Januarius lived in the fourth century. He was born either in Benevento or Naples, Italy. He was the bishop of Benevento when Diocletian's persecution began. The people of Naples have claimed a special love for and devotion to Bishop Januarius. He is popularly called "San Gennaro." According to common belief, San Gennaro learned that some Christian deacons had been put in prison for their faith. The bishop was a gentle, compassionate man. He truly cared about his people and went to the prison to visit them. The jailer reported him to the governor who sent soldiers to find San Gennaro. The bishop was arrested along with a deacon and a lector. They joined the other prisoners.
San Gennaro and the six others were martyred for their faith. Their deaths took place near Naples in 305. The people of Naples have claimed a special love for and devotion to "San Gennaro." In fact, he is considered their patron saint.
The people of Naples remember San Gennaro for another special reason: his martyr's blood was preserved centuries ago in a vile. The blood has become dark and dry. But at certain times of the year, the blood liquifies. It becomes red, sometimes bright red. At times, it even bubbles. The special case containing the vile of blood is honored publicly on the first Saturday of May, on September 19 (the feast of San Gennaro), within the octave (or eight days after the feast), and at times on December 16. The liquified blood has been seen and honored since the thirteenth century.
"We seek from the saints example in their way of life, fellowship in their communion, and the help of their intercession."-Lumen Gentium