His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel on Sunday offered his reflections on the life of Saint Parascheva and noted that ‘she did not reach saintliness rapidly, which means that saintliness does not depend on age, but on steadfastness, on the intensity of our love for God.’
‘In Orthodox iconography, the venerable Saints, even if they were younger, are painted at an older age, because from piety it is considered that man reaches saintliness later in life.’
However, Saint Parascheva attained to holiness at a young age, the Patriarch of Romania said during his homily delivered at Samurcasesti Monastery.
The Patriarch recalled that in 1944, during the Second World War, the holy relics of Saint Parascheva were brought to and enshrined in this Monastery, ‘in a period of great sorrow and trouble for the country’.
His Beatitude also reminded how the relics of the Saint were miraculously discovered.
Her relics were unearthed and brought to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Kallikratia, ‘where many miracles were made’, Patriarch Daniel noted.
The devotion to Saint Parascheva has spread rapidly in Thrace and in other areas in the East.
His Beatitude said that usually the Akathist hymn mentions different aspects from a Saint’s life, but the Akathist hymn to Saint Parascheva is unusual and different since there is no reference to her life, but only an invocation of the help she grants to those who venerate her.
‘It is a great blessing for us to have in our country these holy relics, which are venerated by the entire Orthodox world, particularly in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia,’ the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church said.
Parable of the Sower
In his speech, the Romanian Patriarch also reflected on the Gospel passage referring to the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9).
‘The Parable of the Sower teaches us that the purpose of life is to receive the word of God and make it fruitful,’ His Beatitude said.
Patriarch Daniel noted that ‘the four circumstances’ of sowed seed are ‘four categories of people’.
He said that we should pay attention to the fourth category of people ‘who receive the word of God, keeps it and bear fruit with patience.’
‘Who are the pure and kind in heart?’ the Patriarch asked. ‘It is the Saints.’
‘Saints are pure and kindhearted people. They resemble God the Holy One. They are humans who fulfil God’s word in their lives and become kind and merciful, even if they were sinners before.’
Photography courtesy of Mircea Florescu/ Basilica.ro