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Liquefaction of Blood

A famous miracle claimed for the blood of St. Januarius, executed September 19, 309 C.E. In Lives of the Saints (1623), E. Kinesman stated: "The most stupendous miracle is that seen to this day in the church of St. Gennaro, in Naples, viz. the blood of St. Januarius, kept in two glass vials. When either vial, held in the right hand, is presented to the head of the saint, the congealed blood first melts, and then goes on apparently to boil." Scientists have pointed out that such a miracle may be accomplished scientifically by the use of ether or other chemicals.

However, the miracle has continued into modern times. On May 6, 1989, the blood liquified on schedule in Naples, and Cardinal Michele Giordano revealed that he had allowed scientists to study the relic secretly. The liquefaction traditionally occurs twice a year, on September 19, the day of the saint's death, and on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May. Cardinal Giordano, archbishop of Naples, stated that the "May Miracle" of 1989 occurred during the religious procession that precedes the usual ceremony for the liquefaction.


Rogo, D. Scott. Miracles: A Parascientific Inquiry into Wondrous Phenomena. New York: Dial Press, 1982.

Thurston, Herbert. The Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. London: Burns Oates, 1952.

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liquefaction The process of becoming or making a liquid by heating, cooling, or a change in pressure. In soils, the temporary transformation of material to a fluid state due to a sudden decrease in shearing resistance caused by a collapse of the structure associated with a temporary increase in pore fluid pressure.