Ancient 'blood miracle' fails to occur in Italy church, heralds disaster for 2017

If you thought 2016 was bad, you might want to gird yourself for an even worse 2017.

The famed dried blood of Saint Januarius failed to liquefy in a ceremony in Naples on Saturday, according to a report in Italy's La Stampa, heralding disaster for next year.

Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, the abbot of the chapel, said: "We must not think about disasters and calamities. We are men of faith, and we must continue to pray."

The ceremony of the blood of Saint Januarius, or San Gennaro, is performed several times a year. The blood is kept in special ampules and liquifies during the ceremony.

RELATED: Photos from the Saint Januarius service in Naples

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Photos from the Saint Januarius service in Naples
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Photos from the Saint Januarius service in Naples
Pope Francis holds the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) at the Duomo as part of his pastoral visit on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags greeted Pope Francis as he headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (L), archbishop of Naples shows the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) during a pastoral visit of Pope Francis at the Duomo on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags greeted Pope Francis as he headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (L), archbishop of Naples shows the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) during a pastoral visit of Pope Francis at the Duomo on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags greeted Pope Francis as he headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man shows his t-shirt depicting Saint Januarius outside the Dome of Naples on March 5, 2016 during a protest against the decision of the Italian government to re-found the deputation of San Gennaro. Thousands of protesters demonstrated in Naples in a bid to prevent the Church gaining any control over the treasure of Saint Gennaro, said to be worth more than the British crown jewels. / AFP / Mario LAPORTA (Photo credit should read MARIO LAPORTA/AFP/Getty Images)
Pope Francis kisses the ampulla containing the blood of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius, patron of Naples) at the Duomo as part of his pastoral visit on March 21, 2015 in Naples. Hundreds of thousands of people waving Vatican flags greeted Pope Francis as he headed deep into mafia territory, visiting jailbirds and the poor in Naples amid heightened security. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Archibishop of Naples Crescenzio Sepe shows the faithful the ampoule with the melted blood out of Naples Cathedral during the celebrations of Saint Januarius (San Geannaro) on September 19, 2014 at the Cathedral of Naples. Saint Januarius, the Saint patron of Naples, is famous for the reputed miracle of the annual liquefaction of his blood on his feastday on September 19, on December 16 and on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May. AFP PHOTO/ CARLO HERMANN (Photo credit should read CARLO HERMANN/AFP/Getty Images)
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The miracle has been regularly recorded since 1389. San Gennaro was bishop of Naples in the 3rd century and was beheaded in the persecution of early Christians by Roman Emperor Diocletian, who killed around 3,500 Christians.

If the miracle of liquefaction fails to occur, it can herald disaster for the coming months and years.

The blood failed to become liquid in 1939, the year in which World War II started, and in 1980, the year of the Irpinia earhquake in which 300 people died, according to the La Stampa report.

2016 has been bad enough. Both the US and the UK have had a year of political turmoil, while a civil war has raged in Syrian destroying much of the city of Aleppo and killing civilians and soldiers alike.

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