Januarius was bishop of the Italian town of Benevento. Legend has it that his martyrdom was horrific. Along with six companions — imprisoned deacons and laymen he was visiting during the persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 305 — Januarius was thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of the town of Pozzuoli. He was later beheaded, and his blood ultimately taken to Naples.
Little is known about St. Januarius, but an inexplicable phenomenon continues to keep his memory alive today. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia , “a dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary [a container for relics] in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. Januarius, liquefies eighteen times during the year. This phenomenon goes back to the fourteenth century. Tradition connects it with a certain Eusebia, who had allegedly collected the blood after the martyrdom. Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation. Similar phenomena have been observed with the blood relics of other saints, such as Nicholas of Tolentino, Aloysius Gonzaga, and Bernardine Realino.”
St. Januarius’ Feast Day is September 19 and he is the Patron Saint of blood banks.
Other Saints We Remember Today
Our Lady of La Salette (1846)