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Saint Blaise was of a noble birth and a native of Sebaste in Armenia (Turkey). He was educated in the Christian faith and was appointed Bishop of Sebaste (Modern Sivas, Turkey). He was a physician by profession and a man with outstanding virtues. He was very popular during the middle ages and many churches were dedicated to him. He is one of the fourteen Holy helpers, a group of saints who are venerated together in the Roman Catholicism because their intercession is believed to be particularly effective, especially against various diseases.

Saint Blaise is venerated and invoked particularly as the patron saint of those suffering from the disease of the throat because he saved the life of a boy who was choking to death on a fishbone. On his feast day, February 3, the blessing of Saint Blaise is given by the priest by touching the throat of the faithful with two candles held in the form of a Saint Andrew’s cross. And the minister says, “through the intercession of Saint Blaise may God deliver you from all ailments of the throat and from every other evil: + in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” He is also venerated as the patron of wool combers because he met his death by having his flesh torn with iron combs like those used by wool combers. Furthermore, he is a patron saint of physicians because he was a physician by profession himself. He is also the patron saint of veterinarians and all kinds of animal because befriended animals.

Saint Blaise was arrested and tortured with a wool comber’s brush, and finally beheaded when he refused to renounce his faith in Christ. He was martyred in his episcopal city of Sebastea, Armenia, in 316 by Constantine’s ally and co-emperor Licinius. Saint Blaise was faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ in Mathew 10:32-33, “if anyone declares publicly that he belongs to me, I will do the same for him before my father in heaven, But if anyone rejects me publicly, I will reject him before my father in heaven.” We are to emulate his good lifestyle of holiness.

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