By Ian Wilson (Rated G)
Little is known about the life of the martyr St. Blaise, bishop of Sabaste. He lived during the reigns of emperors Diocletian and Linius. Some early sources say that he was a physician, though we cannot be certain. He was unanimously elected bishop of Sabaste, due to his reputation as a devout man of faith.
Though Christianity was legal on paper, the persecution of Christians was still ongoing in the Empire, and Blaise and many of his followers fled to the wilderness. There he lived in a cave on Mt. Argeos, where he befriended the wild beasts.
Eventually, some hunters came along, intending to capture some wild animals for the amphitheater, and discovered the Christians hiding in the caves. They reported back to Governor Agrilaus, who then ordered all the Christians arrested. Upon returning to the mountain, they found only St. Blaise, who voluntarily handed himself into their custody, rejoicing for the opportunity to suffer. On the way back to the city, the saint performed many signs and miracles, healing the sick and preaching the gospel.
Despite all of this, Agrilaus refused to convert and ordered Blaise to renounce his faith. Blaise not only refused, but mocked Agrilaus’ false gods. The governor became enraged and ordered Blaise beaten and imprisoned. The next day, Agrilaus ordered the bishop tossed in a lake to drown, but Blaise walked on the water as though it was dry land, daring Agrilaus’ men to do the same by the power of their gods. All of them drowned.
Enraged by the loss of his men, the governor had Bishop Blaise tortured and beheaded.
May we learn by Blaise’s example to hold to the strength of our convictions and endure this present suffering.