News > European Armenians > Bishop Nareg Alemezian participates in Saint Blaise day celebrations in Croatia
The representative of His Holiness Aram I Bishop Nareg Alemezian in Dubrovnik, Croatia
During 1-7 February 2010, His Grace Bishop Nareg Alemezian, Director of Ecumenical Relations, represented His Holiness Aram I at the annual celebrations of Saint Blaise, the Patron Saint of Dubrovnik (Croatia), upon the invitation of Bishiop Gerlimir Poulic of Dubrovnik.
During the opening ceremony, Bishop Nareg read the message of His Holiness Aram. In his message the Catholicos said that St. Blaise was a popular saint specially of healing. The message then reminded the people that their Patron Saint had come to Croatia from Cilicia, and since then ties between the two churches and the people had remained strong. The message ended with the wish that the faith of the martyr Saint protected city always.
Bishop Nareg participated in the entire spiritual and cultural events organized around the relics of the Saint, as well as held private meetings with the Mayor of the City, Bishop Gerlimir, the members of the religious orders of the Franciscan and Dominican Orders for men and women. He also attended the concert organized by the Croato-Armenian Friendship Committee honoring Aram Khatchadourian.
In his interviews with the media, Bishop Nareg spoke of the significance of his presence as a representative of the Armenian Church. His presence he said, would renew the ties between the two peoples. He mentioned that he was not coming from Cilicia but from Lebanon, where the Catholicossate had found refuge after the Armenian Genocide.
Source: Website of the Catholicosate of Cilicia
07 February 2010
Photos: 1) With the Mayor of Dubrovnik Bishop Gerlimir
2) During the Sveti Vlaho Procession
Saint Blaise (Armenian: Սուրբ Բարսեղ, Sourb Barsegh) [from Wikipedia]
Saint Blaise was a physician, and bishop of Sebastea, Armenia (modern Sivas, Turkey). According to his Acta Sanctorum, he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded. He is known as San Biagio in Italy, and San Blas in Spain.
In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, iron combs. He blessed throats and effected many miracles, according to his hagiography. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as the patron saint of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general. He may also be depicted with crossed candles. Such crossed candles are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of Blaise, which falls on 3 February, the day after Candlemas on the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Blaise is traditionally believed to intercede in cases of throat illnesses, especially for fish-bones stuck in the throat.
Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aėtius Amidenus, a court physician of the very end of the 5th or the beginning of the 6th century; there his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cave. Before being killed, he spoke to a wolf and told it to release a pig it was harming. The wolf did so. Saint Blaise was going to be starved but the owner of the pig secretly gave him food in order to survive. After a while, he was tortured because of what he believed in but did not give up faith. He died in the year 316.
The tomb of Saint Blaise was recorded to be extant in Sivas, Turkey until fairly recent times (in Yule's account of Marco Polo's travels), and was recorded as being near the citadel mount. However it appears to no longer exist, neither does the nearby St Blaise church.
His cult became widespread in Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. St. Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers or Auxiliary Saints and his legend is recounted in the fourteenth-century Legenda Aurea. Saint Blaise is the saint of the wild beast.
He is the patron of the Armenian Order of Saint Blaise. In Italy he is known as San Biagio. In Spanish-speaking countries, he is known as San Blas, and has lent his name to many places (see San Blas). In Italy, Saint Blaise's remains rest at the Basilica over the town of Maratea, shipwrecked there during Leo III the Isaurian's iconoclastic persecutions. Many German churches, including the former Abbey of St. Blasius in the Black Forest and the church of Balve are dedicated to Saint Blaise/Blasius.