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A Eucharistic miracle is any miracle involving the Eucharist. Alleged Eucharistic miracles typically involve the visible transformation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ during the consecration portion of a Catholic or Orthodox Mass. However, other forms of Eucharistic miracle have also been reported such as consecrated communion wafers being preserved over 250 years or surviving being thrown into fire.
Catholics believe that when the priest pronounces the words of consecration, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ, but retain the outward appearance of bread and wine. This is called transubstantiation, and differs from most Protestant Eucharistic theologies, which believe that the sacramental elements are not physically transubstantiated.
Types of Eucharistic miracles
The rarest reported type of Eucharistic miracle is where the Eucharist begins to look like human flesh. Some Catholics believe this occurred at Lanciano, Italy, in the 8th century A.D. In fact, Lanciano is the only reported case of Eucharistic miracle where the host has been transformed into human flesh. However, a Eucharistic miracle more commonly reported by Catholics is that of the Bleeding Host, where blood starts to trickle from a consecrated host, the bread consecrated during Mass. Some claim to have recorded this occurrence in photos or videos, like in a case in the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico). Other types of purported miracles include consecrated hosts being preserved for hundreds of years, a consecrated host passing through a fire unscathed, stolen consecrated hosts vanishing and turning up in churches, and levitating consecrated hosts.
The Miracle of Lanciano
One of the most notable eucharistic miracles is the miracle of Lanciano.
Other Eucharistic miracles
There have been numerous other alleged miracles involving consecrated Hosts. Several of these are described below.
A story from Amsterdam, 1345, claims that a priest was called to administer Viaticum to a dying man. He told the family that if the man threw up, they were to take the contents and throw it in the fire. The man threw up, and the family did what the priest had advised them to do. The next morning, one of the women went to rake the fire and noticed the Host sitting on the grate, unscathed and surrounded by a light. It has apparently passed through both the man's digestive system and the fire unscathed.
According to another story, a farmer in Bavaria took a consecrated Host from Mass to his house, believing that it would give him and his family good fortune. However he was plagued by the feeling that what he had done was very wrong and turned to go back to the church to confess his sin. As he turned, the Host flew from his hand, floated in the air and landed on the ground. He searched for it, but he could not see it. He went back, accompanied by many villagers and the priest, who bent to pick up the Host, having seen it from some distance off. It again flew up into the air, floated, and fell to the ground and disappeared. The Bishop was informed and he came to the site and bent to pick up the Host. Again it flew into the air, remained suspended for an extended time, fell to the ground and disappeared.
Another claim states that a church in the village of Exilles, Italy, was plundered by a soldier and the monstrance (with the host still inside) was taken. The sack with the monstrance fell off the soldier's donkey and the monstrance fell out. It immediately rose up into the air and was suspended ten feet above the ground. The Bishop was notified and immediately came to view the miracle. When he arrived, the monstrance opened and fell to the ground, leaving the Host still suspended in the air and surrounded by a radiant light.
Caesarius of Heisterbach also recounts various tales of Eucharistic Miracles in his book, Dialogue on Miracles; however, most of the stories he tells are from word of mouth. These stories include Gotteschalk of Volmarstein who saw an infant in the Eucharist, a priest from Wickindisburg who saw the host turn into raw flesh, and a man from Hemmenrode who saw an image of a crucified Jesus and blood dripping from the host. All of these images, however, eventually reverted back into the host. He also recounts more extraordinary tales, such as bees creating a shrine to Jesus after a piece of the Eucharist was placed in a beehive, a church that was burnt to ashes while the pyx containing the Eucharist was still intact, and a woman who found the host transformed into congealed blood after she stored it in a box. 
Other known sites of Eucharistic Miracles include:
- Eucharistic Miracle of Santarem; Santarém, Portugal
- Eucharistic Miracle of Betania; Los Teqes, Venezuela
- Eucharistic Miracle of Sousa; Sousa, Paraíba, Brazil (1814)
- Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz, OCDS, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc, 1987. ISBN 0-89555-303-1
- Sammaciccia, Bruno (1977): il miracolo eucaristico di Lanciano. A french translation of this paper is available at http://www.christ-roi.net/index.php/Le_miracle_eucharistique_de_Lanciano_(Bruno_Sammaciccia) , retrieved on Dec. 15th 2008.
- ↑ Dialogue on Miracles, by Caesarius of Heisterbach, London : G. Routledge & sons, ltd., 1929