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Pope Francis holds a relic believed to be the blood of St Januarius, the patron of Naples (AP)

Blood of St Januarius fails to liquefy

The failure of the saint’s blood to liquefy has become associated with previous disastrous events

Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, holds up the ampoule of St Januarius's blood (AP)

The liquefaction occurred on Monday, the saint’s feast day

Pope Francis outside Assisi's St Mary of the Angels Basilica in August (AP)

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Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe shows the relic of St Januarius's blood to Pope Francis (AP/Andrew Medichini)

The blood last liquefied in a pope’s presence in 1848

The waving of the handkerchief is the traditional sign the liquefaction has happened (Photo: PA)

The day I saw a saint’s blood become liquid

Ten years ago in Naples on the feast of St Januarius I prayed as I had never done before