Very little is known about him except that he was bishop of Benevento, Italy, and died a martyr in 305 A.D., during the persecution spearheaded by Emperor Diocletian. Actually, the zealous prelate seems to have signed his own death warrant when he risked the wrath of local pagan officials by visiting the deacons Sosso and Proculo and the laymen Eutichete and Acuzio in jail. The warden observed this stranger trying to comfort the Christian prisoners naturally concluded that he must be Christian. Therefore, he too must be shut up behind bars. Shortly afterwaads the proconsul Timothey had Gennaro arrested and sent to jail. Subsequently he underwent various forms of torture, without wavering in his resolution to remain loyal to Christ. The proconsul's agents then had the generous confessor of the faith thrown headlong into a furnace, fully convinced that the flames would reduce him to ashes. By the grace of God he came through unscathed. Furious, the agents gave themselves no rest until their victim had been sentenced to be beheaded. Gennaro, who had refused to bow his head in cowardly fashion at the pagan leader's bidding, surrendered it to the steel's deathblow. His companions shared a similar fate. The bishop's body, and severed head, still dripping blood, were gathered up by an old man who wrapped them reverently in a cloth. A good woman of Naples dried up the blood with a sponge and filled a phial with the precious red liquid. The body of San Gennaro is preserved in Naples, where he is honored as the city's principle patron.
The Miracle of the Blood
You who are reading this may have heard about it. You like thousands of believers and unbelievers alike, may have asked certain bewildering questions: How can this happen? Is there a genuine miracle of divine power involved? Or can it be explained through natural causes. The blood of San Gennaro is contained in two glass phials of different shapes and sizes. Both phials are perfectly sealed and are enclosed in a metal case which permits them to be exposed to view. The blood in the larger phial reaches about the halfway mark; in the smaller container only a few drops are seen adhering to the bottom. And the prodigy? This martyr's blood, which is normally solidified and of a dark color, occasionally becomes liquid and reddish, sometimes frothing, bubbling up, and increasing in volume. This usually occurs twice a year: on the first Sunday in May, the feast of the transfer of the saint's relics; also on September 19, the anniversary of his martyrdom.
Who is San Gennaro??
To celebrate the blood miracle of San Gennaro, we will be holding a blood drive with the Puget Sound Blood Center.
More information on the dates and how to make an appointment will be posted soon!