St. Paraskeva (Petka) of Serbia
Commemorated on October 14
St. Paraskeva was born into a pious family during the eleventh century in the village of Epivato, between Silistra and Constantinople. Her older brother, Euthymius, became a monk and later was consecrated as Bishop of Matidia. While attending Divine Liturgy one day, the words of the Lord pierced Paraskeva’s heart like an arrow, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.” From that time, she began to distribute her clothing to the needy which caused much grief to her family.
Upon the death of her parents, Paraskeva was tonsured into monasticism at the age of fifteen. She withdrew to the Jordanian desert where she lived the ascetic life until she was twenty-five years old. An angel of the Lord ordered her to return to her homeland, so she lived in Epivato for two years.
St. Paraskeva departed to the Lord at the age of twenty-seven and was buried near the sea. Because of the many miracles which took place at her grave, her relics were uncovered and found to be incorrupt. They were placed in the Church of the Holy Apostles at Epivato, where they remained for about 175 years.
St Paraskeva’s relics were moved to Trnovo, Bulgaria in 1223 and placed in that city’s cathedral. Patriarch Euthymius wrote of her life and established the day of her commemoration as October 14. The Turks occupied Bulgaria in 1391, and her relics were given to Mircea the Elder, Prince of Romania. In 1394, the relics were given to Princess Angelina of Serbia (July 30), who brought them to Belgrade and then to Constantinople. For 120 years, St Paraskeva’s relics rested in Constantinople in the patriarchal cathedral.
On June 13, 1641, her incorrupt relics were transferred to the monastery of the Three Hierarchs at Jassy in Romania where many healings took place. On December 26, 1888, after being rescued from a fire, St. Paraskeva’s relics were moved again. This time they were placed in the new cathedral at Jassy, where they remain until the present day.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
You are worthy of praise, Paraskeva.
You loved the ascetic and hesychast life.
You ran with longing to your Bridegroom, Christ.
You accepted His good yoke in your tender years, marking yourself with the sign of the Cross.
You fought against impure thoughts;
through fasting, prayer and the shedding of tears you quenched the burning coal of the passions.
Now in the heavenly bridal chamber of Christ,
as you stand together with the wise virgins
intercede for us who honor your precious memory.
Kontakion (Tone 6) –
Let us all piously praise all-honorable Paraskeva,
the intercessor for the afflicted.
She gave up her earthly life,
and received eternal incorruption.
Therefore, she has been granted the grace to work wonders
by the command of God.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)