Tag Archives: St Blase

Saint Blase

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday after Candlemas and we both lamented the diminishment of a lively devotional life for Catholics. Today’s feast of Saint Blase and the blessing of throats would be a part of that lively devotional life. I would claim —not scientifically, mind you— that many Catholics don’t know of Saint Blase and the laudable custom of blessing throats even though he gets a nominal mention in places. In the medieval Christianity the faithful’s cult of Blaise was arguably one of the most popular. England, once-upon-a-time, had a national holiday devoted to Saint Blaise and it is said that in the Diocese of Rome there were 35 churches dedicated to Saint Blase.

Our liturgical memorial of Saint Blase recognizes that the saint was an Armenian physician who as elected as the bishop of Sebaste (currently called Sivas, Turkey). Facing martyrdom because of his Christian confession, he was beaten, scraped with iron carding combs, and finally beheaded in AD 317. The holy bishop-martyr is a great reminder that following the Lord is not easy but possible.

Blase is the patron of those living with diseases of the throat, wool combers and wool traders, and he is one of the patrons of physicians. Tradition tells us that Saint Blaise cured a boy who was dying of a fish-bone stuck in his throat. Priests bless the throats of Catholics on his feast day at Mass.

Don’t let today go by without asking for the intercession of Saint Blase.

Blessing of Throats on the feast of Saint Blaise

St Blaise3.jpg

Hear, O Lord, the supplications your people make under the patronage of the Martyr Saint Blaise, and grant that they may rejoice in peace in this present life and find help for life eternal.

(the Collect at Mass)

From the Roman Martyrology we read:

At Sebaste in Armenia [in the 4th century], in the time of the governor Agricolaus, the passion of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, who, after working many miracles, was scourged for a long time, suspended from a tree where his flesh was lacerated with iron combs. He was then imprisoned in a dark dungeon, thrown into a lake from which he came out safe, and finally, by order of the judge, he and two boys were beheaded. Before him, seven women who were gathering the drops of his blood during his torture, were recognized as Christians, and after undergoing severe torments, were put to death by the sword.

The Order of Blessing of candles for the blessing of throats is noted here.
You may ask why get your throat blessed. I’d ask, if you were truly Catholic, why would you NOT have your throat blessed on this feast day. As the Church prays today, we praise God for the gift of staying close to him in times of persecution –that we don’t weaken in faith in Christ Jesus our Savior. Through the intercession of Blaise, a 4th century witness to Christ who was known to be a physician, bishop and martyr may we come closer to the Lord and in doing so, tell others about Him. The blessing of throats as such is not that important. What is important the recognition that all things come from God the Father through Jesus under the power of the Holy Spirit. The blessing of throats is a dynamic example of begging of God to bestow grace upon us. Here is the sacramentality. Here is the mission-focus of our faith: Grace comes into our context. Who doesn’t need grace? Who would be so full of pride and laziness not to approach the Throne of Grace asking for help and love?

Saint Blase and the Blessing of Throats

St Blaise blessing throats.jpgLord, hear the prayers of Your martyr Blase. Give us the joy of Your peace in this life and help us to gain the happiness that will never end.

The Church has few exact details of the life of Saint Blase (also Blaise, Biago, Sveti Vlaho) but we have the experience of his popularity through the centuries in the churches of the East and West. What we know is that Blase was a physician, the Bishop of Sebaste, Armenia and martyr. The Roman Martyrology tells us that he was beheaded in 316.

More info on Saint Blase is found here and here.

The Blessing of Candles on the feast of St Blase can be found here.

The Blessing of Bread, Wine, Water and Fruit for the feast.

blessing of throats.jpg

From the Golden Legend again: 

And when this good widow, which by S. Blase had recovered her swine, heard thereof, she slew it, and the head and the feet with a little bread and a candle, she brought to S. Blase, and he thanked God and ate thereof, and he said to her that every year she should offer in his church a
candle, and know thou that to thee and to all them that so shall do shall well happen to them, and so she did all her life, and she had much great prosperity.

Even after imprisonment, he refused to worship the prince’s gods, and for punishment
his flesh torn by wool combs. He was finally beheaded, martyred along with seven
women and two children.

Today, due to the cure of the boy’s throat when the boy was choking, Saint Blase is patron against diseases  or any other trouble of the throat.

The priest will bless two candles in honor of Saint Blase.

Blessing of Bread, Wine, Water and Fruit for the relief of throat ailments on the Feast of Saint Blase

Blessing of Bread, Wine, Water and Fruit for the
relief of throat ailments on the
Feast of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr 

V. Our
help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven and earth.

V. The Lord be
with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.


O God, Savior of the world, Who
did consecrate this day with the martyrdom of the most venerable Blase,
granting him among other gifts the power of healing all who are afflicted with
throat ailments; we humbly beseech Your boundless mercy, and beg that these
fruits, bread, wine, and water, which Your devoted people today, be blessed +
and sanctified + by Your goodness. May they who taste thereof be fully healed
of all afflictions of the throat, as well as every infirmity of soul or body,
through the prayers and merits of the same Blase, Pontiff and Martyr. You who
live and reign God, forevermore.

R. Amen.

The items are sprinkled with holy

Blessing of Candles on the feast of Saint Blase

Blessing of Candles on the feast of Saint Blase,
Bishop & Martyr

San Biagio.jpg

V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made heaven
and earth.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with your spirit.

Let us pray.

O God
of gentleness and might, by You Word alone You did create the manifold things
of the world, and did cause this same Word, Maker of all things, to take flesh
in order to repurchase us. You are great and wonderful, awesome and
praiseworthy, a doer of wonderful deeds. Wherefore, in professing his fealty to
You, the glorious martyr and bishop, Blasé did not fear any manner of torment,
but gladly accepted the palm of martyrdom. In virtue of which, among other
gifts, You did bestow on him this prerogative -of healing all ailments of the
throat. Thus we beg Your Majesty that overlooking our guilt, and considering
only his merits and intercession You world grant to bless + and sanctify + and
bestow Your grace on these candles. Let all Christians of good faith whose
necks are touched with them be healed of every malady of the throat, and being
restored in health and cheer, let them return thanks in Your holy Church, and
give praise to Your wondrous name which is blessed forever. Through our Lord,
Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy
Spirit, God, eternally.

R. Amen.
St Blase candles Feb 3 2010.jpg
The candles are sprinkled with holy water. Then
the pries, holding two crossed candles to the throat of each one to be blessed,
as they kneel before the altar, says:

Through the intercession of Saint Blase,
Bishop and Martyr, may God deliver you from sickness of the throat and from
every other evil. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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