The mobile app St Blaise & Dubrovnik is a project of the Dubrovnik Museums that provides visitors to the historical centre of Dubrovnik with a virtual survey of the historical, artistic and cultural inheritance that was handed down to the city thanks to the tradition of veneration of its Patron, as well as a virtual tour of Dubrovnik with the locations of the original heritage objects marked. It presents the whole of the available heritage devoted to the Dubrovnik celestial protector, whether it is to be found in museums, churches or public places.
Dubrovnik opted for its principal protector in the early centuries in which it established its own identity. The beginnings of the cult of St Blaise are to be found between the mid-10th century, to which the legend of his succour to the City during the Venetian siege can be dated, and the second half or end of the 12th century, when the first mentions of the Feast of St Blaise are to be found in the public documents. Dubrovnik chroniclers place the arrival of the saint’s relics in the city in the same period; the previous relics arrived in Europe from Armenia Minor, where at the turn of the 3rd and 4th centuries this martyr and bishop of Sebastia lived. After his cult had spread to the West, and then around the whole world, St Blaise became one of the most widely venerated of saints, numerous churches, monasteries and artworks being devoted to him. St Blaise relics are kept in many cities, including in Dubrovnik, in which there is one of his oldest and best-known shrines. Dubrovnik takes care of the saint’s most important relics, on which the early establishment of the cult was founded, serving state more than ecclesiastical purposes. St Blaise became the main symbol of Dubrovnik statehood and the strongest mark of its independence and collective identity, his feast its central state holiday. Since then the likeness of the bishop with his crosier and model of the city in his hand has been present in all forms of the life of the Dubrovnik milieu, and this fusion of City and Saint has lasted until the present day.
The thousand-year-long veneration of St Blaise in the city at the foot of Srđ Hill, which has kept up all its splendour and strength, led to the Feast being inscribed on UNESCO’s prestigious list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage in 2009.