(or Blasius Βλάσιος, Armenian: Սուրբ Բարսեղ) was a physician and bishop of Sebaste (modern Sivas), Armenia. According to his Acta he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded.
In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, iron combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as patron of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general. He may also be depicted with crossed candles. Such crossed candles (left unlighted for safety reasons) are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of St. Blaise, which falls on February 3, the day after Candlemas on the Kalendar, Blaise is traditionally believed to intercede in cases of throat illnesses, especially for fish-bones stuck in the throat. The blessing is: "Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo." (May God at the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil).
Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, the court physician of Justinian I, where his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cage. 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 what he believed in but did not give up faith, he then died in the year 316.
Propers for Blasius - Bishop and Martyr
O GOD, who didst make blessed Blasius, they Martyr and Bishop, strong to endure his own sufferings and to lighten the infirmities of other men: Mercifully grant that we may imitate his constancy of faith, and in danger may feel thy protection as he did; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.
I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.
The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.
BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
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