The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, Italy
Flesh of Christ and His Blood
We are talking here about an extraordinary miracle that has lasted for over twelve centuries now (1,200 years), and is still taking place today, before our eyes: the Flesh and Blood of Christ is still miraculously preserved today in a monstrance that all can see and venerate, at Lanciano, Italy. This is a miracle before which even today's science has to bow, after a minute investigation made by scientists in 1970-71.
The city of Lanciano, founded long before Christianity, was first called Anxanum. Its present name recalls the “Lancia” (lance in Italian) that pierced the heart of Our Lord on the Cross. According to an ancient tradition, Longinus, the Roman centurion who pierced, with a lance, the side of Christ already dead, came originally from Lanciano. He had poor vision, but regained his sight after touching his eyes with his hand dripping with the Blood of Jesus. In consequence of this, he became a convert and died a martyr.
One day in the eighth century, in the church dedicated to Saints Legontian and Domitian in Lanciano, a Basilian monk was celebrating Holy Mass in the Latin rite, with a host of unleavened bread. The monk started doubting the real and substantial presence of the Flesh and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the consecrated Holy Species.
After having pronounced the words of Consecration (“This is My Body... This is My Blood”), as Jesus had taught it to His Apostles, the monk saw the host change into a living piece of Flesh, and the wine change into real blood, which thereupon coagulated and split into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size. We quote excerpts from a document kept at Lanciano:
“Frightened and confused by so great and so stupendous a miracle, he stood quite a while as if transported in a divine ecstasy; but finally, as fear yielded to the spiritual joy which filled his soul with a happy face, even though bathed with tears, having turned to the bystanders, he thus spoke to them: `O fortunate witnesses to whom the Blessed God, to counfound my unbelief, has wished to reveal Himself in this Most Blessed Sacrament and to render Himself visible to our eyes. Come Brethren, and marvel at our God so close to us. Behold the Flesh and the Blood of our Most Beloved Christ.'
“At these words, the eager people ran with devout haste to the altar and, completely terrified, began, not without copious tears, to cry for mercy. The report of so rare and singular a miracle, having spread through the entire city, who can count the acts of compunction which the young and old, hastily assembled, sought to make openly...”
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.
Now, here is something even more amazing: the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is really and totally present in either the whole consecrated host or a fragment of it, and the same applies for the consecrated wine, which, once consecrated, has become the Blood of Christ. The five globules contained in the reliquary, when weighed either separately or together, totaled the same weight: 15.85 grammes.
Authentification of the Relics
Over the last twelve centuries, different Bishops of the diocese of Lanciano made authentifications of the holy relics. All testified that these facts were miraculous and true.
In 1970-71, and taken up again partly in 1981, 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. These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
The Flesh is real flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (The blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
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 and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
It is a miracle similar to that of Lanciano, the one of Bolsena, Italy, that led the Church to institute, in 1264, the great Feast of Corpus Christi, with its beautful processions, where the Living God of the Holy Eucharist is triumphally carried on the streets. Long live Jesus in His Sacrament of Love!
This article is also available in the form of an 8-page leaflet (with the articles “Encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II on the Eucharist” and “Vatican instruction on the Eucharist to avoid abuses”.