Feast of St Blaise: Blessing of the Throats

Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo.
The priest says: Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo.

“Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii, episcopi et martyris, liberet te Deus a malo gutturis, et a quolibet alio malo.  In nomine Patris, et Filii +, et Spiritus Sancti.  Amen.” 

“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”

 Every February 3rd the blessing of St. 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 by them. At the same time the following blessing is given: “Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo.” (“May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.”)

May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.

May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil.

Very few facts are known about Saint Blaise. It is believed he was a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century.

The legend of St. Blaise tells us that he was born into a rich and noble family who raised him as a Christian. He became a bishop. Later, a new persecution of Christians began. He received a message from God to go into the hills to escape persecution. Hunters discovered a cave surrounded by wild animals who were sick. Blaise walked among them unafraid, curing them of their illnesses. The hunters recognized Blaise as a Bishop, so they captured him to take him back for trial.

St. Blaise of Sebaste, also known as Blase, Blasien, Biagio; Died c. 316.

St. Blaise of Sebaste, also known as Blase, Blasien, Biagio; Died c. 316.

On the way back, he talked a wolf into releasing a pig that belonged to a poor woman. When Blaise was sentenced to be starved to death, the woman, in gratitude, sneaked into the prison with food and candles. Finally, the governor had Blaise killed.

Saint Blase is the patron of physicians, sick cattle, wax- chandlers, woolcombers, and of wild animals because of his care for them and of those with throat maladies. He is invoked against afflictions of the throat.

As one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Saint Blase was much venerated throughout Central Europe.  In art he is a bishop with a metal comb and a tall candle.  He may be shown in many different ways:

(1) with crozier (pastoral staff) and two candles (no comb)
(2) martyred by being torn with iron combs
(3) in a cave with wild animals
(4) discovered by hunters, a fawn near him (not to be confused with the monk, Saint Giles)
(5) blessing the birds in front of a cave
(6) rescuing a poor woman’s pig from a wolf
(7) saving the life of a boy who swallowed a fishbone; or (8) with the city of Dubrovnik in his hand or being carried over the city by angels.

The church of Saint Blaise, designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, was built from 1518 to 1545; its high façade is lined with two bell towers; on its left there is the elegant canonica (priest's house) with a double-opened gallery.

The church of Saint Blaise, designed by Antonio da Sangallo the Elder, was built from 1518 to 1545; its high façade is lined with two bell towers; on its left there is the elegant canonica (priest's house) with a double-opened gallery.

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