Commemorated on February 11
Blaise (Blasios), Bishop of Sebasteia, was known for his righteous and
pious life. He was unanimously chosen by the people and ordained bishop of
Sebasteia. This occurred during the reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian
(284-305) and Licinius (307-324) – fierce persecutors of Christians. Saint
Blaise had to encourage his flock, visit the imprisoned, and give support to
Many hid themselves
away from the persecutors by going off into desolate and solitary places. Saint
Blaise likewise took the opportunity to hide himself away on Mount Argeos,
where he asceticised in a cave. Wild beasts came up to him and meekly waited until
the saint finished his prayer and gave them blessing; the saint likewise healed
sick animals by laying his hands upon them. The refuge of the saint was
discovered by servants of the governor Agricolaus, being in the area to snare
wild beasts to use to tear apart the Christian martyrs. The servants reported
to their master that Christians were hidden away on the mountain, and he gave
orders to arrest them. But those sent out found there only the Sebasteia
bishop. Glorifying God Who had summoned him to this exploit, Saint Blaise
followed the soldiers.
Along the way the
saint healed the sick and worked other miracles. Thus, a destitute widow
complained to him of her misfortune: a wolf had carried off her only possession
– a small pig. The bishop smiled and said to her: "Weep not, thine piglet
wilt be returned to thee...". And actually to the astonishment of
everyone, the wolf came running back and returned his booty unharmed.
the bishop with words of deceit, called him a companion of the gods. The saint
answered the greeting, but the gods he called devils. Then they gave him a
fierce beating and led him off to prison.
On the next day they
again subjected the saint to tortures. When they led him back to the prison,
seven women went along behind and gathered up the drops of blood. These they
arrested and tried to compel them to worship the idols. The women in pretending
to consent to this said, that they needed cleansing beforehand in the waters of
a lake. They took along the idols and submerged them in a very deep portion of
the lake, and after this the Christians were fiercely tortured. The saints
stoically endured the torments, strengthened by the grace of God, their bodies
were transformed and became white like snow, and together with the blood there
flowed what seemed like milk. One of the women had two young sons, who implored
their mother that she help them attain the Kingdom of Heaven and she entrusted
them into the care of Saint Blaise. The seven holy women were then beheaded.
Saint Blaise was
again brought before Agricolaus, and again he unflinchingly confessed his faith
in Christ. The governor gave orders to throw the martyr into a lake. The saint,
going down to the water, signed himself with the Sign of the Cross, and he went
about on it as though on dry land. Addressing the pagans standing about on
shore, he challenged them to come to him whilst calling on the help of their
gods. To this, 68 men of the governor's retinue made bold and entered the
water, and all immediately drowned. The saint, however, heeding the Angel that
had appeared to him, returned to shore.
Agricolaus was in a
rage over having lost his finest servants, and he gave orders to behead Saint
Blaise, and together with him the two boys entrusted to him, the sons of the
martyress. Before death, the priestmartyr prayed for all the whole world, and
especially for those honouring his memory. This occurred in about the year 316.
The relics of the PriestMartyr Blaise were carried off to the West during the
time of the Crusades, and portions of the relics are preserved in many of the
lands of Europe [and his memory traditionally honoured there on 3 February].
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.