Napoli—City of Passion and Miracles

Naples (Napoli for us) is a city like no other. There is passion, good food, and miracles.

I am not a particularly religious person, I leave beliefs aside and visit churches for their works of art.

Recently I went to Naples, incidentally it was also the Saturday before the first Sunday of May.

On this date, in the Royal Chapel within the Cathedral of Napoli, the Blood of San Gennaro would be taken out of the safe. 

It happens only on December 16, the Saturday before the first Sunday in May (anniversary of the transfer of the saint’s body from Pozzuoli to Naples) and on September 19.

The safe in a precious altar, is operated by turning two keys simultaneously, kept by two different people, in front of the city authorities, hence taking out the ampoulles which are said to contain the blood of San Gennaro. 

The peculiarity of this relic is that three times a year the substance changes from solid to liquid, a phenomenon considered prodigious by the faithful.

Obviously the phenomenon was studied by the CICAP (Italian Committee for the Control of Claims on Pseudosciences). According to them, the origin of the prodigy of San Gennaro (the Church does not call it a miracle) is due to the thixotropic properties of the recreated substance, that is, its ability to liquefy from a solid state if stirred.

“However, the behavior of San Gennaro’s blood is unpredictable,” explains Abbot Vincenzo De Gregorio, who has been handling the ampoules during ceremonies for 12 years. “Sometimes he liquefies immediately upon exiting the safe or even inside. Before Pope Ratzinger, I believe I have moved the ampoules sufficiently, but the blood has not dissolved. And he was the pope ».

When the blood of San Gennaro does not dissolve, it is interpreted as a bad omen. For the Neapolitans, there has always been a correlation between the timing of the dissolution and the events of the city.

The first news of the dissolution, dates back to the end of the 14th century, but the miracle became famous in the 17th century: “The blood remained solid in the ampoule even in the year of the earthquake, 1980, as well as before the Second World War world, and also in 1973, the year of cholera.”

On the other hand, when liquefaction occurs, it is associated with a positive event.

No miracle on December 16th, 2020; the prodigy did not happen, and no liquefaction either in 16 Dec 2021.

There is hope now, I can testify that it happened the last Saturday before the first Sunday of May. 

I am optimistic and waiting for the positive event. Maybe the end of the war with Ukraine? That would be good news for all.

Last note, no one knows for how long it stays liquid, because after 3 days, they will close it again inside the safe until September 19, 2020.

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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