Feast of Saint Blase (Blaise, Blasius)
Bishop and Martyr
(Feast Day 3 February)

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Feast of Saint Blase (Blaise, Blasius)

The ninth-century martyrologies of Europe in their lists, which are accompanied by historical notices, give on 15 February the name of Saint Blasius, Bishop of Sebaste and martyr. The Greek synaxaria mention him under 11 February. In the oldest known recension of the so-called martyrology of Saint Jerome the name of Saint Blasius does not appear; it is only in the later, enlarged catalogues that he is mentioned. All the statements agree that Saint Blasius was Bishop of Sebaste in Armenia and most of the accounts place his martyrdom in the reign of Licinius (about 316).

It can perhaps be assumed that Saint Blasius was a bishop and that he suffered martyrdom at the beginning of the fourth century. All the particulars concerning his life and martyrdom are purely legendary. According to the legend, Blasius was a physician at Sebaste before he was raised to the Episcopal see. At the time of the persecution under Licinius he was taken prisoner at the command of the governor, Agricolaus. The hunters of the governor found him in the wilderness in a cave to which he had retired and while in prison he performed a wonderful cure of a boy who had a fishbone in his throat and who was in danger of choking to death. After suffering various forms of torture Saint Blasius was beheaded.

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Fourteen Holy Martyrs
 

The veneration of this Oriental saint was brought at an early date into Europe, as is shown by the recitals in the historical martyrologies of the ninth century, and the Latin recension of the legend of Saint Blasius- so that Blasius became one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. The actual reason for the unusual veneration has not yet been made clear. Most probably one ground was that according to the legend he was a physician and wonderful cures were ascribed to him; for this reason the faithful sought his help and intercession when ill. Numberless churches and altars were dedicated to him and many localities (Taranto, Ragusa, the Abbey of Saint Blasius in the Black Forest, etc.) claimed to possess some of his relics. He was also one of the Fourteen Holy Martyrs. In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of Saint Blasius 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. In other places oil is consecrated in which the wick of a small candle is dipped and the throats of those present are touched with the wick. At the same time the following blessing is given-. "Per intercessionem Saint Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo" (May God at the intercession of Saint Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil). In some dioceses is added: "in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus" and the priest makes the sign of the cross over the faithful.  In the Roman Church his feast falls on 3 February; in the Orthodox Churches on 11 February. He is represented holding two crossed candles in his hand (the Blessing of Saint Blasius), or in a cave surrounded by wild beasts, as he was found by the hunters of the governor.

 

Novena in Honor of Saint Blaise

 

Preparatory Prayer

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes)Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul.

Amen

 

Prayer in honor of Saint Blaise

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes)O GOD, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blaise, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

Invocation of Saint Blaise

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes)Saint Blaise, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment.

Amen

 

Prayer

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes)My LORD and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the Holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer.

Amen

 

[End of Novena to Saint Blaise]

 

 

Prayers to Saint Blaise

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes) O glorius Saint Blaise, who by thy martydom didst leave to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously restore a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of affliction of the throat, grant us thy mighty protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. 

Amen

 

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes) Dear Bishop and lover of souls, you willingly bore heavy crosses in faithful imitation of Jesus. Similarly, with Christlike compassion, you cured many sufferers. Then after undergoing horrible tortures you died as a martyr for Christ. Obtain a cure for these (name them here) ills if this is agreeable to God.

Amen

 

vela-c2.gif (2466 bytes) Lord, hear Your people through the intercession of Saint Blase. Help us to enjoy peace in this life and find refuge in the next.  

Amen