Paraskevi of Rome

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For other saints named Paraskevi or Parascheva, see Saint Paraskevi.
Saint Paraskevi (Parasceua) of Rome
Agia Paraskevi by Michael Damaskenos (16th c.).jpg
The execution of St. Paraskevi, 16th century. Michael Damaskenos.
Martyr
BornRome
Died~170 AD
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches[1][2]
FeastJuly 26, October 13
Patronageinvoked as a healer of the blind;[3]

Saint Paraskevi of Rome or Parasceva of Rome is venerated as a Christian martyr of the 2nd century. She is invoked for the healing ailments of the eyes. Her feast day is July 26.

Traditional Hagiography[edit]

According to tradition, she was born in a village near Rome[4] about 140 AD to parents who were Christians. Her parents, Agathon and Politia, were of Greek origin, and had prayed for many years to have a child. When Politia finally bore a child, the baby girl was named Paraskevi (Παρασκευή), which means "Friday" in Greek (literally "preparation (day)" for the sabbath: cf. Mark 15:42), because she was born on that day.[5] Paraskevi grew up to be a devout and well-read woman, who rejected many suitors.

After the death of her parents, she gave away all of her possessions and became the head of a Christian community of young virgins and widows. She also began to preach the Christian faith,[6] and at the age of 30, left Rome and visited many cities and villages. In the village of Therapia in Turkey, she was arrested by soldiers of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and brought to trial. The charge was blasphemy and that her words were the cause of all the ills that had recently befallen the empire.[7]

According to tradition, the emperor attempted to force the saint to denounce her faith, and even offered to marry her. Paraskevi refused, and was tortured by having a steel helmet lined with nails placed on her head. Paraskevi endured this torture and her endurance caused many to convert to Christianity. The emperor had the new converts executed.[3][unreliable source?] Paraskevi was imprisoned and tortured by being hung by her hair and having her limbs seared with torches. She was also immersed into a large kettle of oil and tar, but she emerged unscathed. When she was accused of using magic, Paraskevi responded by throwing the liquid into the emperor's face. He was blinded, and the emperor begged for mercy. She told him that only the God of the Christians could cure him. Antoninus Pius regained his sight and ended all persecutions against Christians in the empire.[3]

Howevever, after the death of Antoninus Pius, the laws changed once again under Marcus Aurelius, and Paraskevi was imprisoned. She was captured in a city governed by a man named Asclepius, who threw her into a pit with a large snake. The saint made a sign of the cross and the snake was cloven in half.[8] Moved by this miracle, Asclepius then freed her.[3]

In a different city, Paraskevi was imprisoned by an official named Taracius (Tarasios), who placed Paraskevi into a large kettle of oil and tar, but she emerged unscathed, causing there to be new Christian converts. She was then tied and beaten and afterwards a large rock was placed on her chest. The next day the saint was taken to a temple dedicated to Apollo. She went there without complaining and Taracius was praised for his tactics. However, Paraskevi made a sign of the cross and the temple's idols were destroyed. The priests beat her and had her removed from the temple. They demanded that Taracius execute her. The saint was then decapitated outside of the city.[3]

Veneration[edit]

Saint Paraskevi is invoked for the healing of eye ailments.[4] Her feast day is July 26.[6]

The Athens suburb of Agia Paraskevi is named after her.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mliles.com/melkite/saints/saintsjuly.shtml
  2. ^ https://mci.archpitt.org/liturgy/Calendar_of_Saints.html
  3. ^ a b c d e "St. Paraskevi of Rome". Orthodox Christian Faith. 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Saint Paraskevi", Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church, Greenlawn, New York
  5. ^ "Museum of Russian Icons: Collections". Museum of Russian Icons. 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Martyr Parasceva of Rome", Orthodox Church in America
  7. ^ "Saint Paraskevi", St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, Orange, Connecticut
  8. ^ "Saint Parasceva of Rome". Patron Saints Index. 2010. Archived from the original on May 3, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010.