Iași, Romania, October 14, 2021
The feast of St. Parascheva in Iași gathered 18 hierarchs and tens of thousands of Orthodox faithful from across Romania who came to venerate her relics this year.
Among the concelebrating bishops was His Grace Bishop Qais (Sadiq) of Erzurum of the Patriarchate of Antioch, reports the Archdiocese of Iași.
St. Parascheva’s relics have resided in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Constantinople, and she is greatly loved throughout the Balkans and the entire Orthodox world, but they have remained in the cathedral in Iași, working countless miracles, since 1641.
As of last night, more than 50,000 pilgrims had come since Friday to venerate the precious remains of one of the nation’s most beloved saints. St. Parascheva’s relics were placed with those of St. Gheorge the Pilgrim, brought from Văratec Monastery, in the courtyard of the Metropolitan Cathedral.
In his homily for the feast today, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurenţiu of Transylvania praised St. Parascheva as “a divine one whom God sent to our country to protect us, to be our guardian and strength in these difficult moments.”
“God doesn’t save us by force. God leaves us the freedom to choose, to be rewarded, but also to be held accountable if we haven’t fulfilled our duty. Self-denial is the first step in this program of following Christ, and we have as an example St. Parascheva, who gave up all that this world could offer her, gave the wealth of the poor to get rich in Heaven, and then gave up, by strong asceticism, even that which was permissible for her body,” His Eminence preached.
In 2019, a record of more than 90,000 pilgrims had arrived to venerate St. Parascheva by the night before her feast, though festivities were unfortunately canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.