Blessing of the Throats

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Candles crossed in a special candelabrum used to bless throats.

The Blessing of the Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise of Sebaste. It also celebrated in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is observed as well in parishes of the Anglican Communion on the same day as a commemoration.

The Order of the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise can be found on Chapter 51 of the Book of Blessings (de Benedictionibus).

Background[edit]

Article 1625 from The Book of Blessings contains a brief historical background of the blessing of throats:

Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during the journey to take Blaise to prison when he placed his hand on the boy's head and prayed; another that the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison when he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy's throat.

The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles that Blaise used while in prison. When an old woman's pig had been miraculously rescued from a wolf by Saint Blaise, she would visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.

Ritual[edit]

Articles 1626 and 1627 explains when and how the blessing takes place:

The candles may be joined together by a red ribbon, the color of martyrdom. Although is the general custom to touch the throat with the candles, it is not required, especially if the candles are lit. The candles may be held over the person.

The following blessing is said:

The priest or deacon makes the sign of the cross over the recipient as the blessing is said. If necessary, laypersons are permitted to give the blessing of the throats, but are not allowed to make the sign of the cross.

The ordinary Anglican (Episcopal) version of this prayer is:

The older Rituale Romanum, used in the Extraordinary Form, contains a blessing of the candles:

Variations and Customs[edit]

In Germany and in other places, the blessing of throats is given with lighted candles.[1]

In the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome, which is dedicated to St. Blaise as co-patron, the blessing is given with a relic of Saint Blaise, in a crystal placed on a large ring,[2] pressed against the throat.[3]

In certain Hispanic countries (e.g., Spain and Mexico), a ribbon is given to be worn around the neck for the nine days following the blessing.

In the Armenian Catholic Church, the neck is anointed with oil on a cotton swab[4] or on a candle.[5] The blessing of throats does not appear to be practiced in the Armenian Apostolic Church.

A Ukrainian Greek Catholic ritual of the blessing of the throats also exists.[6]

Bread, wine, water and fruit for the relief of throat ailments are also blessed on this day.

External links[edit]

References[edit]