by our Rome correspondent THE Vatican is expected to urge caution over the findings of a three-year scientific test said to confirm a "miracle" that happens twice a year in Naples Cathedral.
In May and September for most of the past 600 years, a thick, red liquid has mysteriously appeared in a sealed casket dedicated to the patron saint, Gennaro, of the south Italian port city. Each time the phenomenon has not manifested itself, disaster has struck. In 1980, the blood of San Ciennaro did not appear and in November of that year 3,000 Neapolitans died in an earthquake which also left 13,000 homeless.
Three years ago, the liquid flowed in the casket out of time, as Naples Archbishop Cardinal Michele Giordano entered the cathedral. He later commissioned Professor Luigi Baima Bollone, a medical scientist at Turin University to analyse what Neapolitans believe is the saint's blood.
According to a report transmitted by the Catholic news agency "Ad Kronos", the tests have found that the liquid is human blood. Results will be announced officially on December 16, six centuries after the liquid's first manifestation.