Pilgrimages of the Month of October

His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae
Guest Blogger

The month of October is rich in spiritual events, for in the course of this month we celebrate two of the saints whose relics repose in Romania: St. Parascheva, the protector of Moldavia and the St. Dimitrie the New, the protector of Bucharest. We know that the two feast days create opportunities for large scale pilgrimages in Iasi as well as Bucharest. The Righteous Mother Parascheva lived in the first half of the 19th century. Having been raised in a Christian family in the village of Epivat in the region of Thrace, near Constantinople, it is said that at ten years of age, when standing in a church, she heard the call of the Savior: Whoever wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me (Mark 8:34). She began to deny herself and took the path of solitude from the world, heading first to Constantinople, followed by a monastery in Pontus, and then to the Jordanian desert. Around the age of 25, an angel came to her in a dream and revealed to her the divine call to return to her native place. She returned to Epivat and passed away into eternity unknown by anyone. But God prepared her for great glorification, and in miraculous manner her body did not decompose rather it remained uncorrupt and became greatly sweet-smelling. Her body was soon unburied and placed with honor in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Epivat. Her holy relics have been moved first to Tarnovo, Bulgaria, then to Belgrade, Serbia and thirdly to Constantinople until they reached their final repose in 1641 in Iasi, Romania.

The Righteous Father Dimitrie the New has a similar life story, leading a life of solitude and prayer in a skete near the village of Basarabi, just south of the Danube, sometime during the 18th century. He also passed away from this life unknown by anyone, and his uncorrupt and sweet-smelling body was found in a wonderful manner by God’s intervention. His wonder-working relics reached were settled in Walachia during the Russo-Turkish War of 1769-1774. Henceforth, he showers with blessings and healings all who venerate him with faith.
The lives of these two saints do not appear to reveal anything sensational; still their holy relics prove that their lives were indeed holy. In other words, they have lived a life dedicated to God; have renounced this worldly life in order to gain the heavenly one. They have lived unknown by men, but known by God. They have lived short lives here on earth but they have gained the eternity of those who are close to God. They have listened to the advice of the Savior, to follow Him and they have proved through their lives that whoever offers his soul for Christ and the Gospel, will gain it and save it (Mark 8:35). Pilgrimages to their holy relics are occasions for enrichment in faith and understanding of the purpose of our earthly lives; but also an occasion to near the holiness of God made evident by the relics of these saints.
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