St. Blasius (Vlaho – Croatian, also Blaz in Dubrovnik) has been revered in Dubrovnik as the patron saint for a long time.
According to a legend in 971, on the night of 2nd to 3rd February Venetian ships anchored in front of Dubrovnik under pretense of taking up water and provision before proceeding further east.
A priest named Stojko walked up to the church of St Stephen (Stjepan - Croatian) on Pustijerna (a part of the City) that night. He found that the doors of the church had been left wide open.
In the church he stumbled upon a gray old man with a battalion of heavenly forces. The old man told him to warn the City council that the Venetians are planning to attack the City, and that he was pushing them away of the City for several nights now. When Stojko asked him who he was, the old man replied that he was Vlaho (Blasius).
Later Stojko had alarmed the City of the Venetian threat and as the Venetians saw that the doors of the City had been closed and that the walls were manned, they heaved up their anchors and abandoned their plans of the surprise attack on the City.
Since that day St. Blasius became the patron saint of Dubrovnik.
Through the centuries St Blasius presented an inspiration to the large number of artists who painted and sculptured his image. Hundreds of statues of St. Blasius can be found throughout the City.
On every corner of Dubrovnik City walls you will notice a statue of St. Blasius, embedded in the walls, watchfully starring to the distance anticipating hostile intents, protecting the City on his watch.
Since 972 a celebration in the honour of St. Blasius is held in the City.
This tradition is still alive today as every February the 3rd Dubrovnik welcomes thousands of visitors to participate in the celebration of the patron day in the Festival od St. Blasius.