Saint Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, is practically the god of that great city, with its six hundred thousand inhabitants. Everywhere he is honored and worshiped as the presiding divinity of the place. The cathedral of Naples is dedicated to him. This cathedral contains a wonderful little chapel, which cost over a million dollars, and this also is dedicated to the “Divine Januarius,” It was erected in consequence of a vow made to St. Januarius during the plague of 1527, it being understood that if he would stop the plague the people would build the chapel. Many wonderful things are related concerning this saint.
Three of the great annual festivals of Naples honor the occasion of the so-called liquefaction of the blood of St. Januarius, which blood the priest profess to have in a small vial. This miraculous liquefaction takes place three times a year, on his feast days, September 19th and December 20th, that the people may have an undeniable demonstration of the fact that their patron saint is still alive and zealously guarding the interest of the city. If this so-called miracle fails to take place at the appointed time, many of the people become nervous and anxious, fearing that something has happened to displease St. Januarius, and that he may thus refuse to hear their prayers and avert the evils that are liable to befall them at any time. What power this gives the priest!
Years ago, when the French entered Naples and took possession of the city, the archbishop announced to the people that St. Januarius was greatly displeased at the presence of these foreign invaders in the city, for the blood would not liquefy at the appointed time. Hearing of this, and knowing how disastrous it might prove to his cause, the French general quietly sent a messenger to the archbishop to say to him that if the blood were not liquefied within twenty-four hours he would burn the cathedral to the ground. It is needles to say that the miracle (?) was soon preformed and announced to the people, who little suspected the real cause.”
Ins and Outs of Romanism by Joseph Zacchello page 89