Watch Father Pimen Vlad who tells us briefly but with much grace the life of St. Paraskeva, also making spiritual comments alongside it.
Behold, my dear ones that we see each other again!
I’m going to try briefly to tell you a few things, although I know you already know… but I’ll remind you again. About Pious Parascheva from Iasi. Look, our pious Parascheva, the protector of Moldavia and all Romania. I also told you last year, if you are going to search for the filming a year ago, about Pious Paraskeva, about some, so to speak, wonders of Pious Paraskeva. And now I’m going to try it like this, in a few spots, because it’s her celebration day now, soon, to say a little bit of her life. For those who may not have read it and do not know who is Pious Paraskeva:
She was born in Epivata, somewhere near Constantinople, in an area. It is said that she had quite wealthy parents, that is, rich. And she got a chosen education. Raised beautifully, in faith, in respect. And she had another brother, who loved teaching. So, he went a little bit over to the schools, so and so he grew up well, he took the path of monasticism. And later he became a bishop. So also with holy life, the brother of Pious Paraskevi. Entering monachism he received the name of Eftimie, yes! Pious Eftimie, brother of Pious Parascheva.
And Pious Paraskeva, from a young age, went to church, prayed, was merciful. And it says, that one time when she went to church and heard the gospel there, speaking so beautifully, as it says of the denial of all worldly things; after leaving the church she met a poor girl and exchanged clothes for her own. Her beautiful clothes, as it were, well, dressed from a good family, gave them to that little girl and took away her shabby clothes. And the parents asked her:
– Where are your clothes?
– Well, I gave them. Even though they were also believers, yet:
– Girl, don’t do that anymore, yet you are… You’re not one of the poor.
They scolded her a bit. But the next Sunday, the same, and whenever the occasion she had, she would change her clothes with the poor little girls. She changed them and dressed her in the poor clothes. I mean, she always cultivated mercy, that love for the poorer. And she would go to church with love. As a young woman, she was kindled like this, we can say, this love for God, for everything related to eternal life.
And then, after growing up a little bit, somehow her parents shared the fortune with her and her brother, like well, had quite a lot. What did she do with her fortune? She gave it all to the poor. And only with a few necessary things she went to Constantinople. She went, it was around 1100, around the eleventh century, that in that period she lived. She went to Constantinople and worshiped there, at all the monasteries, she stayed in a monastery a little bit there, she strained a bit. That is, with all the love. But she wanted a life more than that. Because, at that time, Constantinople was famous, it was the capital of Byzantium. She wanted something more, more hermitage.
She went there at the very age of 20, went to Jerusalem, to the holy places. And she went there, worshiped at all the holy places, prayed and retired somewhere to a monastery of nuns near the Jordan. And there began neediness and obedience: 5 years of toil day by day, night by night. Prayer, obedience, humility. Tried everything related to the monk’s life, everything possible. That is, she gave herself totally to God. And at the age of 25, she had a discovery: she was shown an angel and said it was time to return to her homeland, to leave her body there. And then she went back, back to Constantinople. She came to Constantinople and of course, she went to the monasteries there, of the Mother of God to worship and stayed a little at the monastery in Vlaherne of the Mother of God. At the covering of the Mother of God. She stayed there for a while and prayed, calmed down and then set off for Epivata. To her birthplace.
She came as a poor woman and as a stranger, there. And she toiled a little bit of it there, she was being watched by everybody, nobody knew her anymore, she didn’t even say who she was, like a stranger and like a poor woman! In prayer, in humility and she toiled a time there we cannot say long period, about a year. And the time came, even though she was young, to leave this world. And she leaned on the Lord. She was buried too, like any stranger, poor, as they say. A small place in the cemetery. A more secluded place like that, like a poor woman. They buried her where the poor were buried.
After a while, a shipwreck happened on a ship, something, a shipherder died on the ship. And the ships threw him into the sea, as was the custom. They used to stay on the sea for a long time; and lest it rot in the ship… At some point, the sea brought him to dry land. His body stayed there for a while – it smelled. It was already stinking, as they say. And then those who found him there took him and buried him as close as possible.
And where did they find it at that place that was more like this, further away? Where also was buried Pious Parascheva! They didn’t even know about her grave. And when they dug the hole, they came across her whole body. But those who buried the sailor did not know much so, let’s say of God and they put the body of the sailor next to her body. So, the one who dug and buried, his name was George. At night, he saw an empress, beautiful, so young, on a royal chair, in great glory.
An angel came to him and said:
– God glorified Pious Paraskevi. Do you see her in what glory she is here in heaven? Why did you bury the evil-smelling body of the man who led an unclean life. He was not close to God and his body smelled next to the holy relics of the Pious. That have good scent, that has the whole body. That toiled. Go quickly to dig up her relics from there!
Now, the first day, the man did not heed. The dream repeated a second time. And at the same time also appeared to a godly woman. And it’s been repeated three times. And to that godly woman and he told her. Talking to Gheorghe this, he says:
– Man! It was shown to me too that way. She said to go and speak to the bishop. And then he went, talked to the bishop, went and dug, they found her whole body, beautifully smelling and so on, with fragrance. They dug it up with honor and a church was made somewhere there in her honor.
After that, her relics still wandered in the thousand places. There have been wars, there have been times on one side, when on the other. At one point they arrived in Târnova, where they stayed there for a longer period of 160 years. After that, again wars, again hardships, what the world was going through then and later they reached Constantinople. At the Patriarchate of Constantinople. And, well, it was at that time when the Turks had already occupied Constantinople, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was in a more difficult situation.
And then, Vasile Lupu was the ruler of Moldavia. One of the blessed rulers. We’ve had many before. People with a faith of God, which suffered for the country, for the people. They were making Churches. Sought to bring holy relics to protect the country. So they really cared about our country. Hearing the problems in Constantinople, having to do with the Patriarchate there, he helped them. To pay their debts to the Turks, which were very high – of hundreds of bags of gold coins! And he helped them, paid off their debts.
Then the Patriarch of that time:
” – What can I give instead?
–Well… what to give us?! Something spiritual, if possible. Holy relics.
– Look, we have the relics of St. Pious Paraskevi, if you want us to give them to you.
– How not to?? ”
Then he had to give again, again, hundreds of bags of gold coins, to the Turks, to allow them to transport the relics of Pious Paraskeva. That before, there was a law to the Turks: dead for more than 3 days was not allowed to be transported from one side to the other. Then they paid again, a lot of gold money, as they say to the Turks, to change this law the sultan and to be able to transport the relics of Pious Paraskeva to Moldova.
And that way, it was brought in. This is how God ordained, even with this Turkish suite, apart from the priests, the Christians who brought them. It was a Turkish suite, which would provide security, to pass well to us. Where Vasile Lupu met them with bishop, the metropolitan of that time brought his relics to us. This is how the pious Parascheva wanted to reach us, in Iasi, where we all have her protector.
Just this year when I arrived in the country, I arrived and stayed twice there at Pious, I arrived in the evening, I stayed nicely in line; that I always love. Even though many say to me, “Father, but you can go to the front.” No! I wait in a beautiful row, with everyone, because in that time while I’m standing in line, that there maybe 50, 100 people in front of you, or more, you have time to pray. I’m always looking to have that time. That it’s a quarter of an hour, that it’s half an hour, that it’s an hour, during that time until I get to the scrape I can talk to Pious.
You know, that there I can’t stay long, that there are so many people in the back, but until there, you have all the time to pray. To talk to the Pious, to thank the Pious, to ask for her help. And so I stayed in the evening, after that, the next morning I went again to Mass there. We stayed nicely at the Divine Liturgy. Of course I stood in line, I worshiped again. I enjoyed, as they say, the gift of Pious Paraskeva there. Of her mercy, of her prayers, yes! I always try when I get back in the country to get to the Pious, to thank her. That I’m not going into detail now. Those of you who want, look for the video from last year about Pious Paraskeva, about the miracles that she did in our here and at our church. Her gifts that send them here, that we have here with us and the garment with which her relics were dressed, from there. We also have a cushion from there from the Pious, from Iasi. So we have gifts from Pious Paraskeva.
And that’s why I’m no longer getting into the miracles she’s done with us here. Therefore, all of you who want to go – to go with love to Pious, she helps a lot. Many miracles are done there. She’s everyone’s protector. That’s why we can say it’s the biggest place of pilgrimage. There are also over 100,000 people going there to her celebration day, in those days, to worship, which is a lot of people. They go, they stand in line there. It doesn’t matter: even 10 hours even 15, people sit fondly and get strengthen also from the Pious to resist getting to the end, somehow to greet her on her celebration day. Therefore, which you can, go, with love so, to the Pious; that she will reward you the same way, with love!
Let us help the Mother of God and the pious Paraskevi and intercede for us at the good God forever.
God help! Amen!
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