Saint Blaise: Dubrovnik’s Guardian

All throughout the beautiful Old Town of Dubrovnik visitors will find references to Saint Blaise, whether in statue form, art, or at the large church at the top of the Stradun. St. Blaise is the city’s patron saint and guardian whose feast day is marked with many celebrations and events in Dubrovnik.

Today’s celebration of the feast day of St.Blaise  has its roots in ancient legend according to which Saint Blaise , Bishop and martyr of Sebaste , saved Dubrovnik from the Venetians . According to historical records, at the end of the 14th century a Venetian fleet on its way to Levant, anchored in front of the island of  Lokrum and Gruz. Locals in  Dubrovnik  welcomed them with open arms not knowing their true intentions – conquering the city. One night, Saint Blaise appeared to a  priest named Stojko of the the then Church of St. Stephen, and warned him that the Venetians wanted to take Dubrovnik. As described by Serafin Razzi, the grey-haired Bishop Blaise, who  was accompanied by armed military, said that he was sent from heaven to protect the city from the Venetians, who that night had secretly come to the city walls in order to jump over and begin their attack. According to the vision, Saint Blaise with the help of the heavenly army, threw the Venetians from the walls of Dubrovnik. Historical records date this event back to 971 A.D, as do most historians. According to Ivica Prlender,  Dubrovnik selected St.Blaise for their patron saint between the mid 10th century and 1190. His feast day is celebrated on February 3rd each year with a large procession through the Old Town.