An important investigation undertaken by the Bacterioscopical Laboratory, with regard to the pollution of the Venetian canals by the city sewage, led to the discovery that the water of the lagoons possesses auto-purifying power, not only in the large canals but even in the smallest ramifications of the waterways.
Shared in the devastation of Rome by the Goths under Vitiges in the 6th century and by the Lombards at a later period; and partly through the spoliation of these barbarian invaders, partly through the neglect of those who should have been their guardians, they sank into such a state of decay and pollution that, as the only means of preserving the holy remains they enshrined from further desecration, Pope Paul I., in the latter part of the 8th century, and Pope Paschal, at the beginning of the 9th, entered upon the work of the translation of the relics, which was vigorously carried on by successive pontiffs until the crypts were almost entirely despoiled of their dead.
If, after its third residence in a human body, it is still too weak to withstand the contamination of sin, it is united with another soul, in order that by their combined efforts it may resist the pollution which by itself it was unable to conquer.
Above the intakes of the water companies (at Hampton or in the vicinity), the Thames Conservancy has enforced the requirements of parliament that no sewage or other pollution shall be allowed to pass into the Thames, into its tributary streams, or even into any water communicating with them.
It was instituted in 165 B.C. in commemoration of, and thanksgiving for, the purification of the temple at Jerusalem on this day by Judas Maccabaeus after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria, who in 168 B.C. set up a pagan altar to Zeus Olympius.