Sant Blai is part of the large group of saints and martyrs that had a wide spread during the first centuries of the Christian era, after the great persecutions. Especially from the 4th century, and after the Edict of Thessalonica issued by Emperor Theodosius in 341. For example, one of the first consequences of the saint’s martyrdom was the conversion to Christianity of the Armenian people, already in the 4th century, who have remained faithful to Christianity to the present day.
The worship to Sant Blai spread quickly, many churches and hermitages venerating our saint arose during the centuries of the Early Middle Ages, in different regions and kingdoms of Western Europe. This saint from the East synthesized perfectly Christianity with the pagan ideas of many ethnic groups at that time in Europe. Its protective and miraculous character testify to it.
He was attributed protective properties, ensuring good harvests, and some related to pagan fertility rites, or the protection of cattle and people from the inclement weather or war, but above all, against diseases.
Maybe one of the most singular cases related to the dissemination of the worship to Sant Blai is that of the Italian city of Maratea, where the relics of the saint, which arrived to the city after a legendary journey by sea in 730, were kept in a church built over the ruins of a pagan temple; or the Croatian city of Dubrovnik, devoted to Sant Blai since 972, when according to tradition they were saved from destruction by the Venetians thanks to the intercession of the saint, and since then he has been the patron saint of the city.
We must bear in mind that at this time the possession of a relic provided a special force against adversaries, almost supernatural, and there was a real obsession to achieve them. During the time of the Crusades, Christians distributed relics of all kinds throughout the Christian territories, and one of the goals of the Crusades was to save the sacred places and their relics from the infidels. These relics helped to present the sacred to the people in a visual way, in a time when liturgy was not clearly understood by most people, far less in rural contexts.
Between the 11th and 14th centuries, there was another expansion of the worship to saints and their relics, especially martyrs, favoured by various causes, such as the crusader spirit against Islam in the high medieval era (1st Crusade of Pope Urban II in 1095).