Feast Day: February 3
Throat Illness, Animals, and Wool Trading
Little is known about the life of Saint Blaise. It is believed that he was born into a family of wealth.
Saint Blaise was the Bishop of Sebastea and a doctor. He is recorded as helping patients suffering from objects stuck in their throat. Many of the miraculous aspects of St. Blaise's life were written 400 years after his martyrdom in the "Acts of St. Blaise."
Saint Blaise is believed to have begun as a healer, and eventually became a "physician of souls."
In a vision, God appeared to him and told him to flee to be safe from persecution. He retired to a cave, where he remained in prayer. People often turned to Saint Blaise for healing miracles, despite his surviving in a cave.
Eventually, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, Agricola, found and arrested then-bishop Blaise for being a Christian. Blaise refused to renounce his faith, even though he knew that he would be killed if he did not.
According to one story, on their way to the jail, a woman set her only son, who was choking to death on a fish bone, at his feet. Blaise cured the child, and though Agricola was amazed, he continued to try to get Blaise to renounce his faith. Blaise refused to do so. Therefore, Agricola beat Blaise with a stick and tore at his flesh with iron combs before beheading him.
In another tale, Blaise was being led to the prison in Sebastea, and on the way came across a poor old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf to return the pig, which it did -alive and uninjured - to the amazement of all. When he reached Sebastea, the woman came to him and brought two fine wax candles in an attempt to dispel the gloom of his darkened cell. Blaise is thus often pictured with two candles.
A Blessing of the Throats ceremony is held on or about February 3 (St. Blaise’s Feast Day) at many Catholic Churches. Saint Blaise is often depicted holding two crossed candles in his hand, or in a cave with wild animals. He is also often shown with steel combs.
As we conclude our study of St. Blaise, this video, which features a read aloud from the book “Stories of the Saints” by Carey Wallace, offers a great summary of his life, read in an enticing style for elementary and middle school children.