Monday, December 1, 2014

St. Januarius


St. Januarius lived in Italy during the Diocletion persecution. He became a priest at a very young age and eventually became the bishop of Naples around the end of the third century. While visiting imprisoned Christians, he was also arrested. He and his deacon were thrown to wild beasts, but the beasts did not attack them. The men were then beheaded.

A vial of his blood is kept in Naples as a relic. In one of the more bizarre miracles I’ve read about, his blood liquefies and bubbles when exposed in the cathedral. The blood miracle occurs three times a year. Liquefaction can be immediate or take hours. The Church has no official statement on the blood miracle.

St. Januarius is the patron of blood banks and volcanic eruptions. Naples has several patrons, but Januarius is considered the principal patron of the city. His feast day is September 19. 

Of course, the name Januarius makes me think of the Roman god of transitions Janus, from whom we get the month of January. Janus had two faces, one looking into the past and one looking into the future. While January is still a month away, it seems appropriate to reflect on Janus/Januarius as we begin a new Church year.

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