Saint Blaise: Saint of the Wild Beasts

By Monique Sammut | February 3, 2018
A Life Lived Well

The Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Blaise on February 3.  There is very little known about him, but according to legend he was a good and hard-working bishop.  It is thought that he was a doctor who took care of his people not only spiritually but physically.  The earliest mention of the Saint comes in the form of medical records.  They say he helped patients suffering from various throat ailments, including those who had objects stuck in their throats.

Bishop Blaise eventually went to live in a cave as a hermit, befriending the wild animals.  While he was living in the cave, many people came to him looking for healing.  One day, some hunters were looking for wild animals to take to the amphitheater and they found the bishop praying in a cave, surrounded by peaceful wolves, lions, and bears.  After his death, he became known as “the saint of the wild beast.”

Legends and Martyrdom

Legend says that as the hunters took Bishop Blaise to prison, a mother brought to him her son who was choking on a fish bone.  At the bishop’s command, the boy was able to cough up the bone!

Another story says that as Bishop Blaise was being taken to prison, he met an old woman whose pig had been stolen by a wolf.  When ordered by the bishop, the wolf returned the pig to the woman – alive!  While the bishop was in jail, it is believed that the same woman brought him two wax candles to light the darkness of his cell.

The governor tried to force the holy bishop to abandon Christianity and worship the pagan idols.  After refusing many times, and after being tortured in various ways, he was beheaded in the year 316.

Saint Blaise is remembered as the patron Saint of wild animals and those who have throat ailments.  He is often portrayed holding two crossed candles in his hand or in a cave with wild animals.

Blessing of Throats

The little that is known about Saint Blaise draws a connection between the saint and throat diseases.  That is why, every year on (or around) his feast day, most parishes celebrate the Feast with a special blessing of throats involving two crossed candles, that the celebrant or other minister touches to the throat of every person while saying,

“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Do not be afraid to ask Saint Blaise for his intercession!  He will help you!

Saint Blaise, pray for us!