According to tradition, Blaise had been a doctor before he was ordained a priest. He became the bishop of Sebaste (now in central Turkey). During a period of persecution, he fled to a cave where he lived as a hermit. It is said that he cured and tamed the wild animals there. One day hunters discovered him and took him to the governor, who sentenced him to be tortured and killed.
About four hundred years after his death, many stories began to be told about Blaise, and he became a popular saint, especially in France and Germany. One legend says that while Blaise was in prison, a mother brought him her small boy, who was choking on a fishbone stuck in his throat. Blaise prayed over the child, and he was healed. Every year on St. Blaise's feast, two candles tied with ribbon in the shape of an X are used to bless throats. In the prayer the Church prays that those blessed may be delivered from diseases of the throat and from every other illness.
Words used by the priest:
Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from all ailments of the throat and from every other evil: + in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.