A 627-year-old 'blood miracle' failed to occur, heralding disaster for 2017

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (L), archbishop of Naples shows the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) during a pastoral visit of Pope Francis at the Duomo on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli / AFP / Getty Images

If you thought 2016 was bad, you might want to gird yourself for an even worse 2017.

The famed dried blood of Saint Januarius failed to liquefy in a ceremony in Naples on Saturday, according to a report in Italy’s La Stampa, heralding disaster for next year.

Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, the abbot of the chapel, said: “We must not think about disasters and calamities. We are men of faith, and we must continue to pray.”

The ceremony of the blood of Saint Januarius, or San Gennaro, is performed several times a year. The blood is kept in special ampules and liquifies during the ceremony.

The miracle has been regularly recorded since 1389. San Gennaro was bishop of Naples in the 3rd century and was beheaded in the persecution of early Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian, who killed around 3,500 Christians.

If the miracle of liquefaction fails to occur, it can herald disaster for the coming months and years.

The blood failed to become liquid in 1939, the year in which World War II started, and in 1980, the year of the Irpinia earhquake in which 300 people died, according to the La Stampa report.

2016 has been bad enough. Both the US and the UK have had a year of political turmoil, while a civil war has raged in Syrian destroying much of the city of Aleppo and killing civilians and soldiers alike.

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