March 31, 2017

Saint Blaise of Amorion (+ 909/12)

St. Blaise of Amorion (Feast Day - March 31)


Blaise sprouted forth the virtues as fruits,
Now he gathers them in the heavens with the Angels.

Saint Blaise (Blasios, Vlasios) was from the village of Aplatiane in Amorion (Amorium) of Asia Minor, and his name in the world was Basil. At the beginning of the ninth century he left his homeland and went to Constantinople, where he was ordained a Deacon by Patriarch Ignatios (Oct. 23) and served in Hagia Sophia with his brother who was a Priest.

At some point after 872 Blaise traveled from Constantinople to Rome via Bulgaria, where he was sold into slavery by his wicked companion. Blaise's owner was a Bulgarian nobleman, who released him, hoping that he would remain and guide him in leading a Christian life. Instead, Blaise boarded a boat and traveled up the Danube, but was captured by pirates in the Iron Gates region. His captors thought he was a merchant transporting goods upstream. Blaise was abandoned by his captors in the middle of the wilderness, but miraculously managed to find his way back into Bulgaria, where he met a bishop going to Rome on pilgrimage, in the company of whom he eventually reached his final destination.

Saint Blaise lived in Rome for eighteen years, was ordained a Priest, and lived a wondrous life at the Monastery of Saint Caesarius performing miracles and having two visions of the Theotokos. Having become famous for his piety, he returned to Constantinople to escape his growing reputation and settled at Stoudios Monastery for four years, where he became associated with Emperor Leo VI the Wise and Patriarch Anthony II Kauleas (Feb. 12).

At around 896 Blaise went to Mount Athos with some of his disciples and he established a small monastery. Leaving one of his disciples as a successor to oversee the brotherhood, he withdrew by himself to the most secluded parts of the Holy Mountain where he devoted all his time to asceticism and prayer, without worrying about food or wild animals. He fed himself on the vegetation of the land, and wild animals approached him with reverence. Often in his outdoor liturgies he was attended by the angels, and the shepherds in attendance were amazed by the heavenly melodies.

After twelve years of ascetic struggle on the Holy Mountain, he returned to Stoudios Monastery, for his absence troubled the people. Following a high fever he foresaw his end and liturgized for the last time. Then he delivered his holy soul to his Creator, either in 909 or 912. He was honorably buried in the Chapel of Saint George at Stoudios Monastery.

The biography of Saint Blaise was written around 940 by a Studite monk named Luke, who was his disciple