St Blaise

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Patron saint of sufferers from throat diseases. One of the 'Fourteen Holy Helpers' St Blaise is believed to have been a fourth century bishop of Sebaste in Armenia. He was martyred by beheading in around 316AD under the Emperor Licinius, after being tortured with a wool comb.

According to legends, during the persecutions he hid in a cave and blessed sick or wounded animals. One day a woman brought her son with a fishbone stuck in his throat and he cured him. When he was imprisoned, the same woman brought him candles and food.

From this comes the tradition of blessing throats on this day with two candles.

Relics of St Blaise were claimed by Canterbury and at least four miracles were recorded at his shrine there, one dated 1451. Parson Woodford described a solemn procession in honour of St Blaise in Norwich on 24 March 1783.

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