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A Blood Miracle: a microbiological interpretation of transubstantiation

JacksinPA

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Media: Communion Wafer and the red pigmented bacterium Serratia marcescens.

Amongst microbiologists, the bacterium Serratia marcescens is especially noteworthy because of its production of the bright red pigment prodigiosin, and that because of this, its colonies are of a characteristically showy red colour. Very few other bacterial colonies have such a distinctive appearance making this organism very easy to identify on the basis of its colony colour alone. This characteristic, and the bacterium’s natural red aesthetic, has made it attractive to both scientists and artists alike, and it is difficult to imagine another microbe that has had a greater and more direct involvement in the arts. In fact, even before the birth of microbiology, and the discovery of bacteria, the appearance of S. marcescens was being recorded and even inspiring artists.

S. marcescens has a predilection for growing on foodstuffs, particularly those that are rich in starch, where its red-pigmented growth can be easily mistaken for blood. In this context, as long ago as the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras commented on the appearance of a red bloody material on foodstuffs. Another very similar incident was recorded in 332 B.C. at the siege of Tyre in Phoenicia (today’s Lebanon) in which the army of Alexander the Great is reported to have gained inspiration from an omen of what they perceived as drops of blood that oozed out from the bread eaten by the soldiers. Much later on, the combination of starchy Eucharist bread and damp medieval churches provided many ideal growth opportunities for S. marcescens, and many historical episodes of transubstantiation (the teaching of the Catholic Church in which the bread and the wine used in the sacrament of the Eucharist become in reality the body and blood of Christ) have been attributed to the growth of this bacterium and the production of its characteristic red pigment. In one particular episode in 1264, a priest in Bolsena, Italy, was celebrating mass when blood apparently appeared on the communion bread and dripped onto his robe. This was probably the first time that S. marcescens had directly influenced the arts, as the great master painter Raphael commemorated this apparent miracle in his fresco “The Mass of Bolsena”.

This work is a scientific recreation of Transubstantiation. To make it, a Communion Wafer was moistened with water and then inoculated with S. marcescens. From an initial pinpoint inoculation, and after overnight incubation, the red pigmented bacterium had grown and moved through the wafer to form a cross (see image below).
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So the 'holy' appearance of blood dripping from a Catholic communion wafer is explained by the production of a red pigment by a bacterium.

Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation
 
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JacksinPA

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I must read it as well!
Most if not all 'miraculous' happenings have simple physical explanations. For example, the wheel in Ezekiel sounds like a UFO.
 

Elora

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Most if not all 'miraculous' happenings have simple physical explanations. For example, the wheel in Ezekiel sounds like a UFO.
The wheel in Ezekiel is a vision given to him God's celestial chariot and how it operates...there's a short video in this link that explains...



63
 

Elora

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You can believe whatever you want no matter how improbable it might be.
Well, if you're gonna refer to Bible scriptures, it's good to know what they're really talking about, instead of speculating...the Bible's main theme of the Bible, from start to finish, is God's kingdom...why would God care about UFO's enough to write about them?
 

JacksinPA

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Well, if you're gonna refer to Bible scriptures, it's good to know what they're really talking about, instead of speculating...the Bible's main theme of the Bible, from start to finish, is God's kingdom...why would God care about UFO's enough to write about them?
Believe whatever you want. It is a free country up to now.
 

Chomsky

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Most if not all 'miraculous' happenings have simple physical explanations. For example, the wheel in Ezekiel sounds like a UFO.
A UFO is a 'simple physical explanation'? Really?
 
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