miracolo di bolsenaIn 1263 a Bohemian priest, Peter of Prague, who had doubts about the truth of transubstantiation, on a pilgrimage from Prague to Rome, while celebrating Mass at the tomb of St. Cristina in Bolsena, saw blood oozing from the consecrated Host which stained the corporal and liturgical linens. The priest, impressed, ran to Orvieto to the Pope Urban IV who sent to Bolsena the Bishop Giacomo to see what really happened and ordered to bring to Orvieto the bloody linen. The Pope then met the Bishop at the Bridge of Rio Chiaro (now Ponte el Sole) and, once brought to Orvieto, the linen stained with the blood of Christ was shown to the people.
One acknowledged the miracle, Urban IV in 1264 promulgated the “Transiturus Bull” which extended to the whole Catholic world the Feast of Corpus Domini in the town that, until then, had been infested by Patarini who denied the Sacrament of the Eucharist; to celebrate the miracle, a temple of peerless splendour was erected.
A few weeks before promulgating this important act, the Pope himself took part, together with numerous cardinals and prelates who came from every place and a multitude of faithful, to a solemn procession with which the sacred linen stained with the blood of Christ was brought in the streets of the town.
Since then, every year in Orvieto, on the Sunday after the feast of Corpus Domini, the Corporal of the Miracle of Bolsena, enclosed in a precious reliquary, is carried in procession through the streets following the path that touches all the most significant areas and places of the town.