Today the Church remembers the life and witness of Saint Blaise, a 3rd century Armenian bishop who endured terrifying torments and surrendered his life rather than repudiate his profession of Faith.
Much of the life of Saint Blaise is history that has passed into legend, but even these legendary accounts offer spiritual insight.
It is said that Blaise was renowned as a wonderworker, effecting miraculous cures. This would have been enough to attract attention, but he was also not averse to calling out the Roman officials who ruled the region in which he lived, Cappadocia, for their tyranny and intolerance of Christian faith and practice. The combination of a reputation for supernatural power and the courage of his convictions was not welcomed by Rome and the governor ordered Bishop Blaise to be arrested.
There is an account of Saint Blaise that identifies not only his pastoral care for the Christian faithful, but also for the animals of the wilderness.
It seems that a woman had witnessed her piglet carried off by a wolf and spoke of her plight to the bishop. Saint Blaise called for the wolf, demanded her return the piglet to its rightful owner, and reminded the wolf of the grave penalty that awaited a thief. The wolf complied and returned the piglet to its owner- a credit to the bishop’s power of persuasion. The woman would later return the favor to Saint Blaise when he was finally captured and imprisoned. She brought to him candles to illuminate his dank and dreary cell.