Europe brief: San Gennaro’s ‘miracle’ blood ceremony draws thousands in Naples

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 20, 2008

NAPLES, Italy — Buoyant Neapolitans rejoiced Friday morning when, at 9:43 a.m., the "miracle" of San Gennaro was repeated — and the contents of a vial said to be the blood of the martyred saint mysteriously liquefied, according to Italian news reports.

"The miracle happened," proclaimed a few Italians who work at a U.S. Navy base in Naples. Some Americans, based here, went to see the event for themselves.

"There were thousands of people in the cathedral and spilling out into the streets to see this," said Allison Bough, who went to witness the miracle for herself. "There were people kissing the cardinal’s hands after he held up the vial. It was quite a spectacle."

If the miracle is realized, it is believed the city will be spared from devastating disasters for another year. Each year, on Sept. 19, the saint’s feast day, thousands of believers flock to the cathedral in downtown Naples to await word from the city’s cardinal of the whether the blood liquefies. Neapolitans venerate their city’s patron saint, who was beheaded in A.D. 305 during the persecution of Emperor Diocletianus in neighboring town of Pozzuoli.

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