance, of their supplications.
The officiant usually holds the reliquary by its extremities, without touching the glass, and from time to time turns it upside down to note whether any movement is perceptible in the dark mass enclosed in the phial. After an interval of varying duration, usually not less than two minutes or more than an hour, the mass is gradually seen to detach itself from the sides of the phial, to become liquid and of a more or less ruby tint, and in some instances to froth and bubble up, increasing in volume. The officiant then announces, “Il miracolo é fatto”, a Te Deum is sung, and the reliquary containing the liquefiedblood is brought to the altar rail that the faithful may venerate it by kissing the containing vessel. Rarely has the liquefaction failed to take place in the expositions of May or September, but in that of 16 December the mass remains solid more frequently than not.
(The Catholic Encylopedia, s.v. “St. Januarius”)
For what it’s worth, December 16 is also the day before blasphemous Antipope Francis’ birthday. He will turn 84 tomorrow.
Speaking of Francis, there was a freak occurrence involving the blood of St. Januarius on March 21, 2015, the feast of St. Benedict, while “Pope” Francis visited the cathedral of Naples and kissed the relic: The dried blood liquefied unexpectedly but only partially, which, having been noted by “Archbishop” Crescenzio Sepe, caused Francis to exclaim: “The bishop just announced that the blood half-liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us.” Some media outlets later reported, tongue-in-cheek, that Francis had performed “half a miracle”:
- Blood of St Januarius liquefies during Francis’s visit to Naples (Catholic Herald)
- Pope Blood ‘Half-Miracle’: Pontiff’s Kiss Partially Liquifies Dried Sample (Newsmax)
- Neapolitan bishop claims ‘half miracle’ while pope is in town (Reuters)
On a side note, we recall that this is the same Francis who habitually refuses to genuflect or kneel before what he claims to believe is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. And of course we know that just as there can be no half-saints or half-popes, neither can there be half-miracles.
Two years ago, on Sep. 19, 2018, Naples’ “Cardinal” Sepe fell ill when officiating the ceremony for the miraculous liquefaction of St. Januarius’ blood: “…he was unable to carry the ampoule with the saint’s newly liquified blood out into the square to show the assembled dignitaries and townsfolk”, the Italian ANSA reported.
Let us pray to St. Januarius that, whatever the non-occurrence of the blood miracle may mean, people will finally reject Francis’ claim to the papacy and convert to the true Catholic Faith of the ages. May all of us repent sincerely of our sins and turn to God with Faith, hope, and charity.
Image source: ilmattino.it (screenshot)
License: fair use