Random thoughts from Pencefn

…. an engineer, singer and photographer living in Scotland

St Blaise – Patron Saint of Sore Throats and Knitting – 3 February 2013

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3 February, the day after Candlemas, is the feast day of St Blaise, the patron saint of Sore Throats and Knitting. He lived around the turn of the fourth century in what is now Turkey.

Candlemas having been celebrated at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral on the appointed day (2 February) with a Choral Mass, the Provost and Vice-Provost kept St Blaise Day (3 February) by giving blessings of the throat with crossed candles to members of the congregation as they left morning service.

The Provost giving a blessing to the throat.

The Provost giving a blessing to the throat.
3 February 2013

St Blaise had an interesting life and legacy as detailed in the book by Rev Richard ColesLives of the Improbable Saints, summarised below.

He was a healer, although is possible that he was a vet. The fifth century physician Aëtius Amidenus praised the therapies of Blaise. Living in a cave, poorly animals flocked to see him whom he cured.

He was martyred when torn to pieces with iron combs used by wool workers, which is why he is the Patron Saint of Knitting.

As his feast follows Candlemas, the custom of using candles in the shape of cross to bless the throats of the faithful emerged as a safeguard against sore throats or choking on fish bones.

If you ever are in Devon, why not visit the church dedicated to St Blaise in the village of Haccombe near Newton Abbot. The vicar enjoys the title of Archpriest, the only such example in the Church of England.

Author: Stewart

An instrumentation engineer who enjoys photography and singing. Working in the West of Scotland; a member of St Mary's Cathedral Glasgow and Southwark Cathedral; and a volunteer guard/signalman on the Ffestiniog Railway in North Wales.

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