Blaise (Barsegh or Vlasy, died in 316 AD) of Sebastia was the bishop of the city of Sebastia in the Roman province of Cappadocia. His feast falls on February 11 in the Orthodox Church (according to the Julian calendar) and on February 3 in the Catholic Church. Blaise is among the saint martyrs of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
In Kievan Rus’, the first church dedicated to Saint Blaise was built by Prince Vladimir immediately after the Baptism of Rus’ on Podol. The church contained a particularly revered icon of the saint with a particle from his relics. The temple existed until the 16th century – now, in its place stands the Vvedenskaya Church, one of the thrones of which was consecrated in honor of Blaise of Sebastia.
In Moscow, the Church of Holy Martyr Blaise (Vlasy) was built in the Old Stables Sloboda on Arbat Street in the 17th century. In Yaroslavl, a church was consecrated in the name of Saint Blaise in 1714. This church would be later captured in a painting by Nicholas Roerich.
In the Catholic tradition, Saint Blaise is one of the fourteen holy helpers. According to tradition, he possessed the special grace of God in the healing of throat diseases and in the prevention of food choking. For the first time, these ideas were recorded in the 6th century in Byzantium.
Many cities and villages in Europe are named after Blaise. The name of the saint is also known in France, Italy, and the Slavic countries.
Read also: Sebastia – Ancient Capital of Lesser Armenia