“St. Blaise, can you hear us?” – “Oh, no I think he’s got his Zoom microphone on mute again.”
Yes, we are once again on the verge of one of the most important dates on the city’s calendar. A day that would traditionally see the stone streets packed, looking like an August day with half a dozen cruise ships in town. Banners twirling, bright costumes shining proudly, muskets blasting and doves being released into the February sky. The day of the patron saint of Dubrovnik is right up there with Christmas and New Year, if not on the top of the list. But this year isn’t a normal year. Circumstances have changed.
Now as most of you should know St. Blaise was actually Armenian, although if he had been born a few thousand years later he would have been Turkish. As Sebasteia, or Sivas, as his birth place is now known, has changed hands now times than I have changed socks.
And let’s imagine that St. Blaise wasn’t born 300 years before the birth of Christ, but that he was part of the modern society. Well firstly he wouldn’t even be able to travel from Armenia, sorry Turkey, as he’d have the problem of Covid-19 and the travel ban. Even if he could find an airline that would fly.
And then would he be on the list for vaccines, does he fall into a high-risk category?
So the Venetians waiting in their ships to attack Dubrovnik would have succeeded without the help of St. Blaise raising the alarm the night before.
But wait the Venetians wouldn’t have been able to travel by boat as they’d find it impossible to social distance. Just as the port of Dubrovnik is empty of cruise ships, they’d find it impossible to sail here. And even if they did somehow manage to travel they’d have to be in self-isolation, rather than attacking.
If be some miraculous stroke of luck St. Blaise managed to jump on a Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, he would also be in self-isolation rather than alerting priest Stojko of the imminent Venetian attack.
And then he’d have the problem of making Stojko hear him as he’d be wearing a mask! So he’d be on a Zoom call to Stojko instead. And we all know the fun and embarrassment we’ve had on Zoom over the past year.
“St. Blaise can you turn on your camera please, we can’t see you,” would yell Stojko. Of course, this is also presuming that St. Blaise has good internet connection. “OK, we can see you now St. Blaise but you’ve muted yourself again, and you might want to delete the funny filter.” – “Stojko, the Venetians are….(buffering)….so be prepared…(buffering)” would answer the saint. “The Venetians are WHAT! Try and get a better signal you’re breaking up St. Blaise, are you with Tele2?” – “The Venetians will….(buffering)…tonight, so be ready…(buffering.)” – “Oh, this is hopeless, have you got Viber in Turkey? And take your mask off, that might help,” would answer an ever more frustrated Stojko.
I’m still positive that our virtual St. Blaise would find of way a warning us. Maybe he’d send his message with Amazon Prime!
On the bright side it a good bit of luck that we discovered the virus before the St. Blaise procession and not after it. Can you imagine the super-spreader event that that day would have been if we didn’t know? I really don’t want to think about the procession and the relics of St. Blaise being touched and kissed by hundreds of people. Not to mention the blessing of the throat!
So thankfully we’ve avoided that nightmare scenario and St. Blaise will be virtual this year. A digital procession. At least, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ll be able to watch. Although I still have a suspicion that quite a few people will actually arrive on the Stradun next week. Let’s at least hope they are wearing masks and are keeping socially distanced. Because otherwise they might need more than even St. Blaise’s help!
Long Live St. Blaise!
Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to