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Saint Blaise

Not much is known of Saint Blaise's life save for several legends and writings. It is known that Saint Blaise lived in Sebastea, modern day central Turkey and was a Byzantine Greek physician, perhaps one of the earliest Greek Christian Physicians in the area. Aetius Amidenus (A physician who lived in the 500s) wrote of Saint Blaise and recommended invoking his aid when someone had items stuck in their throat.

Saint Blaise spent his life as a physician, and some time in the late 200s or early 300s AD became the Bishop at Sebastea. He retired to a cave to spend his remaining days in prayer and performed many miraculous acts to the pious who came and visited him. Some stories tell that wild animals would come and visit him in his cave when they were sick - he was able to pray for their healing. in 316 AD, the Emperor Licinius directed Agricolaus, the governor of Cappadocia to arrest him. After several days of interrogation and torture, Saint Blaise was executed by beheading.

There are two famous legends associated with Saint Blaise - both occurring at the time of his arrest and imprisonment. In the first, while travelling under guard to the prison, Saint Blaise came across a distraught woman on the side of the road. A wolf had taken one of her pigs into the forest. Saint Blaise kneeled down and prayed before commanding the wolf to return the pig, which it obeyed and returned unharmed. While he was in prison awaiting his execution, the woman secretly visited him and brought him two wax candles to help illuminate his dark prison cell.

In the second famous miracle, a woman threw herself down at his feet during his arrest, pleading for help. Her son was choking on a fishbone and was moments from death. Saint Blaise kneeled down and prayed. Miraculously, the bone disappeared from the child's throat and he was able to breathe normally again. Today on the feast of Saint Blaise, two candles that were blessed the day before (on Candlemas) are lit and placed in a cross position over top the heads of the faithful and this blessing is given:

"Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness"

Saint Blaise was an extremely popular Saint during the middle ages and was known as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In the year 1222, the council of Oxford in England forbade all work on the feast day of Saint Blaise and several churches are named in his honor. A well in Bromley, London, England is known as Saint Blaise's Well and was known to have miraculous healing properties.

Saint Blaise's Well

In Croatia, Saint Blaise holds a particularly honored spot among the Patron Saints. A local legend holds that in 971 AD the inhabitants of Dubrovnik had a vision that the Venetians were about to attack the city, giving them time to prepare and persuade the Venetians not to attack. In Iceland, Saint Blaise was mentioned in the Þorláks saga helga an Icelandic Saga about Saint Thorlak Thorhallsson.

Among other Patronages, Saint Blaise is the Patron Saint of wild animals, choking, throats, throat illnesses, Dubrovnik, and wool workers (legend holds he was executed by a woolcomb). His feast day is on February 3rd in the Roman Catholic Church and February 11th in the Eastern and Greek churches.

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