|Ostensorium with the Hosts|
(Siena) The results of recent scientific studies of the Hosts of the Eucharistic Miracle of Siena, which are kept in the Church of the Minorites have been published. It is not scientifically explainable, since 300 year old bread shows no signs of mold or decay.
The first scientific studies of the sacred particles of 1730, preserved in the Church of Saint Francis in Siena were done a century ago. Pope Saint Pius X i allowed the investigations that were carried out with the knowledge and the methods then known in 1914.
Science has made great strides since then, which allowed new investigations, which were allowed by Archbishop Antonio Buoncristiani of Siena and the CDF.
The consecrated hosts were stolen from the Basilica of St. Francis on Aug. 14, 1730. The whole town was so shaken that the traditional horse race held on 16 August, the Palio di Siena, was canceled over the sacrilege. Three days later, the Hosts were found again on the dirty in a sacristy floor of St. Mary's Church of Provenzano. The perpetrator or perpetrators seem to have been plagued by conscience about the crime, which is why they got rid of the Hosts in the way that they were found.
The wafers were cleaned and returned in solemn procession to the church of Saint Francis. The restoration was organized by faithful people in gratitude into a great feast. It was decided not to use the consecrated, stolen and recovered hosts for Communion, but to retain them for Eucharistic adoration.
No Signs of Change or Decay
Over the years, it was found that they remained unchanged, neither were they moldy or rotten. Since then, the news spread among the faithful about the Eucharistic Miracle of Siena.
Several occasions over time unconsecrated communion wafers were put in an identical container and placed it next to those with the consecrated communion wafers and retrieved. While those that were not consecrated disintegrated with time, the consecrated remained unchanged intact. After six months flour begins to change, it changes to pulp and within two years to dust.
Time left no trace on the consecrated hosts of Siena, not even an expected yellowish discoloration, although no special storage methods were applied, let alone atmospheric aspects were taken into account, as they are used today for secure storage and preservation of art treasures.
Pope John Paul II. visited the miraculous Hosts on 14 September 1980 by his pastoral visit to Siena.
Overall, there are today 225 hosts and some fragments. The report on recent studies show that they are unchanged and their conservation status "excellent."
Originally there were 351 hosts. Over the centuries, and from new studies, the others were given as Communion, in order to examine whether changes in taste could be detected or if they were corrupt and unfit for human consumption because of their age. All subjects did not detect any abnormalities.
In recent months, the wafers were subjected to investigations in three groups. These included surface investigations under the digital microscope, the determination of the nucleotide adenosine triphosphate (ATP), culture test, photogrammetry to create 3D models of the hosts for documentation. A culture test showed no growth of microorganisms, neither after seven days nor even after fourteen days.
They were examined and cleaned by professionals of Monuments Office under the supervision of the National Research Council and the Crystal Shrine, in which the wafers are kept.
Full Indulgence From 1 November 2014 to October 4, 2015
In its opinion, the investigation report, the Archdiocese of Siena writes: "The Blessed particles remain unchanged in a miraculous way. An obvious sign that strengthens the faith of the people of God in the Eucharist, the source and summit of the entire life of the Church, the sacrament of unity and bond of love among Christians."
The Year of the Eucharist of the Archdiocese of Siena begins with the Feast of All Saints. Pope Francis granted a plenary indulgence at the request of Major Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, which can be gained from 1 November 2014 to October 4, 2015 by all the faithful who pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the Hosts of the church of Saint Francisin Siena and in all other churches, in which Hosts were to be issued at this time with the usual conditions (sorrow, conversion, sacramental confession, creed, resolute turning away from sin, attendance at Holy Mass, Communion, prayer for the Holy Father, the fulfillment of the prescribed good work by a designated prayer or the visit of a particular church).
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: Cantuale Antonianum
image: Cantuale Antonianum