Happy Feast of Saint Blaise!
Like Saint Jude, very little is known about Saint Blaise, but the little we know and what he is patron of may be helpful to us during this Pandemic.
Saint Blaise was bishop of a diocese called Sebastea (now in modern day Turkey). The local Roman governor persecuted him until he was martyred in 316 AD under the Roman Emperor, Licinius. Interestingly Licinius co-authored the Edict of Milan, which finally ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Did the legends of Saint Blaise help Licinius to change his mind and stop persecuting Christians?
Saint Blaise is believed to be a healer and is known as the Patron Saint of a number of things and places, including the West Yorkshire town: Bradford. However, he is more famously known as the Patron Saint of throats. Many scholars believe this was because his Feast Day fell around the time of year when many people would have sore throats. A traditional ceremony today (in non-Covid times) is for a priest to put two crossed candles or tapers under a person’s throat and pray that “God [will] deliver you from ills of the throat and other ills”.
Therefore, through the intercession of St Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver us from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. Alongside Saint Jude, Blaise can be another saint of hope for us all right now.
Saint Blaise, pray for us.
The image is a 14th Century wall painting of Saint Blaise in All Saints Church in Kingston upon Thames, UK (Wikipedia.Org)