Modern Christian Mythology: Eucharist Miracle of Lanciano

Modern Christian Mythology: Eucharist Miracle of Lanciano

The Miracle of Lanciano is a claim that, in Lanciano Italy circa 700 CE, a particular instance of the Eucharist (a Christian rite in which bread, usually in the form of a cracker, and wine, sometimes grape juice, is consumed in imitation of the story of the Last Supper), physically turned into a chunk of meat and some blood. Since, in the Catholic version of the ritual, the food is believed to change into the body and blood of the god/man Jesus, the chunk of flesh is supposedly a piece of Jesus’ body. The chunk of meat is currently kept in a jar.

Personally, I find it hard to fathom that even a die hard catholic would believe this story, silly as it is. Even in Catholic theology, the Eucharist isn’t supposed to literally turn into a piece of meat and some blood, it’s a spiritual change. To believe it turns into flesh is pure magic and superstition, not religious reverence. Not to mention that faking this particular miracle would be easy even for a poor stage magician.

None of the claimed “facts” of the can be proved or disproved because they are pretty general in nature. The evidence may indeed be a piece of meat, even human meat; human flesh would be easy enough to get from a cadaver. So, how can this be debunked? Merely by questioning it. Why would the Eucharist suddenly “literally” turn into meat when millions of Catholics all over the world merely chewed on a cracker? Why would a supernatural being with the ability to create the universe perform such a meaningless miracle in a small Italian town at a time when evidence could not easily be taken and communication was so poor? Surely, a miracle a bit more convincing would convince a lot more people, thereby saving a lot more souls. That fact that this miracle is so seldom brought up even by believing Catholics is a testament to it’s dubious nature.

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34 Comments on “Modern Christian Mythology: Eucharist Miracle of Lanciano”


  1. I guess they wouldn’t be in a hurry to submit that hunk of meat to DNA testing. Bet it turns out to be “the other white meat” or some animal. But if human, they sould want to test it. Infact we could clone a new Jebus if the dna is still viable.

    Catholics are peculiar. On the one hand they accept evolution more so than any other xtian sect; on the other their idol worship, polytheistic worship of saints, and willingnes to imbue articles / relics with special powers is beyond ignorant.

    • Victor Says:

      True, they are an odd bunch. Though, I suspect they only accept evolution because their head shaman says they should.

    • Kassul Says:

      One can check for various markers in DNA to look at the probable ancestry and find out if there’s much in the way of jewish/semetic background? Hence the work done to look in native populations in North America to confirm/cast doubt on the Mormon myth that a tribe of jews migrated over there.

      DNA testing could find those markers, and at least fail to find that it was just some Italian dude’s flesh. Wouldn’t be much in the way of evidence of being Jesus if it turned out to be jewish DNA, but it would certainly be … odd if it wasn’t jewish DNA.

      Heck, what if they tested it and it turned out to have a set of XX sex chromosomes? :P


  2. XX chromosomes, AND African ancestry!! It couldn’t get any better than that.

  3. Brandon Says:

    This article and comments show an ignorance of Catholic belief. There is more than a spiritual change in the Eucharist though you are correct that it still remains in appearance as bread and wine. Look up transubstantiation to free yourself from the ignorance. If you had heard of transubstantation before writing this article, you would have been able to understand why God would perform this miracle. Many Catholics are straying from the belief in the real presence and the priest who was presiding over this particular Eucharist even had some doubts that transubstantiation would occur because of the use of a new type of host. By performing this profoundly significant miracle, God showed the priest and people everywhere that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. Also, read the report from 1970 conducted by independant and secular scientists. Though the heart and blood had been stored for over a millenium, the blood and tissue tested as if it had just been removed from a live human. Arrogance is what blinds you.

    • Kassul Says:

      Which secular scientists? Where can I find this report to read? What sort of tests did they do? Under what conditions? Which tests said that the flesh was as if it were freshly removed from a person? etc, etc…

      I’ve been Catholic(though I no longer count myself as such), so I have a more than passing familiarity with the doctrine of transubstatiation.

      What specific parts of the comments above shows an ignorance of Catholic beliefs? True, the comments above might not comport with the interpretation of the pope on those beliefs, but I don’t see any that are truly ignorant.

      To an outsider(and some insiders), the actions of Catholics really do seem remarkably like idol worship, saint worship, etc. I don’t think Catholics think that idols or saints are themselves gods, but in relation to those things/people Catholics do seem to act in ways that are similar to the actions of other people to gods.

      tbh, the ignorance and arrogance seems to be coming from you, rather than Victor or Dromedary Hump.
      Do you truly believe that they haven’t heard of transubstantiation? That they haven’t looked it up before? Your hubris boggles me.

    • Victor Says:

      Yeah, I’m well aware of transubstantiation. It’s nothing more than primitive superstition. I’m also aware of the 1970 report: the flesh was seen to be mummified (not a miracle, unless you believe every mummy on earth is a miracle); fungus was seen (hyphomycetes). Teichmann-Bertrand and Takayama tests were done on the blood, with negative results showing that it’s hopelessly decayed, not miraculously preserved. The professor also discarded the possibility that the flesh could have been a hoax without giving any reason (not a very unbiased conclusion to come to, a hoax is always a possibility). It was also claimed that 500 tests were performed over a course of 15 month, which his just plain ridiculous. Do you realize how expensive that would be? Something is definitely up with that. The Catholic Church’s little one page publicity synopsis of the report seems to get pretty much everything about it wrong.

      If you believe in a god that plays games with meat and crackers, good luck. It’s sounds plain stupid to me. Unfortunately, the Catholic church has a history of forged documents, from the Donation of Constantine to 2 Peter, to the Long Ending of Mark, to the Pastoral Epistles, to the modern child molestation they refuse to deal with: the list goes on and on. When there is a real opportunity to aid the world, the Catholic Church has prove itself to be amoral and deceitful. Unfortunately nothing that comes out of it can be trusted anymore, if it ever could. You have to stop believing everything that this organization tells you. You would find more spiritual fulfillment praying to Micky Mouse than trusting in the Catholic Church.

      Is this really how you think the creator of the universe would talk to you? With hunks of meat in an Italian town? Really?! Is there a special place in the afterlife for the gullible?

    • J Says:

      There is some proof on this website to back up what you say:

      http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html

  4. CHRISTopher Says:

    I am astonished at some of the things the Catholic Church has tried to cram down our throats for 2000 years, like when they instituted the first university. Or when they started labor unions to help the average worker. With stupidity like that, I can see how they conned this group of scientists from differing backgrounds, and made up of both believers and very strong non-believers. I can see how they could convince a decorated scientist to claim that the flesh that has sat on that alter for some 1300 years was the inside muscle of human heart. That the cut was done by someone with such advanced skills because that kind of surgery was not possible until the 19th century. Then they hit us with the dozens of other “miracles” that have been associated with the Eucharist. I bet before long, they will try to get everyone to buy into the miracle of Fatima. Who cares that over 5000 witnesses were there, most of whom were non-believers and they ALL state that it happened.

    I have never seen a baby pigeon, so they don’t exist! I have never seen a million dollars cash, it does not exist. GET OVER YOURSELVES!

    • Victor Says:

      I really don’t know what sort of point you’re trying to make, in comparing the formation of the university system with a wholesale belief in supernatural miracles. I’m sorry, but one simply does not follow from the other.

      The statement that it wasn’t possible to cut a piece of muscle tissue until the 19th century is mind boggling as well. You should try doing a bit of research on ancient science and medicine. If you truly believe that statement, prepare to get blown away.

      I’m not really sure why you brought up Fatima, this post is about Lanciano, but there is a false claim in your comment; not everyone present saw the alleged miracle, nor was any attempt to question every person there even made.
      The Fatima claim was investigated by Joe Nickel and Father Stanley L. Jaki (among others), both concluding that no supernatural event took place.

      If you believe in it, the more power to you. I would ask, though, that you not go around saying that everyone saw it, it simply isn’t true. If your goal is to convert people into your belief system, wouldn’t you feel much better converting with truthful statements rather than false ones?

      I would say, continue to educate yourself. When coming across miraclous claims, take them with a grain of salt.
      Read both sides, but don’t get wrapped up in the outcome. If, that’s the case, then just excuse yourself from the discussion. After all, your faith can be shaken just because of the existence of some urban legend, what kind of faith have you really got? What if I started a story of a miracle in my home town? Would you have to accept it just because the claim exists? Do you accept miracle claims from other faiths on an equal level?

      Legends are fun, but basing your faith on events like the sun dancing around in the sky is a bit misplaced, don’t you think?
      Is that how you picture the creator of the universe working? Even if you believe in a god that can do anything, that does not mean he did everything that anybody has ever claimed that he did.

  5. MARY Says:

    PEACE BE WITH YOU ALL, (SURE NEED IT) FOR EVERYONE WHO IS VERY ANGRY AT THIS MIRACLE, IT IS THE SAME ATTITUDE THAT TOOK JESSUS OF NAZARETH TO THE CROSS.THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH EVEN IF NO ONE AGREES.YET WE KILL BABIES BECAUSE IT IS “LEGAL” YET NO ONE GETS ANGRY, THEY WANT TO FIT IN THIS PAGON WORLD AND BE ACCEPTED, WHAT A TRAGEDY!

    • Victor Says:

      The Caps Lock key is on the left hand side of your keyboard.

    • Kassul Says:

      If I wanted to be accepted I’d be a Christian like most of my coworkers.

      Which is it this week, am I trying to fit in and be accepted and hence am an atheist, or am I trying to rebel and be an individual and hence am an atheist?

      I get really confused sometimes, not sure which one of these narratives I’m supposed to be living.

      Maybe I just think that the evidence and reasoning people give for why I should think that a god or gods exist is not very good?
      Maybe.

    • Victor Says:

      “FOR EVERYONE WHO IS VERY ANGRY AT THIS MIRACLE”

      Whose ‘angry’? It’s just a silly claim.

      “THE SAME ATTITUDE THAT TOOK JESSUS OF NAZARETH TO THE CROSS”

      According to the story, he was executed for being a political terrorist. No anger involved, just fuedal justice.

      “YET WE KILL BABIES BECAUSE IT IS “LEGAL””

      Are you talking about abortion? Those are fetuses, not babies. I suggest you read a bit about natal development so you can sound a bit more intelligent about the issue. If you insist on assigning possible future states of development to a fetus, you might as well call it a future “decrepit old man”, or a future “skanky prostitute”, both possible.

      “YET NO ONE GETS ANGRY”

      There always seem to be some pretty angry Christians hanging around abortion clinics, harassing people. A lot of them seem to be as misinformed about fetal development as you. Hey, maybe you know each other.

      “THIS PAGON WORLD”

      What is a pagon? Do you mean pagan? The world isn’t a part of any religious movement. One needs to be sentient to do that.

  6. sarahsmith Says:

    “Surely, a miracle a bit more convincing would convince a lot more people, thereby saving a lot more souls.”

    A miracle a bit more convincing would not require faith but would be a universally accepted fact, such as the existence of gravity. People believe in gravity because everyone experiences its effects and there is scientific evidence to back it up. No one has “faith” in gravity, it’s just a part of our lives and beliefs universally. If God performed miracles in this same obvious and universal nature, belief in Him would not be a choice but a fact of life. God has given us the free will to choose whether or not to accept Him as our Lord, and therefore will never present Himself in such a forceful manner that does not require faith and the choice to believe. Even if you are an atheist, you should realize that saying God should have made the miracle more convincing is a contradiction of what constitutes a miracle.

    • Victor Says:

      Why would a god even perform a miracle if the miracle isn’t convincing?
      If he/she/it doesn’t want to actually influence?
      If he wants us to choose freely?
      Instead of performing a convincing miracle, he performs a silly one? One based on an analogy (“eating the flesh of Christ”)?

      It may make sense to someoene that alrealy believes, and doesn’t need any convincing but it just will not win over someone that isn’t already a part of the club. And, I would think that they would be the ones be the ones being talked to.

      As far as defining miracles as things that are inherently not convincing, well, that’s a bit new to me. Where are miracles defined that way? I would hate to think I’ve been misreading people when they call something a ‘miraculous’ event’. I’ve always thought it meant something really impressive and awe inspiring. Turns out, it refers to something mundane and ordinary.

    • Kassul Says:

      Having terrible evidence isn’t a prerequisite for choosing God freely or not.

      Satan had superb evidence that God existed, yet still chose to rebel(along with ~1/3 of the angels)

      God could have provided good quality evidence and we STILL would have had free will to choose God or choose sin. Not giving people good evidential reasons to think something like this is true isn’t a kindness, it’s insanity.

  7. Casey Says:

    In Catholic doctrine it is supposed to be a literal change. Get your facts straight, please. Jesus becomes present in the bread and wine METAPHYSICALLY. For further info: http://newtheologicalmovement.blogspot.com/2011/06/only-difference-between-christs-body-in.html

    May God bless you and lead you to Truth.

    • Victor Says:

      Yeah, I know. Learn to read, please. This article is about the “Miracle of Lanciano”, not Catholic belief in general. I didn’t invent the stupid miracle. You sound like you think the claim is a silly misrepresentation of Catholic belief as well. Good for you. You should try to educate the Catholics that buy it hook line and sinker.

  8. Collin Says:

    The more absurd the claim is, the more credit they give you for believing.

    This Catholic tendency is just as dunderheaded as the Evangelical tendency regarding people: The more depraved someone is, the more credit they give you for “saving” his soul.

  9. Stuart Says:

    here is the original report in an Italian Medical Journal:
    http://www.mediafire.com/?2j2j8qalrmcrlb4

    and here is a good summary of what the report uncovered

    pg. 1
    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Lanciano1.pdf

    pg. 2
    http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/english_pdf/Lanciano2.pdf

    • Victor Says:

      Thanks. These really are just red herrings, though. They confirm the substance is human flesh, not that they were once a communion wafer. Really, the people that should be the most upset at this silly stunt is the Catholics. It’s makes of mockery of their doctrine of transubstantiation. Not that it doesn’t deserve a bit of mockery. It’s just odd that they’ve accepted this obvious hoax and made it their own. I guess that’s what blind superstition will do to a person.


  10. I think what sarahsmith was getting at, and basically the only thing in your article I really felt should be addressed, is that miracles aren’t performed to create faith; like she said that wouldn’t be faith, it would be fact. Miracles are performed as a reward for faith. Jesus says explicitly this is the reason he heals people. Giving a graduation gift to your child won’t get you more children; you do it because you’re proud of them. Moreover, would you want to give your children a gift if they wouldn’t love you unless you did? Why would you reward a spoiled brat who can’t see that you already gave them the gift of life and more? A miracle is a very precious gift, given as a reward for having gratitude for the numerous gifts we are given every day, which most people take for granted because they are so accustomed to them.
    Also, you may think it’s a silly “miracle”, but the people alive at the time had a completely different perspective. Try looking at it in its historical context, without the bias of modern experience and jadedness.

    • Victor Says:

      It’s a silly miracle not matter what age you live in. There are gullible people in any age, but believing that everyone that lived “long ago” was a rube would make any progress impossible. And, as I’ve said, the basis of it is a heretical belief system (if you believe a cracker turns into meat, you’re a heretic).

      Miracles as a reward is a bit dubious, as well. It it makes you feel good to believe it, go ahead. But, if you’re really interested in what a Christian answer is, go ahead and look into it. You could start by typing “are miracles a reward for good behavior” into Google. Deacon Richard Santana Emmanuel has an article (it’s even pro miracle) that explicitly says no. There’s another by Angie Wyatt, BS in theology, that says no.

      Where did you even get that miracles are rewards from? It is near impossible to have a conversation with any Christian, cause none of them follow a systematic belief system. They all play telephone theology and never bother to even crack the spine on their Bible. They seem to profess to belief whatever pops into their head. All well and good, but it seems like they’re all creating their own religion, to me.

  11. yolie Says:

    What big mouths you unbelievers have. Have any of you done
    anything to find out if this is true? The story and the unbiased scientific findings? And if these scientific findings are true, then what?
    I guess the next question will be “But, yeah, who are these scientists and can they be believed” what’s the use…for those who believe, no explantion is necessary…for those who don’t, no explantion is possible.
    Crackers?…grape juice?…right there the author of this article shows his unforgivable ignorance. During Catholic Mass neither is or ever has been used in transubstantiation. At least get the substances right so it looks like you’ve done SOME research and have some knowledge on Catholism, meathead.

    • Victor Says:

      So, what do you think? Do you believe that if this claim isn’t true that it says something about the existence of god?

    • yolie Says:

      Victor,
      There are and have been MANY miracles throughout the centuries.
      My faith does not depend on miracles. One can praise God for many different things, a sunset, a beautiful day, a healthy baby etc. etc. the list is endless.
      But, if this miracle IS true and you are a non Catholic Christian, this should give you food for thought…wouldn’t you say? Or are you afraid that it might really be true and if it is, then I guess you may need to take a different path.
      If you are interested in the true story, go to to http://www.miraclerosarymission.org/lanciano.html
      LANCIANO MIRACLE. Faith is a journey, consider everything and what seems true, ponder on. What doesn’t discard.
      That’s all I have to say regarding this. I’ll pray for you on your journey. Please, pray for me on mine.

    • Victor Says:

      If true, the miracle would be interesting and give cause to examine a lot of things. And the truth of the miracle claim is the subject of the post. Going beyond that, however, is begging the question. I’ve obviously read the material that you linked to in researching the post. And, it’s fine with me that your comfortable in your faith. If I had already accepted the claim as true, I might be willing to let the dubious aspects go. But, coming from the outside, the claim appears silly, and is all too easy to be the result of either a hoax or a misunderstanding. Quite frankly, it makes me less likely to believe in god, not more.

  12. Adrianta Says:

    Interesting. But try to explain this.

    The miracle is not only about the bread changing to human flesh, but also the “super” flesh, which is able to sustain the time. The flesh is still fresh from 7th centuries until now. You can go to Lanciano to see it yourselves.

    In 1973, WHO stepped in and perform investigation, which lasted for 15 months. And WHO confirmed the finding the earlier finding by Prof. Odoardo Linoli.

    If it’s cadaver, the flesh will be rotten during the 15 months investigation. And since the flesh is under investigation by WHO, nobody can replace it with a new cadaver. So, your cadaver theory is gone !!!

    At the end of the investigation, WHO scientist admit that it’s beyond the limit of the current science.

    Well, unless you want to argue that WHO is controlled by Catholic Church and fake the result, then I have nothing to say. :-)

    In fact, you should go to Catholic Church and suggest DNA test, and get scientist from different background to do the investigation. It would be interesting to see the result.

    No point to write the above article, you do not prove anything either, just a bunch of assumption.

    God Bless You.

  13. Robert K Says:

    A Miracle is a a Miracle is a Miracle. Jesus said ” Cast not your pearls among swine lest they turn and rend you.”

  14. Danny Says:

    Danny Says
    The miricle in question has visible for over thirteen hundred years and it would be exposed by anature and many other ways before now. Why dont all of the above admit their comments are based on bigiary and not on any logical investigation.

    Most belong to churches that have existed for less than two hundred yaers so where is your credibilaty. Dont you realise that you will be held accountable for what you say and type.

    I will pray for you all. After all God sent his own son and look what bigitary and hatred did to him.Remember he performed miricles everyday

    • Victor Says:

      More superstitious lunacy from the peanut factory. You might as well be claiming that Bigfoot will judge you when you die.


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