Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kindred Lore: Order of Saint Blaise

Originally the Order of St. Blaise was founded in Armenia in the 12th century and takes its name from Saint Blaise, patron of the kingdom. St. Blaise was a christian martyr (he died in 316 AD), and has been venerated as the patron of those who suffer from throat diseases (beginning in the 8th century). The order was divided into a religious branch, who were charged with the holy offices and missionary work among the unbelievers, and a military branch, who defended the country against the attacks of the Muslims. Following the teachings of St. Basil, the order rendered great services for the christian cause for about a century. The order disappeared when Armenia was conquered by the Turks.

In the 14th century, during the time of the Black Death, the Church established a group of 14 saints known as Fourteen Holy Helpers, one of them St. Blaise, in order to provide consolation for the general population. Blessing of the throat by using a pair of crossed candles for protection from throat diseases was introduced during this time, and it became common pratice to being blessed that way on St. Blaise's feast day, February 3rd.

A group of Sabbat vampires active in the Church at that time, found it rather ironic to use feed from those blessed by St. Blaise. These Kindred re-formed the Order of St. Blaise in order to gain influence in the Roman Catholic Church. They did this not only by manipulating Church officials and resources, but also by "good works" on community level. This was (and is) rather unusual, since the Sabbat is not known for providing support for Kine in general. So the Order of St. Blaise is opening soup kitchens and other charity organizations, which are well received by the general population. Especially in the cities which are prone to high crime rates and an ailing economy under Sabbat rule.

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