Saint of the Day – 3 February – St Blaise – Hieromartyr/ Holy Helper/Bishop/Physician/ (Died in 316) – Patron against angina,against bladder diseases, against blisters, against coughs, against dermatitis, against dropsy, against eczema, against edema, against fever, against goitres, against headaches, against impetego, against respiratory diseases, against skin diseases, against snake bites, against sore throats, against stomach pain, against storms, against teething pain, against throat diseases, against toothaches, against ulcers, against whooping cough, against wild beasts, of angina sufferers, animals, cattle, children, healthy throats, motorists, pack horses, pets, pigs, bakers, brick layers, builders, carvers, cobblers, show makers, construction workers, cowherds, farm workers, hat makers, hatters, millers, musicians who play wind instruments, plasterers, sock makers, stocking makers, stone cutters, stone masons, swineherds, tailors, tanners, veterinarians, wool-combers, wool weavers, Dalmatia,Paraguay, 21 cities = 80 Patronages)
The first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, a court physician of the very end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century; there his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. Marco Polo reported the place where “Meeser Saint Blaise obtained the glorious crown of martyrdom”, Sebastea; the shrine near the citadel mount was mentioned by William of Rubruck in 1253. However, it appears to no longer exist.
From being a healer of bodily ailments, Saint Blaise became a physician of souls, then retired for a time to a cavern where he remained in prayer. As bishop of Sebastea, Blaise instructed his people as much by his example as by his words, and the great virtues and sanctity of the servant of God were attested by many miracles. From all parts, the people came flocking to him for the cure of bodily and spiritual ills. He is said to have healed animals (who came to the saint on their own for his assistance) and to have been assisted by animals.
In 316, the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia Agricolaus began a persecution by order of the Emperor Licinius and Saint Blaise was seized. After his interrogation and a severe scourging, he was hurried off to prison and subsequently beheaded.
The legendary Acts of St. Blaise were written 400 years later. The Acts of St. Blaise, written in Greek, are medieval. The legend as given in the Grande Encyclopédie is as follows:
Blaise, who had studied philosophy in his youth, was a doctor in Sebaste in Armenia, the city of his birth, who exercised his art with miraculous ability, good-will and piety. When the bishop of the city died, he was chosen to succeed him, with the acclamation of all the people. His holiness was manifest through many miracles: from all around, people came to him to find cures for their spirit and their body; even wild animals came in herds to receive his blessing. In 316, Agricola, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, having arrived in Sebastia at the order of the emperor Licinius to kill the Christians, arrested the bishop. As he was being led to jail, a mother set her only son, choking to death of a fish-bone, at his feet and the child was cured straight away. Regardless, the governor, unable to make Blaise renounce his faith, beat him with a stick, ripped his flesh with iron combs, and beheaded him.
Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, saints who were patrons for almost every aspect of life. People in the Middle Ages showed devotion to these saints as a group
Saint Blaise, estampe, Georgin François (graveur), Pellerin (imprimeur, libraire, éditeur), Epinal, MuCEM