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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

22 June 2007
  A Commemoration I Missed
San Gennaro: 19 September AD 305

Saint JanuariusEmily of The Children of God looks back today on Growing Up with San Gennaro. She not only introduces this martyr under the Diocletian persecutions but, more importantly, shows how superstition grows around a cult of saints. In this case, a processional relic can stir up riotous reactions and tremendous worry or lead to complete calm — not only for the city of Naples but for much of southern Italy.

The picture here shows the presentation of the glass vial containing Januarius's purported blood, which is supposed to protect the area against earthquakes, Mount Vesuvius, and the like for the next year if it liquefies. Scripture (cf. Hebrews 11 or Revelation 6:9-11; 7:13-17) and the Lutheran Confessions certainly bespeak continuing honor for the departed believers. However, isn't it frightening how easily we who are saved by God's grace through faith in Christ can twist the Church's history and commemorations into images of the worst that paganism has to offer?

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