The blood of St Januarius has failed to liquefy at the expected time prompting concerns about what it might signify.
St Januarius was a Bishop of Naples who is believed to have been martyred around the year 305 during the Diocletian persecution.
His blood is kept in a sealed glass ampoule in Naples Cathedral and traditionally liquefies three times a year: on September 19, December 16 and the Saturday before the first Sunday of May.
But during Mass at the Royal Chapel at Naples Cathedral on Friday, the Abbot of the Chapel, Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, revealed that the blood had failed to become liquid, according to reports.
The Abbot asked the faithful to keep praying while waiting but by 7.15pm, the vial was returned to the shrine, “undoubtedly solid,” as stated by Abbot Vincenzo.
Before ending the ritual, he said: “We shouldn’t think of tragedies and calamities. We are men of faith and we must keep on praying.”
As far as many people of Naples are concerned, the blood remaining solid can be a premonition of evil.
The same things happened in 1980, when a earthquake hit South Italy; 1973, when Naples endured an outbreak of cholera; 1939, when World War II began; 1940, when Italy joined the War and 1943, when Italy was occupied by the Nazis.
The blood partially liquefied in the presence of the Pope, during his visit to Naples in March 2015.