Thursday, February 3, 2011

St Blaise and the Goldfish Bowl?

Mary came out of school all excited, "I got my throat blessed". As we walked to the car she told me about St Blaise. He was a kind and helpful doctor, who saved a child who nearly died because it had a goldfish bowl stuck in its throat! I said " you mean, a fish bone?", she insisted, " no a bowl", and with a puzzled look on her face she says, "but I don't know how St Blaise got the bowl out?" Now for a more reliable source. 
The Acts of St. Blaise, written in Greek, are medieval. The legend is given by E.-H. Vollet, in the Grande Encyclop├ędie as follows:

Blaise, who had studied philosophy in his youth, was a doctor in Sebaste in Armenia, the city of his birth, who exercised his art with miraculous ability, good-will, and piety. When the bishop of the city died, he was chosen to succeed him, with the acclamation of all the people. His holiness was manifest through many miracles: from all around, people came to him to find cures for their spirit and their body; even wild animals came in herds to receive his blessing. In 316, Agricola, the governor of Cappadocia and of Lesser Armenia, having arrived in Sebastia at the order of the emperor Licinius to kill the Christians, arrested the bishop. As he was being led to prison, a mother set her only son, choking to death of a fish-bone, at his feet, and the child was cured straight away. Regardless, the governor, unable to make Blaise renounce his faith, beat him with a stick, ripped his flesh with iron combs, and beheaded him.

The formula for the blessing of throats

Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr,
may God free you from illness of the throat and from any
other sort of ill. In the name of the Father,
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

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