POLAND: Eucharistic miracle! Bleeding Host is human cardiac tissue

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a less than enjoyable time for a while now. That said, in this time I have also hardened my resolve in several spheres.

And yet, there are little bright points. Remember that scene in the The Return of the King when Sam and Frodo, in Mordor, see a break in the lowering clouds and spy a star?  Forget the iffy movies, here is the text:

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”

I spotted this at Aletheia (it was a writer from Aletheia, by the way, who asked Card. Schoenborn the question that got the tangled response about development of doctrine that has made us scratch our heads).

Eucharistic Miracle in Poland Approved by Bishop After Testing

Sometimes, yes, the supposed “bleeding host” will prove, upon examination, to be mere red bread mold.

But sometimes, a “bleeding host” is put under the microscope and through the tests and it’s discovered to be human cardiac tissue.

In 2013, in Poland, a bleeding host proved to be precisely that, as it was announced today by Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski, of the Diocese of Legnica:

“On 25th December, 2013 during the distribution of the Holy Communion, a consecrated Host fell to the floor and then was picked up and placed in a water-filled container (vasculum). Soon after, stains of the red colour appeared. The former Bishop of Legnica, Stefan Cichy, set up a commission to observe the phenomenon. In February 2014, a tiny red fragment of the Host was seperated and put on a corporal. The Commission ordered to take samples in order to conduct the thourough tests by the relevant research institutes.

In the final announcement of the Department of Forensic Medicine we read as follows:

In the histopathological image, the fragments of tissue have been found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. (…) The whole (…) is most similar to the heart muscle with alterations that often appear during the agony. The genetic researches indicate the human origin of the tissue.  [Not just normal heart tissue, but distressed heart tissue.]

In January this year I presented the whole matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. Today, according to the recommendations of the Holy See, I ordered the parish vicar Andrzej Ziombro to prepare a suitable place for a display of the Relic so that the faithful could give it the proper adoration.

A wonderful gift to Poland, and for the many pilgrims who will be heading to Poland this year, either for World Youth Day or their personal intentions, in this Year of Mercy.

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  1. LarryW2LJ says:

    I believe with my whole being that Christ has a soft spot for Poland, when you have a name that ends in “ski” how can you believe otherwise? That said, you know the detractors will say the Poles aren’t sophisticated enough to know what they’re talking about.

    Let them. Poland and Africa will be the salvation of the Church.

  2. majuscule says:

    And the date of December 25th seems significant!

  3. Elizabeth D says:

    Aquinas says that such things (the host turning into flesh) occur in order that people’s faith may be encouraged, however what is seen (ie, the “accidents” of cardiac tissue) with the eyes is not the flesh of Christ. In other words, the “accidents” still do not match what is present in the Eucharist.

    The Eucharist is the whole Christ, body blood soul and divinity. His whole, undivided, living person. The Eucharist is not a piece of Jesus.

    The significance of the Eucharist as food, as nourishment is also lost. A piece of raw human cardiac tissue is not food. I have never heard of a Eucharistic miracle of this type that was alleged to occur and someone consumed the alleged Eucharistic miracle. The over-millennium-old dessicated alleged miracle of Lanciano is still on display.

    Tests can say if an object is cardiac tissue but they cannot say whether it is the Eucharist. If you find a host on the floor and you are not sure if it is consecrated, you put it in the ablution cup, at least that is what I would think should be done.

  4. benedetta says:

    This is beautiful and a true help to any of us looking to steel our resolves after a less than enjoyable time, Father, thank you for this.

    I just listened (whilst en route back and forth in car for things) to two hours of Kresta today, a must listen, on the book you have been encouraging us to read for some time now, “Church of Spies” which I am getting forthwith in order to assist in the resolve department even more.

  5. Elizabeth D says:

    In other words, put it back in water and let it continue dissolving (which it already had to the point where a reasonable person would not necessarily consider it still the Eucharist) and put it down the sacrarium.

    I in no way would feel right about “adoring” this.

  6. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:


    If the tissue does not represent the suffering Christ’s cardiac tissue, then whose tissue do you purport the people of Poland are worshipping?


  7. Elizabeth D says:

    If it is proved to be cardiac tissue, or really and provably have the accidents of cardiac tissue including chemically and genetically, it could be from a person or animal that died in 2013. This is supposing it is a type of hoax. I do not see any information that chemical or genetic analysis was done.

    But my other point, citing Saint Thomas, is that if it IS the Eucharist, then regardless of the accidents what it IS is the whole Christ, not just a piece of Him. All of Him ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. All of Him is present sacramentally in every fragment of the Eucharist.

  8. benedetta says:

    Elizabeth D, I see your points, but it seems to me that there is a confounding of the “language” of a miracle a bit. I agree that no scientific test can establish Eucharist, but nor can a scientific test ever “prove” that all is present within the host which has been consecrated and which we consume as communion. It seems to me that with respect to the miraculous, what is discovered through scientific test and examination may not comport with our expectations in all cases or conform to a treatise on the Eucharist. I think there are times when science solves or points towards an aspect of the puzzle reflected in the supernatural. I am thinking here of something such as the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I’m not sure we could ever exhaust our wonderment or need for proof. I suppose I see your point about not feeling comfortable “adoring”, but then some of us wouldn’t feel comfortable unless we did adore. Even if as you say there is some hoax or other with respect to the latter testing, if it did not entirely dissolve or if a piece remained, it is yet the whole Eucharist in that fragment in toto, and something that could be beautifully adored by way of the rites for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. It’s not that the testing has negated that it is still the Eucharist. I think that is the starting point for adoration and not the testing process. Others who know more about processes such as these will I’m sure have better knowledge and could chime in for our edification here.

  9. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:


    I think you’re missing the point of specific Eucharistic miracles.

    It is a great blessing that your Faith is so sturdy as to truly not comprehend how this sort of material evidence of human cardiac tissue in a bleeding Host could provide a struggling modern Catholic with a refreshment of piety that strengthens their faith.

    I say let us worship, let us adore, let us announce with Blessed Thomas: Dominus meus et Deu meus. Some of us are weak and need to feel our hands in his side. It’s nice to know God can meet us in our weakness and our little Faith, I think.

  10. pannw says:

    I wonder if they know the blood type. Is it Universal Recipient AB as in Lanciano, The Shroud and The Sudarium of Oviedo?

    My priest has mentioned Eucharistic Miracles before and one of the things that stands out is a story from his time in seminary. One of the seminarians asked the instructor what to do in the event he experienced one during Mass. The instructor looked at him and asked, “When do you expect to lose your faith?”

    Since I first learned about Eucharistic Miracles only a relatively few years ago, I have always thought it was just another bit of evidence of Our Lord’s genius that He would present a Eucharistic Miracle as His heart. It also makes me believe more in the apparitions experienced by Saint Margaret Mary and the devotion to The Sacred Heart. That the things Jesus asked of her were so concentrated on the Eucharist: frequent Communion and the Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It just seems that the devotion He desires to The Sacred Heart of Jesus is devotion to His True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t know if that means I don’t have a proper understanding of the nature of the Eucharist (which is very possible because “It is a hard saying” and quite a mystery though I believe it with my whole being) but if He can be wholly present in the Host under the appearance of bread, why could He not be miraculously wholly present in anything He chose, including a bit of His own human heart?

    I don’t know, because it is all a great and mysterious Miracle, but I believe it and I love Our Lord for the mercy He shows those who doubt, even now, as He did with Thomas 2000 years ago.

    Deo gratias.

  11. Elizabeth D says:

    Every year as a catechist I have been required to present “the miracle of Lanciano” and some other Eucharistic miracles to the First Communion kids in the same session where I teach them about the Real Presence and the Eucharist being the whole, living Christ, body, blood soul and divinity, fully present in every fragment, not just a piece of Jesus but all of Him really and substantially present. The cognitive dissonance between teaching the course doctrinal content and having to present the alleged miracle was too great. Besides that, is it fair to ask someone who is skeptical of the alleged miracle to present it for belief? So, this year a co-teacher was assigned to me and was asked to present on the miracles, and did so with gusto and inaccuracy, that led to unnecessary additional confusion and real stress. The co teacher wound up agreeing that it is confusing to say to the kids that the Eucharist appeared to turn into a piece of muscle and also teach that the Eucharist is all of Jesus not just a piece of Him–that we should picture His whole person when we receive Communion. Finally the person requiring us to present the alleged Eucharistic miracles decided not to require it anymore, at least I hope.

    This is the background of why I have strong feelings about this. I have no objection to people trusting the Church’s finding of this being worthy of belief, if it helps their faith.

    Jesus has the place of a spouse in my life, so I do always picture the Eucharist as His whole person. The Eucharist is a renewal of our covenant with Him, a whole gift of self to one another. No one pictures their spouse as a little piece of flesh.

  12. benedetta says:

    Elizabeth D, I think that very fair and I so appreciate your experience — and, your service, commitment, thoughtful approach, and prayerful, to First Communicants!

    Your story reminds me of the time that I, rather exasperated experiencing people’s enthusiasm and devotion for Padre Pio, recounting all of the more eyebrow raising of his attributes, decided to read up and to look at anything I could get my hands on about him, understanding that at a minimum my Church asked me to give assent to his partaking as a canonized member of the communion of saints, but not necessarily to all the phenomena. I thoroughly expected to go down the road of refuting or proving all the supernatural anecdotes related about him. Instead, I came away deeply convinced of his sainthood, not because of all those remarkable and mystifying manifestations, but rather, because of the humility he showed in endured calumny, accusation by the Church he loved, out of obedience, and resisting his natural temperament and personality.

    As a teacher, I’m with you on the stand you took and I’m glad you did. I think there is a place for miracles, in teaching and in evangelisation, however, I can easily see how a presentation such as that could have the potential to deeply misrepresent the fullness of the teaching or distort or confuse and that should be avoided in such a significant year at all costs. I think you did the right thing. I appreciate your explanation here.

    I myself do not take the tests showing distressed heart tissue to indicate that, I guess what you would expect a second grader to assume, more or less, the fragment of Eucharist is from one part of the sacred corpus and someone else’s fragment or host from say the brain or hand etc. Instead I just see that as a manifestation of mercy, that God reveals Himself in different aspects and ways, in ways that are comprehensible to us, throughout the Gospel and even today, even until the end of time. However I can easily see that this could lead to some confusion for a little one that is unnecessary and unhelpful to their preparation for reception for First Holy Communion. May God bless your work!

  13. Nan says:


    Here’s a story from my Russian Orthodox priest friend. There was a priest who had lost his faith. He was in the middle of the Divine Liturgy, preparing the Eucharist which, in that church, involves cutting out the center of a loaf of prosphora bread. He dropped it on the floor and when he looked down, he saw Jesus in the bread, looking up at him. He still didn’t believe. He looked into the Chalice, which contained blood and bits of flesh. He still didn’t believe. The next day he told the Bishop he couldn’t do it anymore.

    The Eucharistic miracle isn’t for you. It’s for those who need something obvious to help them.

  14. WmHesch says:

    I find it very strange the Bishop’s document approving the Miracle refers to it as a “RELIC” several times.

    It’s by no means a relic, but it’s my understanding it ceases to be the Eucharist once the accident of bread is gone… So what is it??


  15. streamer85 says:

    Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) experienced a Eucharistic Miracle some 10 years ago in his home city of Buenos Aires. There is a comprehensive article that miracle here:

  16. Elizabeth D says:

    Thanks for being kind rather than mad at me.

  17. abdiesus says:

    I guess all I can say is I thank the Lord my faith is just weak enough that Eucharistic miracles don’t present a barrier to my faith but can function for me as I have to believe they are intended by God. As to the use of the term Relic, I don’t know what else you would call it, unless you believe it is a hoax, which of course some will always believe this (or any other Eucharistic miracle) to be.

  18. Jack007 says:

    Thanks for being kind rather than mad at me.

    Elizabeth, I’m surprised you’d think anyone here would be other than kind. Of course, Fr. Jim hasn’t been around…yet. LOL
    My own feelings are that cradle Catholics are drawn more to these types of things as opposed to more recent converts. Also, where Catholicism is ingrained into the culture, as opposed to more historically hostile lands (America) these phenomena are more readily embraced.
    Jack in KC

  19. un-ionized says:

    Elizabeth, Your remarks have been very helpful to me. I have noticed for a long time that you are thoughtful. That is great. I am experiencing a change in the character of my faith recently and this discussion has been most welcome.

  20. abdiesus says:

    Elizabeth, to your question on genetic analysis: The article claims that the Department of Forensic Medicine said “The genetic researches indicate the human origin of the tissue.” Of course, the article itself could be a lie, or the Department of Forensic Medicine could be in on the hoax, I suppose, or they could be innocent victims of the hoax, or even merely mistaken in their results. However, I don’t believe it is legitimate to try to use St. Thomas to prove that (assuming the truthfulness of the report) it must be a hoax, since as far as I can see, that involves presuming in advance that such a thing as a Eucharistic miracle of this sort is a priori impossible, which St. Thomas clearly did not presume. How could St. Thomas, presumably with a clear conscience, present Eucharistic miracles of this sort as an aid to faith if they must by the logic of his own Eucharistic doctrine reduce to a hoax? By no means would I presume to try to bind consciences where the Church has not bound them, but at the same time I can’t help saying that if St. Thomas’ logic is driving you to disbelieve *a priori*, you must be doing St. Thomas wrong. Please forgive me if this seems harsh or uncharitable on my part, and especially if, as likely as not, I’ve misunderstood your meaning in some way.

  21. abdiesus says:

    Elizabeth, forgive me – I don’t mean you to feel attacked, however so many different things you said really struck a nerve with me. At one point you made this lament that with Eucharistic miracles “The significance of the Eucharist as food, as nourishment is also lost. ” I have to take issue with this, but to understand why, you need to understand that I am a recent convert (Feast of St. Mark, 2009) having been raised from my earliest years in Protestant ecclesial communities within some of which it was common to have pointed out that the mistake made by the Catholics in their understanding of the Eucharist was that by worshiping our Lord in the Eucharist, the significance of the Eucharist as food, as nourishment is lost. As a Catholic, I now find this to be a mistake, and I therefore am saddened when I hear other Catholics say the same thing, and here’s why: When Jesus first took bread, blessed it, and broke it and gave it to his disciples saying “Take, eat….” it was not hard for them to believe that what he was giving them was food, was nourishment. Similarly when Jesus, through the agency of the Priest acting in persona Christi, takes bread and blesses it and breaks it and says “Take eat….” it has not been hard for any of his disciples from that day down to this day to believe that what he was giving them is food, is nourishment. What *is* hard is to believe that what we are really being presented with is the Body, Blood, Soul & Divinity of Jesus. If the real problem today with understanding and appreciating the Eucharist were appreciating that what we are receiving is food, is nourishment, then perhaps not only should we do away with Eucharistic miracles, but also Benediction, Eucharistic Adoration, and Corpus Christi processions. Perhaps we should not genuflect any more, since when we do this, we are not treating the Eucharist like food/nourishment – because who bows down, kneels, or worships food/nourishment except an idolator? This of course is the Protestant argument against the Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist, and perhaps now you can see why your use of this as an a priori argument against the validity or usefulness of Eucharistic miracles is so disturbing to me. I hope you can forgive me if I anything I have said here has been felt as an attack on you, and of course, I am always open to correction in the (likely) event that I have misunderstood your meaning in some way.

  22. Elizabeth D says:

    Abidesus, I spend an hour in Eucharistic adoration every day. If someone believes that God made all things by speaking His Word and that the Word became incarnate and that the Word says “this is My Body” then it is not necessarily hard to believe that what He says happens and that the Eucharist IS His real presence, body blood soul and divinity. Must I defend the wisdom of Our Lord in choosing the humble appearances of bread and wine, ordinary food? I have sometimes marveled at His kindness. “My flesh is true food, my blood is true drink.” He wanted us to have a sense of that. Food is comforting and life giving and His food is spiritual food that gives everlasting life.

  23. un-ionized says:

    Elizabeth, I agree with you that this is material that is perhaps too deep for children who are just barely at the age of reason. It’s hard enough for adults to understand it. God has forseen our inquisitive nature, He made us that way so it is highly probable that in forseeing our scientific inquiries in this matter, He has made a decision about what it is that we will actually see or think we see via our tests. He knows that we are from theological Missouri, in other words. (for the non-Americans here, there is an expression, “I’m from Missouri, you gotta show me.” Hence the nickname for that state, the Show Me state).

  24. Giuseppe says:

    I wonder if they did investigated whether anyone with access to the host also had access to a pathology lab (heart muscle biopsy tissue, or cadaveric heart tissue) or a medical school (anatomy lab). (I confess that I have watched way too many CSI episodes.)

    Why was the host in this vasculum for months. Shouldn’t the priest have consumed it that very day?

    Nonetheless, miracles are fantastic.

  25. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    When you look at someone’s face, do you doubt that the rest of the person is attached to them? There is no contradiction between the Eucharist being the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, but only seeing, say his cardiac muscle. Think of it as a CAT scan – it is merely a cross-section of the entire body, but that implies the rest of the body is present. Christ cannot manifest as a full body in the flesh until the Second-coming, but he can present sections of himself that are contained, wholly, within the Eucharist.

    The Chicken

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  27. Elizabeth D says:

    Good Chicken, it is helpful for purposes of the discussion thread to speak as you do, of a good way of understanding it. It is also edifying that you are not paranoid about how many chickens meet the fate of Holofernes but rather trust that if you see the face, the rest is there. I do not naturally think of a whole live chicken being present if I see a little piece of the heart tissue of a chicken. Perhaps people with a more optimistic tendency would think about it differently, especially in the case of Eucharistic miracles.

    I am really fond of the sign value of bread and the whole Christ being present there.

  28. PA mom says:

    Elizabeth, have you ever visited this site?


    This link goes to the list of approved Eucharistic miracles which are part of a moving exhibition. We were fortunate enough to have our local Knights sponsor a selection of the exhibit at our parish.

    The point is that there are many and different kinds of approved miracles. Perhaps there is another one that you and your director could agree upon which would make for a better presentation for yourself and your students. Amazing, interesting reading.

  29. Elizabeth D says:

    I have seen some of that exhibit. And the handout materials (on several different miracles) we were supposed to use for the catechism children are from that group. I am generally neutral on the question of Eucharistic miracles and have no opinion about most of them except that some are interesting. My views specifically on the miracle of Lanciano are what I said above, which was the first of several of them that we were supposed to present about.

    Here is a sort of Eucharistic miracle that I am edified by, from the autobiography of Venerable Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, OP (he is writing in the third person, about himself):

    “During the course of many years, various were the perils to which the Missionary’s life was exposed, but that which happened to him in the month of March, 1838, was worthy of special mention. By his office as a Priest, he was obliged to cross the great River Mississippi from the State of Illinois to Iowa Territory where a sick man awaited his ministrations. He found that the ice no longer formed a solid support but broken up by the change of temperature and by the wind was carried along with the current. Often during the spring this river is found in such a condition on account of its great length and many tributaries, so that many persons cross in little skiffs in spite of the drifting ice. The Priest with four other travellers found no other means of transport than a sort of narrow canoe, hollowed out of a single trunk of a tree, which had been left lying on the bank all the last winter; when launched they all embarked without discovering that the old boat had several open cracks along the sides. After pushing out almost half a mile across the River, the water began to pour in, and such was the fear of one of the sailors that he was pale and trembling. The steersman, however, experienced as he was, courageously managed the frail vessel, ordering those who were seated to keep perfectly motionless, “or else,” he said, “we are all lost,” The Priest alone remained kneeling and paddling with a single oar while the steersman gave orders to hasten his strokes.

    “But how comforting is the true Faith when in imminent peril of life! The Priest of the Altar on that occasion bearing with him Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, had no great cause for fear, and as he found himself in the same peril as that which tried the Faith of the Apostles, when the tempest surprised them on Lake Genesareth, he cried out from the depths of his heart in their own words: “Master, we perish!” (St. Luke, VIII, 24.) A fixed sense of security in the Presence of the Veiled Divinity lying hidden upon his breast, gave no room for fear or doubt of reaching the shore. Nevertheless, the drifting ice fully a foot and a half in thickness, and in masses of enormous size, increased the peril not a little, for if one of these had struck the old log, it would assuredly have sent it to the bottom; we were compelled to turn from the course often to avoid this. The four passengers were already sitting in the icy water: the Priest and the steersman were kneeling in the water, for the rim of the old canoe was only four fingers length out of water, when thanks to God, we reached an island, and landing, every countenance showed thankfulness and joy. Then the steersman declared that as often as he had crossed that river in the most dangerous weather, he had never been so near death; adding that they had come across safe because they had had Faith rowing the boat and Perseverance at the stern guiding it; that is, the Missionary and himself. The passengers, not being Catholics, knew not that they owed their lives to the Presence of that Omnipotent God who crossed with them under the humble guise of the Sacrament of the Eucharist.”

  30. albizzi says:

    A forensic research was led on the host and blood of the Lanciano eucharistic miracle. There too a human cardiac tissue was found, AB+ group, the same blood as that of the Shroud.
    The picture shows Pierre Cochereau at the Notre Dame de Paris organ’s keyboard.

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I do not naturally think of a whole live chicken being present if I see a little piece of the heart tissue of a chicken.”

    Christ, however, is whole and alive in Heaven. Being an article of Faith, one cannot think of him exactly as analogous to a chicken, which can be cut up into parts. Christ will never be divided, again.

    The Chicken

  32. Kathleen10 says:

    who could be annoyed with you Elizabeth. You’re so sincere in your love for Jesus, and there you are, giving more of yourself by teaching our little ones. God bless you for your zeal dear.

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Elizabeth D.

    We all love you. You know that, right? I am much more afraid of being eaten for dinner than of you being hated for raising a perfectly good question about the praxis for Eucharistic education.

    Unfortunately, chickens do not make good pets, so my ability to provide comfort, like a dog might, is limited. Of course, chickens are better at dancing, so there is compensation :)

    The Chicken

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  35. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Perhaps someone else has answered this. I haven’t read every post yet.

    Elizabeth D. raises the questions: After the miracle, is what is present the Eucharist? Should it be put down the sacrarium? Should it be “adored”?

    St. Thomas says that it is NOT the Sacrament. The Sacrament exists from the moment of consecration to the moment that the accidents of bread and wine are destroyed. Normally, the accidents of bread and wine are destroyed inside a communicant. In this case, the accidents were destroyed by the miracle.

    Since the miraculous object is not the Eucharist, it need not be put down the sacrarium.

    Since the miraculous object is not the Eucharist, it should not be “adored” in the full sense of the word. Perhaps the Polish verb used was “venerated.” “Venerated” would be the correct word in English.

    Unless: Is the miraculous object the blood and the heart muscle of Christ Himself? Or, to put the question another way: Is the miraculous piece of cardiac muscle hypostatically united to the Word? (In which case, it is deserving of adoration.) If I recall correctly, St. Thomas says No.

  36. Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick says:

    Is the object that remains after the miracle a “relic.”


    Is it a First-Class Relic of Jesus Christ?


    It is a relic of a Eucharistic miracle.

  37. william_sr says:

    Anyone have any idea how to get a hold of the findings of the Department of Forensic Medicine? I did some research and was able to find out that the department is associated with universities at Wroclaw and Szczecin. I was also able to find an article that briefly discusses one of the committee members, Dr. Barbara Engel. The article is in Polish but Google Translate was able to help me with that.

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