The Feast of St. Blaise

St. Blaise was, so far as is known, a bishop in Armenia who was martyred in the early fourth century. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, St. Blaise (or Blasius)

was taken prisoner at the command of the governor, Agricolaus. The hunters of the governor found him [Blaise] 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 St. Blasius was beheaded….In many places on the day of his feast the blessing of St. 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 S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo” (May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil).

While having his throat blessed each year as a kid, NewMexiKen often wondered why Blaise — if he was the protector of throats — didn’t save his own throat from the ax.