Iași, Iași County, Romania, October 16, 2023
Every year, the extended pilgrimage in Iași, Romania, in honor of St. Paraskeva gathers thousands upon thousands of faithful pilgrims from throughout Romania and beyond, and this year was no exception.
As of Monday morning, the Basilica News Agency reported that since the start of the pilgrimage last Saturday, more than 364,000 pilgrims had venerated the relics of St. Paraskeva which were placed in a special canopy in the Metropolis courtyard.
According to Iasi TV Life, approximately 450,000 had “enjoyed all the events held at the Metropolis of Moldavia and Bucovina in the city of Iași.”
The relics of St. Paraskeva 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. OrthoChristian reported last week on one miracle that occurred during this year’s pilgrimage.
The faithful also had the opportunity to venerate a portion of the relics of St. Andrew the Crete, which were brought specifically for the pilgrimage by Metropolitan Andreas of Arkalochori, Kastelli, and Viannos of the Church of Crete (Patriarchate of Constantinople), who also presided over the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, October 14, for the feast of the beloved St. Paraskeva.
Joining Met. Andreas were 25 other hierarchs representing six Local Churches altogether.
In particular, joining Met. Andreas were Metropolitan Daniel of Askum, Exarch of Ethiopia (Patriarchate of Alexandria), Metropolitan Stefan of Chkondidi, Tsageri, and Lentekhi (Patriarchate of Georgia), His Grace Bishop Qais of Erzurum (Patriarchate of Antioch), Bishop Porphyrios of Neapolis (Church of Cyprus), and nearly two dozen Romanian hierarchs.
Watch the Divine Liturgy here:
Following the Gospel, a message from His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania was read, in which he explained why the people love St. Paraskeva:
The great piety of the righteous people towards Venerable Paraskeva is explained by the conviction and finding that she is “very useful,” as she is called in her Akathist. St. Paraskeva offers help through her prayers, to young and old, to virgins and mothers, to monasteries and families, to the sick and to the poor, gathering the clergy and the people in prayer and common confession, from Romania and other countries. Her power comes from her holiness and goodness, that is, from her love for God and for men.
And Met. Andreas from Crete emphasized that:
St. Andrew of Crete and St. Paraskeva of Epivat received the grace of the Holy Spirit because they spent their lives in prayer and became bearers of incessant prayer. Pure and unceasing prayer made them partakers of the Holy Mysteries of the glory of God. They became our saints, witnesses of the mysteries of the Orthodox Church and culture.
With enlightened minds and heart purified by passions, today, in Iași, Sts. Paraskeva and Andrew have become and remain recipients and transmitters of the mystery of the grace of the Holy Spirit, bearers of God and bearers of Christ, praying for the peace of the world that is currently being tried in Ukraine and the Middle East, but also for peace in the Orthodox Churches.
When we opened the reliquary of St. Andrew of Crete and took his holy relics to bring them to Iași, St. Andrew emanated, in the presence of the faithful, a Heavenly and indescribable fragrance. We believe that he expresses his joy at his earthly encounter with the incorrupt body of St. Paraskeva of Iași.
This morning, the relics of St. Paraskeva were placed back inside the Metropolitan Church in Iași.