Naples – A crimson substance some Neapolitans believe is the dried blood of their patron saint liquefied once again on Friday, with Cardinal Michele Giordano hailing the alleged miracle as a sign that San Gennaro still loves them.
In a ceremony attended by the city’s mayor and thousands of Roman Catholic faithful, Cardinal Giordano held up the glass vial and swirled around the dark red liquid inside for all to see.
A long applause greeted the liquefaction, which is seen as a good omen by superstitious Neapolitans.
The so-called San Gennaro miracle has occurred almost without fail for more than 600 years on the saint’s feast day, on September 19. It also takes place on December 16 and the Saturday before the first Sunday of May.
Failure to liquefy is believed to bring about disasters, such as in 1980, the year that 3 000 people died in an earthquake that devastated southern Italy.
Several Italian scientists have claimed that the substance in the glass container is indeed blood. Sceptics, however, argue the miracle is caused by the shaking of the glass container or by the warmth of the hands that hold it. – Sapa-DPA