St. Blasius of “Die Vierzehn Nothelfer”
There are events in life which everyone encounters that break from the normal everyday happenings and routine which years later can bring up that sense of nostalgia or just a simple fondness for that experience. The church year has it’s highlights too. Of course all the big holidays go without saying, but some of the less known also come to mind. One of which is the Blessing of Throats on the Feast Day of St. Blaise (St. Blasius) which is on Feb 3rd. Two candles are blessed and held crossing each other and placed by the minister onto the neck and a prayer said: “Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo “, which translates as :”May God at the intercession of St. Blasius preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil“.
St. Blaise is also one of “Die Vierzehn Nothelfer” or The Fourteen Holy Helpers, the first to find his feast in the calendar year and second in the liturgical year. These are fourteen Saints whose intercession was believed to help with disease and illness. The traditions that surround St. Blaise tell of him healing a child who had a fishbone caught in his throat. (Beating Henry Heimlich by almost 1600 years!)
Other stories tell of Blasius helping and curing animals and that he was also a physician. It is believed he was martyred in the year 316 in the month of February by beheading.
As mentioned candles play an important part in the Blessing, which may be related to Candlemas which is held the day before on Feb 2nd, and they are probably what most people think of when they recall St. Blaise.