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This is the oldest church in Naples and the original site of the cathedral, which was built over an ancient Greek sanctuary.It was rebuilt in the 14th century and again in 1688 after an earthquake, but some ancient features remain.According to tradition, the blood of San Gennaro first miraculously liquefied in the hands of Bishop St.Severus (d.409) after the saint's relics were transferred to Naples.The earliest written record of the miracle dates from 1389.The miracle of the blood of San Gennaro is scheduled to occur three times each year: the first Saturday in May (at Santa Chiara Church); September 19; and December 16.
Only the baptistery (5th century) survives from this early period.Byzantine mosaics (also 5th century) are preserved in the dome, centering on a golden Chi-Rho with Alpha and Omega on a blue background with stars.Narrative mosaics lower down, some of which are quite fragmentary, depict: the Holy Women at the Empty Tomb; Christ Saving Peter from the Sea; the Miracle of the Multiplied Fish, the Traditio Legis, and St. Off the right aisle of the nave is the Chapel of St.A tabernacle behind the main altar enshrines a silver reliquary bust (1305) containing the head of St. A large gilt-bronze grille separates the chapel from the nave.Other notable side chapels include the fifth and seventh on the left, with 13th-century bas reliefs, and the sixth on the left, with a Byzantine-style mosaic of the Virgin Enthroned by Lello da Roma (1322). Januarius (San Gennaro) was an Italian bishop martyred in Pozzuoli under Diocletian around 305 AD.
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The core of the present building was built in the French Gothic style in 1294-1323, begun by Charles I and completed under Robert the Wise.