An appeal for divine intervention in the rubbish crisis in Naples appears to have failed after a phial said to contain the blood of the city's patron saint failed to liquify.
For several weeks the city has had to cope with thousands of tonnes of uncollected rubbish because of a dispute about disposal.
In a prayer vigil to solve the crisis - led by Crescenzio Sepe, the city's cardinal - thousands gathered in Naples's historic Duomo to pray to St Gennaro, who died in 305AD.
As part of the ceremony, a phial containing the saint's blood was put on display and venerated by worshippers.
The phial of dried blood is usually displayed on the first Sunday in May, when it is reputed to turn to liquid, ensuring the city success and safety.
But it is also brought out in times of crisis - most recently in 1979 when the city was in the grip of a cholera epidemic.
Worshippers at the vigil, which began on Friday, were asked to pray to St Gennaro for help but after three days the "miracle of the blood" has failed to happen - prompting increased fears for the future.
Monday, January 28, 2008
News from Naples
I wish that I had this news from a more reliable source than the Telegraph, but this is interesting and possibly worrying: