St. Blaise was bishop in the early years of the Church in Sebastea, Armenia. He was dedicated to encouraging the spiritual and physical health of his people.
The Edict of Toleration had granted freedom of worship throughout the Roman Empire, but Christians still faced severe persecution.
According to legend, a young boy got a fish bone lodged in his throat. His mother brought him to Blaise, who commanded him to cough up the bone.
Another legend tells that Blaise was being led to prison in Sebastea when he encountered a poor old woman, whose pig had been stolen by a wolf. Blaise commanded the wolf to return the pig, and it did, alive and unharmed.
In 316, Blaise was beheaded for refusing to sacrifice to the pagan gods. Nearly 400 years later, an account of his life was written.
For many decades, U.S. Catholics have sought an annual blessing from St. Blaise for their throats.