Anonymous yet personal, this Blog chronicles
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Chapel Hill, NC, United States

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

San Gennaro, Patron Saint

(painting of San Gennaro above is by Girolamo Pesce)

San Gennaro is the Patron Saint of Naples, Italy. He is also the Patron Saint of my ancestral village of Cervinara in the Campania region of Italy not far from Naples. Given the proximity of both of these cities to Mount Vesuvius, this Saint has played a key role in protecting the region from a modern day cataclysmic natural disaster.

San Gennaro is also the martyred Saint of Prisoners. He was arrested by the Romans in 305 A.D. when he visited imprisoned Christian deacons. After being tortured (thrown to the lions and incinerated), the Roman's had him beheaded. A vial of his scared blood has been preserved at the Cathedral in Naples, and the blood miraculously liquefies three times a year and protects the city from calamity. The"Liquification" of his blood occurs each year on September 19th, and if it does not, people fear that something terrible is imminent: plague, war, or natural disaster.

Since 1926, a "Feast of San Gennaro" takes place every September 19th in Little Italy around Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan. The ritual of carrying a statue of San Gennaro through the streets is mirrored in NY city, Naples, and in the village of Cervinara (AV).

Here is a link to an interesting 10 minute mini-documentary video on YouTube about San Gennaro....