St. Blaise (February 3)
Bishop and martyr - There is no accurate historical evidence about St. Blaise's life. He was born into a wealthy family and received a Christian education, and was martyred during the persecution of Licinius by Agricolaus, governor of Cappadocia and Lower Armenia, in 316. According to tradition, Blaise retreated to a cave and became a hermit during the persecution of Licinius. While there, he befriended wild animals and cared for them when they were wounded or sick. One day, hunters found Blaise in the woods surrounded by wild animals. They captured him with the intention of putting him in prison. On the way to Sebaste, Blaise encountered a woman whose little boy was choking to death on a fish bone. Blaise healed him and the blessing of throats on this day derives from that story. The prayer used for the blessing of throats: Through the intercession of St. Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver us from all evils of the throat and from every other evil. AMEN.