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  • St. Januarius (San Gennaro)

    By Anthony Parente

    September 19th marks the feast day of St. Januarius (San Gennaro) the patron Saint of Naples, blood banks and volcanic eruptions. Januarius was the Bishop of Benevento, which is located in close proximity to Naples, during the fourth century. His reign as bishop also coincided with the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who was famous for his persecution of Christians. Diocletian summoned Timothy, a pagan governor of Campania, and ordered him to commence sacrifices to various idols and force the many Christians to offer them as well. On his mission Timothy encountered Januarius who rejected him and his beliefs and continually praised God for all of his works. Timothy had enough of the Bishop and ordered his persecution by placing him in the furnace to burn. While inside Januarius prayed to God to be removed from the flames. His prayers were answered because the flames did not touch him. Timothy decided to send Januarius to the wild beasts, but this failed because the beasts left him alone. When this failed Januarius was returned to prison. Shortly thereafter, Timothy became blind and demanded that Januarius help him and he did by asking God to restore his vision. Once the crowds saw this they began to cheer. Many prayed to the heavens to ask for forgiveness. Upon seeing this, Timothy feared for his own safety and turned to give the command to behead Januarius. His body was later returned to the Cathedral in Naples.

    Over a century later evidence surfaced that a vial of St. Januarius blood was preserved. The blood, which was dried and preserved, would transform itself back into a liquid and start to bubble when it was brought near the statue of the Saint. This phenomenon is still a mystery that hasn't been solved. Many hypotheses and theories have been recorded, but none have ever been proven. This miracle has never been confirmed by the Catholic Church leading many people to believe that the substance inside the vial is not the blood of St. Januarius, but some form of compound that is capable of transforming itself from solid to liquid. Even if it was proven not to be the blood many people will continue to believe in this miracle.


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