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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Holy Eucharist - Eucharistic Miracle - The Heart of Christ - Lanciano, Italy

Eucharistic Miracle
The Heart of Christ
Lanciano, Italy  - AD 750
Feast Day - Last Sunday of October 

For centuries, God has given us miraculous signs that help to reinforce our belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist - these signs are known as Eucharistic Miracles. 

Lanciano is a small town near the eastern coast of Italy about halfway between San Giovanni Rotondo and Loreto.  

The miracle took place in the year 750 in the Church of St. Legontian and St. Domitian, which at the time it was under the custody of Greek Orthodox Monks of St. Basil. The miracle was a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

One day during Mass, after the consecration, the Host transformed into live Flesh and the wine into five globules of coagulated Blood.

The monk and the parishioners accepted this miracle immediately and carefully took care of this Gift until 1176 when the Benedictines took over the church which was beginning to be very rundown. 

In 1258 the church was turned over to the Franciscans who built the Church of St. Francis over the site of the original Church of  St. Legontian and St. Domitian. All during this time the Eucharistic Miracle was well preserved. For almost 266 years the Flesh and Blood were kept walled up in a cubical lattice of gold plated cast iron. To get into the cubical took four keys, each one held by a different person.   

In 1902 the people of Lanciano collected enough money to build a new home for the Eucharistic Miracle.  They hired Filippo Sergiacomo to build an altar. 

On top of the altar the Body and Blood of Our Lord was displayed in a silver Monstrance.    

A stairway in back of the altar leads to a viewing platform which allows pilgrims to examine the Monstrance close up.

The Host is kept in the top portion of the Monstrance and appears rose colored when light is shined from behind.  The five pellets of coagulated Blood are stored in the crystal chalice below.  

Scientific Investigation

In 1970 the 1220 year old relics were submitted to medical and scientific investigations by Dr. Edward Linoli, director of the hospital in Arezzo and professor of anatomy, histology, chemistry, and clinical microscopy.  Here are his findings: 

- The Flesh is authentic flesh and consists of part of the myocardium (muscle tissue of the heart), more precisely the left ventricle.  The arteries and veins can be easily identified, as well a a double slender branch of the vagus nerve.  

- The Blood is real blood.  The proteins contained in the Blood have the normal distribution, in the identical percentage as that of the serous-proteic chart for normal fresh blood. Meaning the blood has the same qualities of blood that would have been taken from a body that very same day. No preservation substances were found.  

- The five globules of coagulated Blood (which are different in shape and size) each individually weigh 15.85 grams.  All five of the globules together also weigh 15.85 grams.  In fact when any combination of globules are weighted together, they weigh 15.85 grams.  

- The immunological study shows that the Flesh and Blood are human, and the immuno-hematological test confirms that the blood type is AB, the same blood type taken from the Shroud of Turin.  

In 1973 the World Health Organization appointed a scientific commission to corroborate Linoli's findings.  Their work took 15 months.  They found that the Flesh and Blood of Lanciano were in the same condition one would expect to find in flesh and blood taken from a human body within a period of one day.

Normally the chemical properties of blood are gone within half an hour after the blood has been shed.  At the time, this Blood was 1223 years old and still contained all the properties of freshly shed blood.

The summary of the findings by the World Health Organization published in December 1976 in New York and Geneva declared "that science, aware of its limits, has come to a halt, face to face with the impossibility of giving an explanation." (1)

But we don't have to go all the way to Lanciano, Italy to witness a Eucharistic Miracle.  This happens every time a priest consecrates the Eucharist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  

"Take and eat, this is My Body which is given for you."

For devotional items related to the Catholic Church, please visit Lynn's Timeless Treasures.  
(1) Institute of St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr. The Eucharistic Miracles of the World, (Eternal Life, 2009), p 123.

Painting in the Church of Saint Francis depicting the miracle. 

Photos taken from Public Domain and from The Eucharistic Miracles of the World Catalog of the Vatican International Exhibition pages 122 - 125.

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