Tens of thousands of Romanian Orthodox faithful came out for a procession with the relics of two of the most beloved Romanian saints through the streets of Iași on Sunday evening.
The feast of St. Paraskeva, October 14, is traditionally one of the most significant religious events in Romania, drawing pilgrims from throughout Romania and beyond over the days leading up to her feast. Her relics resided in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Constantinople, and she is greatly loved throughout the Balkans and the Orthodox world. Still, they have remained in the cathedral in Iași, working countless miracles, since 1641.
The relics of the great Saint Paisius (Velichokovsky) of Neamț are also in Iași for the feast of St. Paraskeva this year. 2022 marks the 300th anniversary of his birth and was officially proclaimed the commemorative year of the Hesychast Saints Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory Palamas, and Paisius by the Romanian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod.
According to authorities, more than 50,000 people have come to venerate the relics of Sts. Paraskeva and Paisius since the annual St. Paraskeva pilgrimage began on October 8.
“We rejoice for the many, we rejoice for the few, in the hope that they have their hearts turned to God and find support and strength in His saints to overcome the obstacles in our lives, in the life of the country, and before the world,” Metropolitan of Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina said at the end of the procession.
“We hope that in the coming days, Iași will be a blessed, welcoming host, with open arms, with a big heart, to make happy those who step on our doorstep. And for Friday [the feast day of St Paraskeva], my hope is in God that everything will be peaceful and serene so that people from other parts of Moldavia or from across the country can enjoy a moment of spiritual respite,” Metropolitan Teofan said.
The Metropolitan noted that there are pilgrims who leave their hometown only once a year to go to Saint Paraskeva: “Some leave the house only once a year: they come here to Iași, then return home, and for half a year keep the memory of the beautiful moment they experienced next to the Saint’s reliquary.
“We are very happy for them, as well as for those who often come here, pour out their heart, their soul before the Saint, and leave more encouraged for family life, for assuming the responsibilities they have in their family life and the life of society.”