Thursday, October 27, 2011

St. Parasceva

Joyous feast! Today we celebrate the memory of St. Parasceva, better known in much of the Balkans as Petka, who lived in the 11th century. The Saint was born to a Bulgarian family in Epibata, a Thracian town near Constantinople, and at an early age was inspired by her parents' righteous way of life to serve her Lord with her entire being.

After her parents' death St. Parasceva took up the monastic life, first in nearby Constantinople and then in the region of the Jordan, growing strong in the virtues and in prayer. Years after her arrival in the Holy Land an angel appeared to St. Parasceva and commanded her to return to her hometown, where she lived another two years before falling asleep and being buried in an unmarked grave.

Many years after St. Parasceva's repose the decaying body of a sailor washed up on the nearby shores of the Marmara and was buried on top of her grave, which had been forgotten by the inhabitants of her town. That night the Saint appeared to one of the grave-diggers and a pious townswoman in dreams, commanding them to remove her incorrupt relics from beneath the sailor's tomb.

Thereafter St. Paraceva's fragrant relics were enshrined and venerated by the faithful, first in Epibata and later in Trnovo, Belgrade, and Constantinople before coming to rest in Iasi, where they remain to this day and where the Saint is venerated as the protectress of Moldavia. More on St. Paraceva's life can be found here and here. May her blessing and prayers be with us all!

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