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The Corporal of Bolsena dates from a Eucharistic miracle in Bolsena, Italy, in 1263 when a consecrated host allegedly began to bleed onto a corporal, the small cloth upon which the host and chalice rest during the Canon of the Mass. The appearance of blood was seen as a miracle to affirm the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which states that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at the moment of consecration during the Mass. Today the Corporal of Bolsena is preserved in a rich reliquary at Orvieto in the cathedral. The reddish spots on the cloth, upon close observation, show the profile of a face similar to those that traditionally represent Jesus Christ. It is said that the miraculous bleeding of the host occurred in the hands of an officiating priest who had doubts about transubstantiation. The "Miracle of Bolsena" is regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as a private revelation, meaning that Catholics are under no obligation to believe it although they may do so freely.
Pope Urban IV makes no mention of it in the bull by which he established the feast of Corpus Christi, although the legend of the miracle is set in his lifetime and is claimed by its partisans to have determined him in his purpose of establishing the feast. The contemporary biographers of Urban are silent: Muratori, Rerum Italicarum scriptores, (vol. III, pt. l, 400ff) and Thierricus Vallicoloris, who, in his life of the pope in Latin verse, describes in detail all the events of the pontiff's stay at Orvieto, referring elsewhere also to the devotion of Urban in celebrating the Mass, and to the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi, without at any time making allusion to a miracle at Bolsena.
The miracle of Bolsena is related in the inscription on a slab of red marble in the church of St Christina, and is of later date than the canonization of St. Thomas Aquinas (1328). The oldest record of the miracle is in the enamel representations of it that adorn the front of the reliquary made by Sienese goldsmith Ugolino di Vieri in 1337–1338.
In 1344 Clement VI, referring to this matter in a brief, uses only the words propter miraculum aliquod ("on account of some miracle") (Pennazzi, 367); Gregory XI, in a brief of 25 June 1337, gives a short account of the miracle; and abundant reference to it is found later (1435), in the sermons of the Dominican preacher Leonardo Mattei of Udine ("In festo Corp. Christi", xiv, ed. Venice, 1652, 59) and by Antoninus of Florence (Chronica, III, 19, xiii, 1), the latter, however, does not say (as the local legend claims) that the priest doubted the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, but, merely that a few drops from the chalice fell upon the corporal. For the rest, similar legends of the "blood-stained corporal" are quite frequent in the legend collections of even earlier date than the fourteenth century, and coincide with the great Eucharistic polemics of the ninth to the twelfth centuries.
The Feast of Corpus Christi is one of the major public holidays for the city of Orvieto, during which the Corporal of Bolsena is paraded around the city with much fanfare.
The left half of a large fresco in the Apostolic Room of the Vatican Palace, titled The Mass at Bolsena, was painted by the Renaissance painter Raphael.
Transubstantiation is, according to the teaching of the Catholic Church, "the change of the whole substance of bread into the substance of the Body of Christ and of the whole substance of wine into the substance of the Blood of Christ. This change is brought about in the eucharistic prayer through the efficacy of the word of Christ and by the action of the Holy Spirit. However, the outward characteristics of bread and wine, that is the 'eucharistic species', remain unaltered." In this teaching, the notions of "substance" and "transubstantiation" are not linked with any particular theory of metaphysics.
The Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, is a Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Western Orthodox liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. Two months earlier, the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is observed on Maundy Thursday in a sombre atmosphere leading to Good Friday. The liturgy on that day also commemorates Christ's washing of the disciples' feet, the institution of the priesthood, and the agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.
A monstrance, also known as an ostensorium, is a vessel used in Roman Catholic, Old Catholic, High Church Lutheran and Anglican churches for the more convenient exhibition of some object of piety, such as the consecrated Eucharistic host during Eucharistic adoration or Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is also used as reliquary for the public display of relics of some saints. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare, while the word ostensorium came from the Latin word ostendere. Both terms, meaning "to show", are used for vessels intended for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, but ostensorium has only this meaning.
Eucharistic adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Roman Catholic, Catholic and some Lutheran traditions, in which the Blessed Sacrament is adored by the faithful. This practice may occur either when the Eucharist is exposed, or when it is not publicly viewable because it is reserved in a place such as a church tabernacle.
Bolsena is a town and comune of Italy, in the province of Viterbo in northern Lazio on the eastern shore of Lake Bolsena. It is 10 km (6 mi) north-north west of Montefiascone and 36 km (22 mi) north-west of Viterbo. The ancient Via Cassia, today's highway SR143, follows the lake shore for some distance, passing through Bolsena.
An altar cloth is used in the Christian liturgy to cover the altar. It is both a sign of awe as well as decoration and protection of the altar and the sacred vessels. In the orthodox churches is covered by the antimension, which also contains the relics of saints.
In Christianity, a Eucharistic miracle is any miracle involving the Eucharist. In the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Methodist, Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the fact that Christ is really made manifest in the Eucharist is deemed a Eucharistic miracle; however, this is to be distinguished from other manifestations of God. The Catholic Church distinguishes between divine revelation, such as the Eucharist, and private revelation, such as Eucharistic miracles. In general, reported Eucharistic miracles usually consist of unexplainable phenomena such as consecrated Hosts visibly transforming into myocardium tissue, being preserved for extremely long stretches of time, surviving being thrown into fire, bleeding, or even sustaining people for decades.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, also called Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament or the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, is a devotional ceremony, celebrated especially in the Roman Catholic Church, but also in some other Christian traditions such as Anglo-Catholicism, whereby a bishop, priest, or a deacon blesses the congregation with the Eucharist at the end of a period of adoration.
During the Mass of the Faithful, the second part of the Mass, the elements of bread and wine are considered to have been changed into the veritable Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The manner in which this occurs is referred to by the term transubstantiation, a theory of St. Thomas Aquinas, in the Roman Catholic Church. Members of the Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran communions also believe that Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the bread and wine, but they believe that the way in which this occurs must forever remain a sacred mystery. In many Christian churches some portion of the consecrated elements is set aside and reserved after the reception of Communion and referred to as the reserved sacrament. The reserved sacrament is usually stored in a tabernacle, a locked cabinet made of precious materials and usually located on, above, or near the high altar. In Western Christianity usually only the Host, from Latin: hostia, meaning "victim", is reserved, except where wine might be kept for the sick who cannot consume a host.
Blood of Christ in Christian theology refers to (a) the physical blood actually shed by Jesus Christ primarily on the Cross, and the salvation which Christianity teaches was accomplished thereby; or (b) the sacramental blood present in the Eucharist or Lord's Supper, which some Christian denominations believe to be the same blood of Christ shed on the Cross.
Eucharist here refers to Holy Communion or the Body and Blood of Christ, which is consumed during the Catholic Mass or Eucharistic Celebration. "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood, ... a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'" As such, Eucharist is "an action of thanksgiving to God" derived from "the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification."
"Lauda Sion" is a sequence prescribed for the Roman Catholic Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi. It was written by St. Thomas Aquinas around 1264, at the request of Pope Urban IV for the new Mass of this feast, along with Pange lingua, Sacris solemniis, Adoro te devote and Verbum supernum prodiens, which are used in the Divine Office.
Orvieto Cathedral is a large 14th-century Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and situated in the town of Orvieto in Umbria, central Italy. Since 1986, the cathedral in Orvieto has been the episcopal seat of the former Diocese of Todi as well.
The Mass at Bolsena is a painting by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1512 and 1514 as part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Raphael Rooms, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It is located in the Stanza di Eliodoro, which is named after The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple.
The corporal is a square white linen cloth, now usually somewhat smaller than the breadth of the altar, upon which the chalice and paten, and also the ciborium containing the smaller hosts for the Communion of the laity, are placed during the celebration of the Catholic Eucharist (Mass).
In Catholicism, the Miracle of Lanciano is a Eucharistic miracle which is alleged to have occurred in the eighth century in the city of Lanciano, Italy. According to tradition, a monk who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass, that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood. The Catholic Church officially claims the miracle as authentic.
The Mass of Saint Gregory is a subject in Roman Catholic art which first appears in the late Middle Ages and was still found in the Counter-Reformation. Pope Gregory I is shown saying Mass just as a vision of Christ as the Man of Sorrows has appeared on the altar in front of him, in response to the Pope's prayers for a sign to convince a doubter of the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Christina of Bolsena, also known as Christina of Tyre, or in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Christina the Great Martyr, is venerated as a Christian martyr of the 3rd century. Archaeological excavations of an underground cemetery constructed at her tomb have shown that she was venerated at Bolsena by the fourth century.
The Mass of Saint Gregory is a scene in Roman Catholic art which can be seen illustrated many times throughout the late Middle Ages. This version was painted in oil and gold by Spanish Archbishop Alfonso Carrillo de Acuña in 1480. It currently resides in the San Francisco Legion of Honor.
The Reliquary of the Santo Corporale of Bolsena is a medieval artwork made by Sienese goldsmith Ugolino di Vieri in 1337-1338. The reliquary is made of gold-plated silver and enamel and is c.139 cm high. The reliquary was recently transferred to the cathedral museum from the cathedral itself where it had been from the time of its creation.