Devotion and Use of the Manna of Saint Nicholas

—from the Centro Studi Nicolaiani di Bari

The “manna of Saint Nicholas” which was once commonly called ‘oil’ is actually transparent pure water that is formed in the tomb of the Saint in the crypt of the Basilica in Bari.

This phenomenon is not easily explainable. It is absolutely excluded that there is some kind of infiltration of water from the outside for it has been proven that the casket containing the bones of the Saint is impermeable.

Notwithstanding the various solutions that are arrived at from numerous hypothesis forwarded, whether supernatural or natural explanations of the phenomenon, the manna is an authentic relic, because it is a liquid that remained in contact with the bones of the Saint, and therefore explains the very reason why there is such a great devotion springing up from this relic.

The manna also exuded in the tomb of the Basilica of Myra immediately after the death of Saint Nicholas, as attested to by numerous biographies and eulogies, all are in accord of the exemplary virtue of the miracle worker. The Legends of the translation of the Saint’s relics likewise affirm that the urn containing the remains of Saint Nicholas of Myra was full of “manna”. After the translation to Bari the phenomenon continued uninterruptedly. It is also fully proven that the pilgrims coming to Bari, are attracted to the tomb of the Saint in view of the fact that the “manna” is famous because of the miracles St. Nicholas accomplishes through it.

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