Doctors reveal if it's possible for bleeding cross to appear on skin, like in Nenad from Pancevo
From a medical point of view, something like this is not possible; however, doctors don't deny one thing
The news about Nenad Paunovic, 33, who has a bleeding cross appear on his forehead during major religious holidays, has been reported across the region, and with this in mind we decided to check if it's medically possible for such wounds to actually appear on the body.
Nenad claims that this has been happening to him for ten years now, ever since he participated in a friend's baptism.
How do stigmata actually appear on the human body, or are they just fake?
The history of stigmata is very long and there have been debates about the phenomenon all along.
Many would say that these are wounds that believers inflict on themselves, while others would say these are possibly divine signs.
Stigmata are bodily wounds corresponding to the wounds Christ. They appear in the form of bloody stains on the palms, wrists and feet, as well as in the places where nails were inserted that held the body of Christ on the cross.
However, doctors and medics believe that stigmata don't happen by mystical means, but by people's action on their own skin.
"From a medical point of view, something like this is not possible. There is no scientific basis for this. The redness is most likely to occur due to skin irritations that widen the blood vessels. For example, with the help of pepper, salt or medical materials," the head of the scientific and consulting department of the Institute of Immunology FMBA of Russia Lyudmila Lus told Voice of Russia.
What's interesting that stigmata occur in people who are extreme in their religious beliefs. Another interesting point is that stigmatas or wounds of Jesus never appeared on Muslims or Buddhists.
Some scholars consider stigmata a classic example of a psychosomatic illness occuring in believers who immensly empathize with Christ's suffering on the cross.
Still, some people claim that miracles are possible - but is there room for this beliefs in the modern world?
Stigmatists usually tell doctors that their wounds occurred after waking from deep sleep, during which they dreamed of the biblical crucifixion scene.
Even Sigmund Freud had his own theory about this phenomenon. He believed that stigmata are a phenomenon related to suppressed sexual energy in a person who can't sufficiently satisfy their physiological needs and be realized in sexual life, as is often the case with the clergy and deeply religious persons.
Famous stigmatists included Saint Francis of Assisi, a holy nun of the Dominican order, Catherine of Siena, and an Italian priest, Father Pio of Pietrelcina, who was declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church in 2002.
A possible medical explanation
And while stigmata are considered to be a religious phenomenon, have been people diagnosed with a very rare condition - hematohidrosis, a disease that causes the blood to leak through the skin.
This disease affects one in 10 million people and very little is known about it. It is thought that when agitation increases, the capillaries surrounding sweat glands shrink to the point of bursting, causing blood to exude to the surface of the skin, along with sweat.
Chronic stress and fear can cause hematohidrosis.
Some psychological studies have characterized stigmata as a psychosomatic disease. People who have them are usually extremely religious, spending a lot of time focusing on the suffering of Jesus. Because hematohidrosis is closely related to stress, it's possible that intense and stressful religious meditation can cause spontaneous bleeding.
Generally speaking, doctors and scientists are still skeptical about this so-called miracle, which has no scientific or medical explanation.
Believers with stigmatas, however, believe that precisely they are chosen by God for some reason.
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