Saint Blaise Day: February 3rd

Many Polish traditions are based on the Catholic Church and the various Saints. For example, February 3rd is known as Saint Blaise Day or a Day of Feast. When doing research for my book I was fascinated to learn about these religious traditions.

St. Blaise, Polish heritage and culture

Polish Superstitions

People of Polish descent can be superstitious about many things and at the same time have strong religious beliefs. Blaise is known as the patron Saint of aliments of the throat. Before becoming a bishop, he was a physician possessed of wonderful healing power. There are churches throughout the world who celebrate this feast day by having a priest use candles to bless the throats of parishioners during mass. I learned the candles are grasped in an X-shape and held up to the throat of the person receiving the following blessing: “Through the intercession of St. 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.”

Saint Blaise the Healer

According to various searches on the internet, Saint Blaise was a Bishop in the Fourth Century who lived in Armenia (formally part of the Soviet republic). He worked hard to encourage the spiritual and physical health of his people despite the laws against Christianity. During 311 the Roman Empire legalized Christianity and gave people the right to practice their religious beliefs. However, persecution still raged in Armenia. Blaise was forced to flee to a remote area where he lived as a hermit in solitude and prayer. During this time, he made friends with the wild animals and healed their sickness.

One day a group of hunters seeking wild animals for arena games stumbled upon Blaise’s cave and saw the bishop kneeling in prayer surrounded by patiently waiting wolves, lions, and bears. At first, they were surprised and then frightened. They hauled Blaise off to prison for his religious practices.

Blaise Returns to Armenia

Soon people learned of Blaise’s return and while in prison a mother came with her young son who had a fish bone lodged in his throat. At Blaise’s command the child was able to cough up the bone. Even though Blaise did good for the people after his return he was not well liked by Agricola, governor of Cappadocia who despised Christianity. Blaise refused to give up his religious beliefs and was eventually tortured and beheaded. It wouldn’t be until some 300 years later when Catholics would celebrate the blessing of throats on St. Blaise Day.

An Inspirational Quote by St. Blaise

I found another inspirational quote by Saint Blaise which says: “Father of mercy and God of all consolation, graciously look upon me and impart to me the blessing which flows from this holy Sacrament. Overshadow me with Your loving kindness and let this divine Mystery bear fruit in me.”

What traditions do you participate in when it comes to the Saints? Do you have a favorite inspirational quote by a Saint? Send an email to ro**@ro***********.com and let me know!