The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
For over twelve centuries, ancient Anxanum has contained the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. The event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little church of St. Legontian as a divine response to a Basilian monk's doubt about Jesus's real presence in the Eucharist.
After the two-fold consecration during the mass, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.
The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin Church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back. The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre. Since 1713 the Flesh has been reserved in an artistic silver ostensorium, delicately embossed by an artisan of the Neapolitan school.
The Blood is enclosed in a rich and very old cup made of Rock-crystal.
The Friars Minor Conventual have been the custodians of the Sanctuary since 1252; their appointment was the wish of Bishop Landulf of Chieti; their appointment was confirmed by a Pontifical Bull dated April 20, 1252.
The church was in charge of the Basilian monks until 1176; from 1176 until 1252 the Benedictines staffed the church.
In 1258 the Franciscans built the present church. In 1700 its architectural style was changed from romanesque-gothic to baroque.
The "Miracle" was first reserved in a chapel situated at the side of the main altar.
Then, from 1636 it was reserved in a side-altar of the nave which still contains the old iron chest and the commemorative inscription.
In 1902 it was transferred into the present monumental marble altar which the people of Lanciano had erected.
Various ecclesiastical investigations ("Recognitions") were conducted since 1574.
In 1970 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist, Prof. Odoardo Linoli, Eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy.
He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.
The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs which were rendered a matter of public domain by the esteemed Prof. Linoli himself in a conference held on March 4, 1971, in the Church of the Miracle.
These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
- The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
- The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart (myocardium).
- The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
- The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood type (AB).
- In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of fresh normal blood.
- In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
- The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries (i.e. without any chemical preservatives) and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
In conclusion, it may be said that when called upon to testify, science has given a certain and thorough response as regards the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
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Imprimatur: †Leopoldo Teofili, Archbishop of Lanciano. For information, books, pamphlets, slides, postcards, souvenirs of the Sanctuary, please apply to: Santuario Del Miracolo Eucaristico, Frati Minori Conventuali, 66034 Lanciano (Ch) Italy. For more information and pictures visit Consorzio Mario Negri Sud