The Cloisters. Basilica Of Saint Paul-Without-The-Walls, Rome. Author: Dnalor 01. Licence (CC-BY-SA 3.0). Wikimedia Commons.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Saint Blaise. Bishop And Martyr. Feast Day, Today, 3 February.

Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

English: Saint Blaise confronting the Roman Governor. 
Scene from The Life of Saint Blaise, Bishop of Sebaste (Armenia). 
Martyr under the Roman Emperor Licinius (4th-Century A.D.).
Stained-Glass Window from the area of Soissons, Picardy, France. 
Français: Saint Blaise devant le gouverneur romain : scène de la vie de saint Blaise, évêque de Sébaste en Arménie, martyr sous le règne de l'empereur Licinius (IVe siècle). Vitrail de la région de Soissons (Picardie, France), début du XIVe siècle. Versement de l'Office des biens privés, 1951.
Current location: Louvre Museum, Paris, France.
Credit line: Assigned by the Office of private goods and interests, 1951.
Source/Photographer: Jastrow (2005).
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Blaise (Armenian: Սուրբ Բարսեղ, Sourb Barsegh; Greek: Άγιος Βλάσιος, Agios Vlasios), also known as Saint Blase, was a Physician, and Bishop of Sebastea, in historical Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey).

According to The Acta Sanctorum, he was Martyred, by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded. In The Latin Church, his Feast Day falls on 3 February; in The Eastern Churches, The Feast Day falls on 11 February.

The first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, a Court Physician at the very end of the 5th-Century A.D., or the beginning of the 6th-Century A.D; 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.

English: Church of Saint Blaise, Alsace, France.
Français: Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Valff, Eglise Saint-Blaise, 
Maître-autel (XVIIIe) avec statues de Sainte-Marguerite 
et Saint-Jean de Népomucène, Tableau Saint-Blaise.
Photo: 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Rh-67.
(Wikimedia Commons)

From being a healer of bodily ailments, Saint Blaise became a Physician of Souls, then retired for a time, by Divine Inspiration, 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.

In 316 A.D., the Governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia, Agricolaus, began a Persecution, by order of the Emperor, Licinius. Saint Blaise was seized. After interrogation and a severe scourging, he was hurried off to prison, and subsequently beheaded. The legendary Acts of Saint Blaise were written 400 years later, in Greek, and are, thus, a Mediaeval record.

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 A.D., 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 prison, 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.

In many places, on The Day of his Feast, The Blessing of Saint Blaise is given: Two Candles are Consecrated, generally by a Prayer, these are then held, in a crossed position, by a Priest over the heads of The Faithful, or the people are touched on the throat with them. At the same time, the following Blessing is given: "May Almighty God, at the intercession of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, preserve you from infections of the throat and from all other afflictions".

English: Valentino Rovisi, Saint Blaise, 1780, fresco, 
San Biagio Church in Alleghe.
Polski: Chwała św. Błażeja i osiem epizodów z życia 
świętego, 1780, fresk, kościół w Alleghe.
Photo: 27 December 2012.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

One of The Fourteen Holy Helpers [Editor: Also known as The Fourteen Auxiliary Saints], Blaise became one of the most popular Saints of The Middle Ages. His cult became widespread in Europe in the 11th- and 12th-Centuries and his legend is recounted in the 14th-Century Legenda Aurea. Saint Blaise is The Saint of The Wild Beast.

He is The Patron of The Armenian Order of Saint Blaise. In Italy, he is known as San Biagio. In Spanish-speaking Countries, he is known as San Blas, and has lent his name to many places (see San Blas). In Italy, Saint Blaise's remains rest at the Basilica over the town of Maratea, shipwrecked there during Leo III the Isaurian's iconoclastic Persecutions.

Many German Churches, including the former Abbey of Saint Blasius, in The Black Forest, and the Church of Balve, are Dedicated to Saint Blaise/Blasius.

In Cornwall, England, the Village of St Blazey derives from his name, where the Parish Church is still Dedicated to Saint Blaise. Indeed, The Council of Oxford, in 1222, forbade all work on his Festival. There is a Church Dedicated to Saint Blaise in the Devon, England, Hamlet of Haccombe, near Newton Abbot (also one at Shanklin, on The Isle of Wight, and another at Milton, near Abingdon, in Oxfordshire), one of the Country's smallest Churches. It is located next to Haccombe House, which is The Family Home of The Carew Family, descendants of the Vice-Admiral on board The Mary Rose at the time of her sinking. One curious fact associated with this Church is that its "Vicar" goes by the Title of "Arch-Priest".

English: Statue of Saint Blaise on The Holy Trinity Column 
Source: Own work.
Author: Michal Maňas.
(Wikimedia Commons)

There is a Saint Blaise's Well In Bromley, Kent, where the water was considered to have medicinal virtues. Saint Blaise is also associated with Stretford, in Lancashire. A Blessing of the Throats Ceremony is held on 3 February at Saint Etheldreda's Church, in London, and in Balve, Germany.

In Bradford, West Yorkshire, a Roman Catholic Middle School, named after Saint Blaise, was operated by The Diocese of Leeds from 1961 to 1995. The name was chosen due to the connections of Bradford to the woollen industry and the method whereby Saint Blaise was Martyred (with the wool-comb).

Saint Blaise (Croatian: Sveti Vlaho or Sveti Blaž) is The Patron Saint of Dubrovnik, and, formerly, The Protector of The Independent Republic of Ragusa. At Dubrovnik, Croatia, his Feast Day is celebrated on 3 February, when Relics of The Saint are paraded in Reliquaries. The Festivities begin the previous day, on Candlemas (2 February), when White Doves are released. Chroniclers of Dubrovnik, such as Rastic and Ranjina, attribute his Veneration there to a vision in 971 A.D., to warn the inhabitants of an impending attack by The Venetians.

English: Church of Saint Blaise, 
Montepulciano, Italy.
Italiano: Montepulciano - 
Chiesa di S. Biagio.
Photo: August 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: Geobia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Blaise (Blasius) revealed The Venetians' pernicious plan to Stojko, a Canon of Saint Stephen's Cathedral. The Senate summoned Stojko, who told them in detail how Saint Blaise had appeared before him, as an old man with a long beard and a Bishop's Mitre and Staff. In this form, the effigy of Blaise remained on Dubrovnik's State Seal and coinage until the Napoleonic era.

In England, in the 18th- and 19th-Centuries, Blaise was adopted as mascot of wool-workers' pageants, particularly in Essex, Yorkshire, Wiltshire and Norwich. The popular enthusiasm for the Saint is explained by the belief that Blaise had brought prosperity (as symbolised by The Woolsack) to England, by teaching the English to comb wool. According to the Tradition, as recorded in printed broadsheets, Blaise came from Jersey, Channel Islands. Jersey was certainly a centre of export of woollen goods (as witnessed by the name jersey for the woollen textile). However, this legend is probably the result of confusion with a different Saint, Blasius of Caesarea (Caesarea being also the Latin name of Jersey).

In iconography, Blaise is represented holding two Crossed Candles in his hand (The Blessing of Saint Blaise), or in a cave surrounded by wild beasts, as he was found by the hunters of the Governor. He is often shown with the instruments of his Martyrdom, steel combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as The Patron Saint of wool combers, in particular, and the wool trade, in general.

English: Saint Blaise Blessing a young child (note the Crossed Candles).
Altarpiece in The Church of Saint Blaise, Alsace, France.
Français: Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Valff, Eglise Saint-Blaise,
Maître-autel (XVIIIe), Tableau Saint-Blaise (XIXe).
Date: 2011.
Source: Own work.
Author: Rh-67.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

Saint Blaise.
   Bishop and Martyr.
   Feast Day 3 February.


Red Vestments.

English: Saint Stephen, Saint Blaise, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Peter, and the donor, Pierre Rup. Swiss wooden Altarpiece, circa 1450. Museum of Fine Arts, Dijon, France.
Français: Saint Etienne Saint Blaise Saint Jean Baptiste Saint Pierre et le donateur Pierre Rup. Suisse vers 1450. Bois. Musée des beaux arts de Dijon (Côte d'Or, France).
Date: 3 July 2014.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Saint Blaise, elected Bishop of Sebastea, Armenia (Introit), had a part in The Redemption of The Saviour. "The sufferings of The Saviour abounded in him" (Epistle), and, after a life of severe Penance, passed among wild beasts in a cave on Mount Argeus, "he gave his life for Jesus" (Gospel). Having suffered the most atrocious torments under Licinius, he was beheaded in 316 A.D.

Like The Redeemer, Saint Blaise healed bodies while healing Souls, wherefore his intercession was often Prayed for. In consequence of his having saved the life of a child, who was dying, choked by a bone which had stuck in his throat, The Church recognises his "prerogative for healing all diseases of the throat". She Blesses two Candles, to this effect, and asks God for all those, whose necks the Candles shall touch, that they may be delivered from throat diseases, or from any other ill, through the merits of this Holy Martyr's passion. He is one of The Fourteen "Auxiliary Saints".

Let us, with Saint Blaise, take part in The Sufferings of The Redeemer, so as to be able with him to take part in His triumph (Epistle).

Mass: Sacerdótes Dei. Of a Martyr Bishop.



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