The Blood of San Gennaro

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The Blood of San Gennaro


If you go to Naples – and please go to Naples – a city where life is lived on the streets and people are ready to smile and laugh at the smallest thing. The poor are rich. They have what really matters: family and community. And they are so open to anyone who obviously loves them and their beautiful city.

And if you go, try and go during the Feast of San Gennaro which takes place in the cathedral of Naples. The cathedral houses a vial of the blood of Saint Januarius (San Gennaro), the city’s patron saint, which is brought out twice a year, on the first Saturday in May and on the 19 September, when the dried blood usually liquefies. If the blood fails to liquefy, then legend has it that disaster will befall Naples.




You don’t have to be a Catholic or even a believer to be moved by the emotion in the cathedral on those days.

On March 21, 2015, the blood in the vial appeared to liquify during a visit by Pope Francis. This was taken as a sign of the saint’s favour of the pope. The blood didn’t liquify when Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2007.




The cathedral is full – the pews filled up early and now there is only standing room. Outside, crowds gather, waiting, waiting, waiting for the good news that the blood has liquified.




Finally, the cardinal appears – the blood in the vial has liquified. Naples is safe once again.






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15 thoughts on - The Blood of San Gennaro

  • Agnès December 5, 2016Reply

    Félicitations Chère Jilly. Ce nouveau blog est magnifique. Les photos Sont superbes.Bises

    • Jilly December 5, 2016Reply

      Merci beaucoup chere Agnes. Si heureux que tu aime les photos. Ce jour-là à Naples a été très émouvant. Merci chere mon amie. x

  • carla December 8, 2016Reply

    Hi Jilly, Your photography just jumps out of the screen.. Wow, I have looked at these and can’t stop. So much going on, so many stories. so much detail.. Really amazing my friend.. .Carla x

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Dearest Carla, Thankyou! I had and have a great teacher – YOU! So happy you like the photos, truly means a lot to me. love Jilly xxx

  • Nelleke meijer December 8, 2016Reply

    Great as always

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Nelleke, thanks so much. It was truly an amazing day, so moving. x

  • Graeme Hatton December 8, 2016Reply

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, what more can I say?

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Ooops, I left a reply and it ended up below… see below. x

  • Claude Kerrenneur December 8, 2016Reply

    Très belles photos qui transmettent parfaitement l’émotion des participants, et surtout “l’humanité” de la photographe!

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Wow, Graeme, thank you SO much. Naples really is amazing and this day was even more so. x

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Claude, merci beaucoup pour ton commentaire. Ca ma touche beaucoup. x

  • Candy December 8, 2016Reply

    Extraordinary photos of real passion. I love the unfolding sequence…those FACES!

    • Jilly December 8, 2016Reply

      Thanks Candy. Yes, those faces – who wouldn’t LOVE Naples!

  • Kandee Acuna December 19, 2016Reply

    Jilly, you continue to be fabulous! I didn’t know you had a friendly, family hotel for doggies–a woman after my own heart! Merry Christmas to you.

  • Jilly December 19, 2016Reply

    Kandee Acuna, what a lovely comment! Thank you so much. Oh yes, it’s aways been dogs, dogs dogs – always will be, I’m sure! And a Merry Christmas to you too.


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