Sourb Barsegh, Agios Vlasios, Saint Bialgio, Saint Blase, Saint Blasius, San Blas
Date of Birth:
3rd century A.D.
Date of Death:
His miracles and acts of kindness were widespread throughout the whole of Europe. From Armenia to Croatia and Great Britain, the legend left by Saint Blaise is everlasting.
It is said that Saint Blaise had the ability to communicate with animals.
Saint Blaise was a physician, and bishop of Sebastea (modern Sivas, Turkey). According to his Acta Sanctorum, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded. He is known as San Biagio in Italy, San Blas in Spain and São Brás in Portugal.
In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, steel combs. He blessed throats and effected many miracles, according to his hagiography. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as the patron saint of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general. He may also be depicted with crossed candles. Such crossed candles are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of Blaise, which falls on 3 February, the day after Candlemas on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Blaise is traditionally believed to intercede in cases of throat illnesses, especially for fish-bones stuck in the throat.
Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, a court physician of the very end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century; there his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cave. Before being killed, he spoke to a wolf and told it to release a pig it was harming. The wolf did so. Saint Blaise was going to be starved but the owner of the pig secretly gave him food in order to survive. After a while, he was tortured because of his Christian faith but did not give up his beliefs. He died in the year AD 316.
Marco Polo reported the place where "Meeser Saint Blaise obtained the glorious crown of martyrdom", Sevasta (now Sivas, Turkey); the shrine near the citadel mount was mentioned by William of Rubruck in 1253. However it appears to no longer exist, neither does the nearby St Blaise church.
In the Orthodox Church of Greece the bishopric of Naupactus is held with that of St. Blaise.