The Vatican has announced that 2017 is likely to be year of ‘catastrophe’ and ‘doom’ after a yearly blood ritual failed.
The dried blood of Saint Januarius failed to liquify in a ceremony in Italy on Saturday, which the Vatican say usually signals an omen of ‘disastrous events’ to come.
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The ceremony of the blood of Saint Januarius, or San Gennaro, is performed several times a year.
The blood is kept in special ampules and liquifies during the ceremony.
The miracle has been regularly recorded since 1389.
San Gennaro was bishop of Naples in the third century and was beheaded in the persecution of early Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian, who killed about 3,500 Christians.
If the miracle of liquefaction fails to occur, it can herald disaster for the coming months and years.
The blood failed to become liquid in 1939, the year in which World War II started, and in 1980, the year of the Irpinia earthquake, according to the Stampa report.
2016 has been bad enough. Both the US and the UK have had a year of political turmoil, while a civil war in Syria has destroyed much of the city of Aleppo and resulted in indiscriminate killing.