The largest Orthodox pilgrimage in Romania has started in Iasi, eastern Romania on Tuesday morning, with 6,000 waiting in line to touch Saint Parascheva’ s relics. So far, 1,500 managed to reach the tabernacle.
Celebrated on October 14, the Saint is luring pilgrims from all over the country several days ahead the celebration. Pilgrims from southern country usually come in organized groups on the night before the procession which is opening the feast.
Therefore, thousands of believers from Voluntari, Ilfov arrived in Iasi with 150 coaches on the night of Monday to Tuesday.
The tabernacle was carried on shoulders around the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi and then set on the catafalque so that people should worship the relics.
Saint Parascheva is considered the Protector of Moldavia and Bukovina, being the most popular of all the Saints whose relics are in Romania. Christians believe in the miraculous powers of the relics.
Saint Parascheva was born in the village Epivat in Eastern Tracia, at the beginning of the 11th century, in a family who believed in God. Then, by the age of 15, she dedicated herself to the monachal life. Currently, she is recognized mostly by the Orthodox Churches from Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia and Serbia.
Saint Parascheva’s relics were brought to Iasi in 1641, during the reign of the ruler Vasile Lupu, and they were exposed in the Church of the Three Hierarchs. People also call her Saint Friday. Tradition says that if until now it didn’t rain until October 14, winter will come soon. Also on this day fairs take place in order to turn sheep products to profit.
Saint Parascheva’s Dedication Day and at the same time, the Feast of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Iasi, has become a major Christian celebration in the past 15 years, for the region of Moldavia.
Pilgrims are queuing for hours in lines that usually cover 2 or 3 kilometers in order to reach the relics of the Saint and pray.
The holly relics are brought out of the church on October 12 and they are exposed on the esplanade of the Metropolitan Cathedral, while a procession is being organised on the streets nearby on October 13. After the procession, the reliquary is exposed again in the courtyard of the Metropolitan Cathedral in order to allow the pilgrims to pray.
After the Feast’s religious service, the City Hall of Iasi organizes a lunch for the pilgrims, where they serve traditional meals.