Naples Archbishop Domenico Battaglia kisses the reliquary containing the blood of St. Januarius on May 4, 2024. / Credit: Chiesa di Napoli

ACI Prensa Staff, May 6, 2024 / 16:48 pm (CNA).

The miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius, bishop, martyr, and patron saint of Naples, Italy, was repeated in St. Clare Basilica on May 4.

The Archdiocese of Naples reported on its website that on May 4 at 6:38 p.m. local time, the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius occurred once again. 

St. Januarius was martyred in the year 305, during the fierce persecution unleashed by the Roman emperor Diocletian.

The miraculous liquefaction occurred during the Mass offered by the archbishop of Naples, Domenico Battaglia, with Abbot Vincenzo De Gregorio participating and the mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi, in attendance.

When the miracle is repeated, a white cloth is waved to indicate to the people that the miraculous sign has taken place. On this occasion, De Gregorio gave the sign.

‘It’s not an oracle’

Challenging the belief that when the blood does not liquefy some misfortune might occur, Battaglia told those present at the Mass that “this blood is the sign of a dream of salvation, of hope, of trust. It is not an oracle to consult but a compass to follow because it is always well oriented toward Christ, the origin and goal of our journey, our history and the history of the world.”

“The hagiographic sources and records of Bishop Januarius’ martyrdom tell us how he, without any fear, put the good of his brothers before his own safety, going to visit a brother imprisoned because of his faith in Christ,” Battaglia continued.

The prelate then prayed to the martyr: “Help us to walk along the paths of time and history, with our gaze fixed on the Lord whom you have loved and served, and may we always be with feet ready to go to our brothers and sisters who are in physical, interior, or social prisons.”

“May we be like you, who despite the danger and persecution, for the love of God and the brethren, were not afraid to set out and risk your life to spread the bread of the Word that restores the brothers imprisoned because of the Gospel and the violence of men,” he also prayed.

Still addressing the patron saint of Naples, the archbishop continued: “Witness of fruitful blood, pray with us and help us to pray without tiring so that in this your city innocent blood will not be shed again, so that in our Europe, in the Holy Land and the world, fratricidal conflicts cease” and may Jesus Christ “defeat all violence, wipe away the tears of pain and disarm with forgiveness all desire for revenge.”

The liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius

The miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of the martyred bishop St. Januarius usually occurs three times a year.

The first occasion is the day commemorating the transfer of his remains to Naples, the Saturday before the first Sunday in May; and the second is his liturgical feast day, Sept. 19.

The third occasion is Dec. 16, when devotees thank him for his intercession to lessen the effects of the eruption of the Mount Vesuvius volcano, which occurred in 1631.

Who is St. Januarius?

St. Januarius was the bishop of Benevento in the Campania region, an Italian diocese adjacent to Naples, where he was born in 272.

During the persecution of the Church by the Roman emperor Diocletian, known as the “Great Persecution” (303–313), Januarius was taken prisoner along with a group of other Christians and subjected to terrible tortures.

The bishop and his friends refused to renounce their faith and worship the pagan gods. Despite the cruelties they were subjected to, none of them gave in and all were sentenced to death.

They tried to burn them alive in a furnace, but the fire did not harm them. They were then thrown to the lions, but the animals did not come near them. So the Romans decided to behead them all. On Sept. 19, 305, St. Januarius and his friends were executed near Pozzuoli.

Every Sept. 19, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Januarius, bishop and martyr.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.