Following my visit to Barcelona, I took the ferry to Italy, travelling to Naples; the country's third largest city. After pizza (invented in this historical city) I made my way through the bustling streets to the Cathedral, dedicated to Naples' patron Saint, Januarius ( known locally as San Gennaro)
Saint Januarius suffered martyrdom for Christ around the year 305, during the persecution under the orders of emperor Diocletian. He had been arrested and put on trial due to his Christian confession. Authorities threw Januarius into a burning furnace, however he came out miraculously unharmed. He was consequently stretched out and beaten, then placed into the circus to be killed by wild beasts; however the dangerous animals did not harm the saint. With disbelief and astonishment, the governor of Campagna (Menignus) claimed these miracles were due to sorcery. Though Menignus had witnessed God's intervention, and presence through His servant Januarius, he sentenced the saint to beheading.
Following Saint Januarius' death, Christians took up his body, and collected his dry blood, placing them in the centre of Naples. Since the fifteenth century, the same remains of his blood liquifies when the container is placed for veneration - and many miracles have taken place following this recurring event. According to tradition, during an eruption of Vesuvius in 431, the faithful Christians of Naples fervently prayed for the saints intercessions, leading to the lava stopping before reaching the city.
'The Master has given you to Naples, O Holy one, as a precious treasure and fountain of healing. You are a guardian and protector of the faithful, and you avert the evils of Vesuvius' fire. Therefore we cry to you in faith: Rejoice, O Januarius, Our father and protector!'
- The Crypt of Saint Januarius, consisting of his holy relics, within the Cathedral of Naples