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St. Blaise



via Medieval Saints yahoo Group:

St. Blaise has achieved perennial popularity in both the East of his origin (he
was bishop of Sebastea in Armenia) and in the West. However, like many another
favored saint, we know little about his life.

His (undependable) medieval legend gives the following biography.

Blaise was a boy of high intelligence, so his parents gave him a good Catholic
education. He went on, then, to the priesthood. While still a young man, he
was chosen bishop of Sebastea, Armenia.

In 316, the Roman Emperor Licinius withdrew from his position of tolerating
Christians, and started again to persecute them. Blaise, counseled by God, went
into hiding in a woodland cave. There his only company was the wild animals;
but the gentle bishop soon made friends with them, healed their wounds, and
blessed them.

One day, however, some hunters invaded his wilderness in search of wild animals
that could be used in the stadiums to fight gladiators and devour Christians. 
They were surprised to find the bishop, and, of course, him and brought him back
for trial. On the trip, says the legend, the party came upon a poor woman whose
pig had been carried off by a wolf. Bishop Blaise commanded the robbing animal
to return the pig, and so he did, safe and sound. On arrival at the court, the
future martyr was imprisoned in a dark jail without food to eat or light to see
by. Out of gratitude, the woman whose pig he had restored managed to get him
food and provide him with candles. Another woman brought to the saint her
little boy, who had caught a fishbone in his throat and was on the point of
strangulation. Blaise miraculously got rid of the bone.

But Governor Agricolaus treated this merciful unmercifully. Before imprisoning
him, he had him scourged. In due time Emperor Licinius himself arrived, tried
to "convert" the bishop to paganism by tearing his body with iron wool-combs,
and finally sentencing him to beheading.

Blaise's subsequent popularity stemmed particularly from his repute as a miracle
worker. Three classes of devotees arose: those associated with wild animals;
professional wool-combers (with whose tools he had been tortured); and people
who wanted to heal or avoid a throat illness. In Germany, St. Blaise came to be
honored as one of the cluster of "handy" saints called the "Fourteen Holy
Helpers".


St. Blase has been extremely popular for centuries in both the Eastern and Western Churches and many cures were attributed to him, notably that of a child who was suffocating through a fish bone being caught in his throat. In 1222 the Council of Oxford prohibited servile labour in England on his feast. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He is invoked for all throat afflictions, and on his feast two candles are blessed with a prayer that God will free from all such afflictions and every ill all those who receive this blessing. —The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

It is customary in many places to bless the throats of the faithful with two candles tied together with a red ribbon to form a cross. The rite of the blessing of throats may take place before or after Mass.

The priest or deacon places the candles around the throat of whoever seeks the blessing, using the formula: "Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you free from every disease of the throat, and from every other disease. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. R. Amen." — Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year


Patronage: against wild beasts, animals, builders, carvers,
construction workers, coughs, Dalmatia, Dubrovnik, goiters, healthy
throats, stonecutters, throat diseases, veterinarians, whooping cough,
wool-combers, wool weavers; Guilds of Wool workers; 




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