Sacred rites

Rite of the liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro

  • Participants min 2, max 6
    Children not allowed
  • Investment 15,00 euro
  • Duration 02:00 h.
  • Days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Timetable 09:00 - 11:00
  • Location Naples
About the experience "Rite of the liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro"

Three times a year, St. Januarius renews his bond with Naples and his blood dissolves in front of thousands of citizens and worshippers. At least this is what Neapolitans hope. On the Saturday preceding the first Sunday of May, on 19 September and on 16 December, they flock to the cathedral to witness the miracle of the liquefaction.

The atmosphere is dense with expectation, in the first row the ‘parenti’ await the moment in which they must sing chants and invocations to the saint for the blood to return to its natural state, waiting for the cardinal to display the vial and the assistant to wave the handkerchief to announce the miracle.

They are elderly women, descendants of Eusebia, the nurse who collected St. Januarius’ blood. They are relatives, parenti in fact, bound to the saint by an ancestral familiarity, a blood bond, on such familiar terms as to call him ‘Yellow face’ or scold him when the miracle takes too long. They repeat archaic rituals which are rooted in the Greek origins of Naples, when the women mourned their dead young men, hoping to resuscitate them and renew the myth of the eternal return. For them St. Januarius is like a son.


First Saturday in May

1st miracle

On the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, the bust and reliquary with the casket and the ampoules, together with the silver busts of the co-patron saints of Naples, are carried in procession from the Cathedral to the Basilica of Santa Chiara, in memory of the first transfer of the saint’s relics from Pozzuoli to Naples. After the ritual prayers, the “first miracle” of the liquefaction of the blood takes place.

19 September

2nd miracle

The second, perhaps the best-known, ritual of the liquefaction of the blood, is on 19 September, the anniversary of the young bishop of Benevento’s beheading. Inside the Cathedral, in the presence of the cardinal, the civic authorities and the congregation, the miracle takes place after the ritual prayers

16 December

3rd miracle

On 16 December, the day of the celebration of St. Januarius’ patronage, the “miracle” of the liquefaction of the blood is repeated in memory of the 1631 eruption of Vesuvius, when the blood liquefied and the magma flow stopped miraculously and did not invade the town.

Program and information

You will discover the history of this important and suggestive patron saint of Naples. If your visit is on the days when the miracle takes place, you will be able to witness the rite of liquefaction of San Gennaro's blood accompanied by a guide.

  • Find out more about the patron saint of Naples
  • Discover the Cathedral of Naples
  • Visit the treasure chapel

Languages spoken by the Local: English, Italian, French, German
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