Feast Day: February 3
Blaise lived so long ago that we know nothing about his early life. We do know that he was a both a doctor and a bishop in the area that is today either Armenia or Turkey. In the beginning of the fourth century, Christians were being persecuted by the Romans. The Roman Emperor believed that arresting and punishing important leaders like Blaise would prevent other people from becoming followers of Christ.
Blaise’s prison was a dark cave. One of the legends that is told about him is that wild animals came to the cave so that he could treat their wounds. It is said that a mother brought her young son to Blaise. The boy was choking on a fish bone. Blaise saved the boy’s life by saying a prayer and blessing him candles crossed upon his throat.
Tradition tells us that the grateful mother visited Blaise’s in prison to bring him food and candles. During his time in prison, Blaise was sentenced to death. He was martyred in the year 316.
St. Blaise is the patron saint of people with diseases of the throat. On St. Blaise’s feast day, many parishes bless the throats of their parishioners in a special ceremony. Two unlit candles are held next to each person’s throat as the priest or deacon says, “Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
St. Blaise reminds us of the importance of taking care of our health and also to thank God for doctors and medicines that can help us to recover from illnesses. We honor St. Blaise for his faith and care for his people.