The Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano; When a Host Turned into Real Flesh and Blood
A miracle that's been thoroughly investigated
Catholics fervently believe the Eucharist is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. This is why we receive Communion and show reverence for the consecrated host the priest elevates at every Mass.
Usually, the consecrated host looks like ordinary unleavened bread.
Occasionally, though, there is a visible reminder that Christ is present.
Throughout its 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church has recognized various Eucharistic miracles. What sometimes happens is that the host bleeds or takes on the appearance of real flesh.
Probably the most famous of these events is the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano, which happened in Lanciano, Italy, located near the Adriatic Coast.
The town itself was named after the Roman soldier who thrust his lance into the side of Jesus as He lay dying on the Cross.
Later, this soldier converted, after being washed with the blood of Christ, and later died as a martyr for the faith. Catholics know him as Saint Longinus.
Anyway, in the 8th century, a monk had doubts about the Catholic faith. He wasn't sure the unleavened bread he intended to consecrate at Mass really did become the Body and Blood of Jesus.
One day, as he celebrated Mass, he raised the host. To his surprise, it immediately took on the appearance of flesh. The wine in his chalice also turned into real blood. It became five distinct globules.
Many Conversions Resulted
Following this miracle, there were many conversions in the town of Lanciano, which soon became a major pilgrimage site.
The host, consecrated nearly 1,300 years ago, still exists and its appearance hasn't changed, despite the passage of time. Nor has it shown any signs of decay, even after being exposed to the elements. It has been extensively handled and studied.
The latest round of testing was done in the 1970s, using modern-day knowledge and techniques. Results were reported by professors Odoardo Linoli and Ruggero Bertelli, both from the University of Siena. Here's what they found.
The consecrated host of Lanciano has become human heart tissue, with both muscle and nerves. The blood globules contain the same proteins as fresh human blood, which is especially remarkable considering how long they've been around. Both flesh and blood belong to blood group AB.
The professors said no preservatives appear to have been used on either the blood or the heart muscle.
Recognized by the Church
Church officials, including various popes and bishops, have recognized what happened in Lanciano as a true miracle. In 1672, Pope Clement X officially recognized the altar in Lanciano at which the miracle occurred.
The last Sunday in October is the official feast day of this Eucharistic Miracle.
I realize non-Catholics reading this account may find it strange that Catholics regularly consume what they believe is the Body and Blood of Jesus. But what we believe is very Biblical, and it comes from The Bread of Life Discourse, found in the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6, in which Jesus repeatedly tells the crowd how to gain eternal life.
Where is Lanciano, Italy?
Lanciano, Italy sits inland from the Adriatic Sea.
Video on the Miracle of Lanciano
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