Oil dedicated to St Januarius on prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to St Januarius on prayer cloth is in honour of the 3rd century Italian martyr.
St. Januarius was born in Italy and was a bishop who gave his life with his friends during a Christian persecution in the Roman empire.
Two deacons and a layman were imprisoned after confessing their Christian faith. Januarius was good friends with one of the deacons, and he visited his friend in prison. Guards noticed, and he was arrested, along with another deacon and a layperson.
St. Januarius’ Death
Januarius and his companions were all beaten, and made to wear iron chains and march in front of the governor’s chariot. They were thrown into jail with the friends Januarius had originally visited.
The group of Christians were condemned to die by being thrown into an arena with wild beasts, but when this was carried out, the beasts could not be enticed to attack. They were sentenced to beheading instead.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.