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03 Feb

Saint Blasius, the martyr bishop

Saint Blasius lived between the third and fourth centuries and was bishop of Sebastia in historical Armenia (i.e. the current city of Sibus, located in Turkey). He is considered one of the last victims of Roman persecution, as he was martyred by beheading around the year 316 AD. Christianity at that time was a legal religion under the rule of Emperor Constantine, so historians attribute his martyrdom to the conflict that took place between the Emperor of the East Licinius and the Emperor of the West Constantine. In the eighth century, some Armenian believers moved the relics of his body to the city of Maratea (present-day Potenza) in southern Italy, where a church was erected in his name. His veneration spread throughout the Middle Ages in the entire Church, due to his fame in performing miracles, among which was the fact that he saved a boy who was about to suffocate due to a haskah. From here it was customary to bless the throat on the day of his remembrance.