Saint Blaise was a Third Century Armenian physician and bishop, living in what is present-day Turkey. He was known as a healer—both physically and spiritually. One story tells of a desperate mother whose child was choking on a fish bone. Knowing of his reputation for miracles, she prostrated herself before him and begged that he save her only child. Blaise prayed for the child who was subsequently saved. To this day, Saint Blaise is invoked against injuries to and diseases of the throat. On Saint Blaise’s Day, Christians may partake of a blessing of their throats. The priest will cross two tapered candles, place them at the supplicant’s neck, and invoke a blessing.
Saint Blaise was martyred in 316 AD. After being beaten and flayed with iron wool-carding combs, he was beheaded. His symbol in Christian iconography is a pair of tapered candles, usually crossed.