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Saint Blaise was an early fourth century bishop of Sebaste, in Armenia. Legend tells that he was from a wealthy noble Christian family and that he trained as a physician before he became a priest. God told him to Run to the hills to escape a persecution of Christians under Licinius and live as a hermit until the persecution died down. While in hiding he performed a miraculous cure of a young boy who was choking to death on a fish bone.

The Governor's men found him, the story goes, in a cave full of sick wild animals he was in the midst of healing. The men were surprised to find him surrounded by all these wild beasts and unharmed, but they took him back to town and threw him in jail anyway. The mother of the young boy Blaise saved from choking to death brought him food and candles while he was in prison.

After suffering torture (possibly being pierced or having his flesh torn with iron combs), Blaise was beheaded.

His relics were dispersed all over Europe around the 9th century during Holy wars and he was credited with many cures, especially of sore and diseased throats.

As a result, Saint Blaise is the patron of sore throats. He is also the patron of wool combers, possibly because of his torture, and in art he is often portrayed in a cave surrounded by wild animals. His feast day is February third, and on that day if you go down to your local Catholic Church, they will bless your throat, holding two candles crossed in front of you pressing against the base of your throat, just like they've been doing since around the 16th century, when the practice became common througout Europe. It's quite something.


sources:

http://www.domestic-church.com/CONTENT.DCC/19980101/SAINTS/STBLAISE.HTM

The Wordsworth Dictionary of Saints Allison Jones

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