Sep 21, 2008 / 01:51 am America/Denver (CNA).
The blood of Saint Januarius, patron saint of Naples, has reportedly liquefied again in a continuation of the centuries-long miracle.
In Naples’ Cathedral on Wednesday, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, held up a vial containing the blood of the third-century saint while a traditional white handkerchief was waved, ANSA reports. The thousands packing the cathedral and the square outside cheered and set off fireworks.
The cardinal said that the blood had apparently liquefied before it was removed from the strongbox in which it is stored.
The dried blood of Saint Januarius, a bishop who was beheaded during a persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in September of 305, traditionally liquefies on the anniversary of his martyrdom. Additionally, it annually liquefies on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May and on the December 16 anniversary of a 1631 eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius, an eruption believed to have been stopped by San Januarius’ intercession.
The liquefaction of the blood can take hours and even days. Some consider its failure to liquefy an omen of looming disaster. After one such failure in 1527, tens of thousands died from the plague. In 1980, 3,000 died in an earthquake which devastated parts of southern Italy.