Τετάρτη 17 Ιουλίου 2013

Three girls of July

Saint Kyriaki the Great Martyr


Saint Kyriaki was the daughter of Christian parents, Dorotheus and Eusebia. She was given her name because she was born on Sunday, the day of the Lord (in Greek, Kyriaki).

Kyriaki was raised in a Christian enviornment and was highly respected, extremely educated, and philanthropic, but also very beautiful. Dorotheus and Eusevia were elderly and wanted security for Kyriaki upon their deaths which could be obtained through marriage. Kyriaki, being very devout in her Christian beliefs, wanted to follow the teachings of Saint Paul. In his Epistles to the Corinthians, he said that the highest virtue a woman [& a man] could achieve was to guard her virginity and become a bride of Christ; therefore, Kyriaki refused her parents request.
The Saint’s parents were not dismayed, but praised God for granting them such a blessed child. Unfortunately, Kyriaki’s family was well known to the idolaters for their wealth and for Kyriaki herself. One of the idolaters wanted Kyriaki to marry his only son and she refused the proposal. Being extremely insulted and angered, the nobleman went to Diocletian and told him that this family did not worship the idols of the Romans. Diocletian summoned Dorotheus, Eusevia, and Kyriaki to his palace and ordered them to make sacrifices to the idols. Dorotheus told Diocletian that the only true God was Jesus Christ and that they would not worship the false gods of the Romans. Diocletian sent Dorotheus and Eusevia to the town of Melitini in Asia Minor to be tortured and executed. He sent Saint Kyriaki to Maximian, the ruler of Nicomedia, so that he could persuade her to sacrifice to the idols.
Dorotheus and Eusevia were tortured unmercifully. Upon seeing that they would not convert, Diocletian ordered his soldiers to execute them. Maximian tried to persuade the Saint with words and then by action to convert; however, Kyriaki remained steadfast in her beliefs. Maximian then sent her to the ruler of Bethany, Elarius, hoping that he could change her beliefs. Elarius ordered that the Saint be hung by her hair and that her naked body be burned with torches. Kyriaki faced the torture with great courage. She was then taken back to prison. That night, Kyriaki had a dream where Christ appeared to her. He said, “Kyriaki, have no fear of the tortures, for I am with you and will protect you.” He healed her burns and ascended into heaven.
The next day, Elarius summoned the Saint before him and seeing that her body had no wounds, he attributed the miracle to the pagan gods. Kyriaki informed him that she had not been cured by his gods, but by her Savior, Jesus Christ. Kyriaki was then taken to the pagan temple. After she had prayed to Christ, all the idols were destroyed. An earthquake shook the temple and Elarius was struck and killed by lightning.

Saint nedelja (kyriaki) bulgaria icon.gif
Bulgarian Orthodox icon of St Kyriake
After Elarius’ death, the ruler Apollonius was sent to rule Bethany. When he heard that Saint Kyriaki was trying to convert people to Christianity, he ordered his soldiers to find and seize her. He questioned the Saint and upon finding her guilty, ordered that she be burned to death. As God saved the three boys from the furnace, so he did with Saint Kyriaki. When the Saint began to pray, a heavy rain fell from a cloudless sky and extinguished the flames. When Apollonius saw that the fire had no effect on the Saint, Kyriaki was placed in an arena with two lions. The lions began to go towards the Saint and as soon as they reached her, they knelt on the ground at her feet. Many idolaters who witnessed this miracle confessed their belief in Christ and Apollonius immediately had these people executed. Kyriaki was again returned to prison.
The following day, Apollonius ordered his soldiers to bring Kyriaki before him to try again for her to denounce her beliefs which she refused and told him that she would welcome death since it meant sacrificing herself for Christ. Apollonius then decided to behead Kyriaki. When she was taken to the place of her execution, she asked to be left alone so that she could pray. Her request was granted and after she finished praying, angels descended and received her soul. When the executioners returned, they found that Saint Kyriaki had already died. They returned to Apollonius and informed him of the events which had occurred.
Christians took the body of the Virgin Martyr for burial, praising God and glorifying the courage of Saint Kyriaki. She contested in Nicomedia during the reign of Diocletian, in the year 300.
The Honorable Skull of St. Kyriaki is kept in the Sacred Monastery of the Archangels in Aigialeia, Greece. This Monastery was founded by Saint Leontios in c. 1450. As the son of an aristrocratic family of Constantinople, the Monastery was built with the support of his uncles Thomas and Demetrios Paleologos, who were impressed by the saintliness of their nephews life. As a gift they gave him also the Skull of St. Kyriaki from Constantinople, which remains a priceless treasure of the Monastery.

Feast Day: July 7
Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone:

 O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb Kyriaki doth cry with a great voice: ‘O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice.’ Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.

Kontakion in the Second Tone:

 The Martyr of Christ Kyriaki hath called us all together now to praise and acclaim her wrestlings and her godly feats; for possessed of manliness of mind, she hath proved to be worthy of her name, being lady and mistress of her mind and the passions of unseemliness.

Saint Marina the Great Martyr

July 17
Human reality is powerless over those who sincerely believe. In the darkness of prisons and amidst great poverty the Lord grants them that joy which is above all earthly delight. How comforting for the true Christian to know that nothing can separate him from the love of the Lord!
Icon from here
ST. MARINA was born in the third century in Pisidian Antioch, in what is now central Turkey. Her parents were noble people, but pagans, and she was raised to worship idols. Her mother died when she was a child and her father, the pagan priest Edesius, entrusted her upbringing to a nurse maid with whom she lived in the tranquility of the countryside.
      It was a time of severe persecution of Christians. Some concealed themselves in the wilderness, but others courageously went about spreading the light of Christ. It was from one of these that the twelve-year-old Marina first heard about the Lord Jesus Christ. When she learned that the only begotten Son of God had come down from heaven and became man, that He endured suffering and death in order to save a sinful and unworthy people, her heart filled with love for Him, and she sought every opportunity to hear more about her Lord. She wanted so much to he baptized, but because of the persecution she couldn't find a priest to perform the holy Mystery. She left it up to God's holy will and meanwhile loudly confessed the name of the Lord to anyone who would listen, even though she knew she might suffer because of it.
      Indeed, her first persecutor was her own father. When he discovered that his daughter had adopted the faith of the Christians, he was furious and became hateful, even cruel towards her. But she took refuge in the love of her Heavenly Father, Who never abandons His faithful children.
      One day, when she was fifteen years old, she was on her way to the fields to look at her father's sheep, when she was met by the regional governor, Olymbrius, a cruel persecutor of Christians. He was attracted by the girl's beauty and struck up a conversation. "Where are you from? Who is your father? What is your name?" Marina answered his questions and boldly added that she believed in the God of the Christians and that she hoped to dedicate herself to His service. The governor ordered his soldiers to bring her with them to Antioch. Hopeful that he would have little difficulty in convincing her to give up her faith, he did not mistreat her, as he saw in her a good prospect for marriage.
      The next day the governor ordered Marina to be brought for questioning and tried everything to persuade her to bring sacrifice to the gods, but the bride of Christ remained steadfast. "I have learned to know the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one Divinity in Trinity, and to bring to Him the sacrifice of praise," replied the girl. "I cannot give to lifeless idols that honor which belongs to my Creator.'' The governor tried various tactics: he tried to win her over through promises, then he tried to frighten her with threats. Nothing availed. "I want to remain a faithful slave of my God,' said Marina, "Who voluntarily suffered for my sake. He did not spare His most pure Body for my sake and endured death on the Cross. Should I not be prepared to suffer and die for Him? You do not frighten me with your threats. In the midst of sufferings, my Lord, in Whom I have placed my hope, will strengthen me."
      When Olymbrius realized that Marina would never renounce her heavenly Bridegroom, his pity for the young Christian vanished and he gave her over to cruel tortures. Marina was beaten mercilessly with rods so that blood poured forth from the deep wounds. As the crowd watched the young martyr, many wept and urged her to obey the governor, but the young martyr remained steadfast in her sufferings.
From Death to the World
      The enraged governor then ordered that she be fastened to a column and her flesh torn apart with iron hooks. Pieces of flesh fell to the ground, exposing her bones; the earth was crimson with her blood. Even the cruel governor covered his face with his hands and turned away, unable to bear the bloody spectacle. Finally, the young martyr, barely alive, was thrown into a dark, dank prison cell.
      "Mereiful God Who livest on high," prayed the suffering Marina, "revive my spirit. Heal my wounded body. Give me strength to overcome my adversary that in me Thy name be glorified."
      As night fell the devil struck at the young girl with fear and despair. Dreadful phantoms appeared before her eyes, strange rumblings issued from underground... But the martyr concentrated her mind on God and never ceased praying. And the Lord confirmed her faith with a miraculous sign.
      She suddenly saw over her head a dazzling gold cross, on top of which sat a snow-white dove, and a voice came from above:
      'Rejoice Marina, dove of Christ. You have vanquished the evil foe. Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Mount Zion. For soon, like the wise virgins, you will enter the bridal chamber of your immortal Heavenly Bridegroom"
      An indescribable joy seized Marina's heart. At the same time she became aware that her tortured flesh was being healed and she felt her strength returning. The rest of the night she spent praising and thanking God.
      In the morning the governor had the great martyr brought forth from the prison. Yesterday barely alive, she now stood before him, beautiful and healthy. The astonished governor attributed her miraculous recovery to the pagan gods. "It is my God who healed me," replied the great martyr. "He is the healer of souls and bodies."
      Again she was subject to torture. The outraged governor ordered a bunch of burning candles to be brought and with them they singed her miraculously restored flesh. The saint, directing her mind to God, suffered in silence The singed areas became black, yet stoically she endured the pain.
      "Lord," she prayed, "Thou grantest me to go through this fiery trial. Make me worthy to pass through the water of baptism, that washed of sins I may enter Thy rest!"
      Hearing the saint speak about water, the governor conceived of the idea to drown the Saint. An enormous vat was brought and filled to the brim. Marina was tied up and thrown into it. The Saint rejoiced; here at last was an answer to her prayer.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Who didst loose the bonds of death and hell, look upon Thy servant and loose my bonds. And may this water be for me the longdesired water of holy baptism unto regeneration and life eternal?
      As soon as they plunged her into the vat the ropes on her body snapped, her head was illumined with heavenly rays, and a white dove, carrying in its beak a golden wreath, began circling overhead. Lower and lower descended the paradisiacal messenger, and, touching the head of the great martyr, rose again into the heavens. At the same time a voice was heard: "Peace to you, Bride of Christ. Receive now from God's hand an unfading crown and honor in the Heavenly Kingdom." The crowd trembled. All had seen how Marina emerged from the water cured of her terrible burns and shining with unearthly beauty. Now they witnessed the descent of a fiery pillar and above it a cross, shining with wondrous light. The crowd began glorifying God. "We, too, are Christians! We, too, are Christians, ready to die for Christ."
      The governor was enraged by the multitude of converts, and ordered his soldiers to kill the new Christians without mercy. That very day fifteen thousand were added to the ranks of martyrs.
      Marina was likewise sentenced to die by the sword. Before her execution the great martyr turned to the crowd, strengthening the people in their confession. She prayed at length for everyone and was vouchsafed to see Christ Himself, Who called her to eternal rest, before she quietly bowed her head beneath the executioner's sword.
      Thus the holy great martyr Marina accomplished her martyric exploit on the seventeenth of July. The servant of God Theotim was a witness of her sufferings and was granted to see the heavenly visions and all this he wrote down for the benefit of the faithful, in honor of the beloved bride of Christ, Marina, and to the glory of our Man-loving God, to Whom, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit may we give honor and glory, now and ever and unto the ages. Amen.

(Adapted from A. N. Bakhmeteva, Zhitia Sviatikh, Moscow 1872)

  Astonishing Contemporary Miracles of Saint Marina on the Island of Andros 

The Miraculous Icon of Saint Marina in Andros, Greece
The Miracle of Saint Marina for Andrea Vassiliou of Cyprus

In October of 2000, a family from Limasol, Cyprus, named Vassiliou received the following miracle.

In Greece they are well known from the televised requests they made in order to find a donor for their young boy Andrea, who suffered from leukemia. The donor was indeed found and the parents began preparing for their trip to Houston, Texas in the U.S.A where the bone marrow transplant was going to be performed. Meanwhile, they also prayed and begged Jesus Christ to save their boy.

Before they left for the U.S.A the parents heard of St. Marina's miracles and they called the monastery of St. Marina located on the island of Andros in Greece to ask for her blessing. The Elder of the monastery, Archimandrite Fr. Cyprianos, promised that he would pray to St. Marina. He also wished the parents for St. Marina to be with Andrea in the operating room, to help him. With Elder Cyprianos' blessing and with strong faith that St. Marina would help indeed, the Vassiliou family went to the U.S.A.

After the necessary pre-operation tests that Andrea had to undergo, he was taken to the operating room. A short time before the operation was to begin, a woman came to see the surgeon who would be operating on Andrea. She said that she was Andrea's doctor and asked to be allowed to observe the operation. The conversation that ensued proved that the woman was indeed a doctor. However, the surgeon replied that 'outside' doctors were not permitted to be present in the operating room and that his medical teams' policy was that no doctor other than those on the team be involved in such delicate operations. The persistence of the woman however, convinced the surgeon to allow her in the operating room. But before, he asked her to leave her coordinates [presumably, credentials] at the administration desk. The unknown doctor did as told and then entered the operating room with the surgeon. During the operation, she gave several directions regarding the progress of the procedure. The operation went well and in the end the surgeon thanked the woman and exited the operating room.

Andrea's parents immediately went to inquire about the outcome of the surgery and the surgeon replied that all had gone very well, adding that he could not understand why they had brought Andrea to him when they had such a fine doctor. The parents were surprised and responded that they had not brought any doctor with them. The surgeon insisted, however. He also told them that when he came out of the operating room Andrea's doctor had remained there for a little longer with the rest of the operating team and therefore, she would probably still be around. He recommended that they look for her. The search, however, proved pointless, as the "woman doctor" was nowhere around. The Vassiliou couple then concluded that it must have been a doctor from Greece or Cyprus who had decided to travel to the U.S.A and contribute to the delicate operation. They expressed the wish to know who she was so that they may be able to thank her, and at the surgeon's recommendation they then went to the administration desk to ask for her coordinates.

It was with utter surprise that they read that the unknown woman had signed with the name "Marina from Andros". Tears of gratefulness and joy filled their eyes as they recalled that the Elder at the monastery had said to them that he wished Andrea to have St. Marina in the operating room to help him. Andrea's parents shared with the media their joy both for the successful operation and Andrea's recovered health and for the miracle they received. The Vassiliou family made the vow that the entire family will be present at the saint's monastery every year on the saint's feast day (July 17) and Elder Cyprianos reports that the family has been making the annual trip from Limassol to Andros every summer to thank Saint Marina for saving Andrea.

Miracles performed by the Saints have never ceased to take place in the Orthodox Church. With these miracles, may our Lord Jesus Christ help us build our faith.

The telephone number to St. Marina Monastery on Andros is 2282024074.

The father of Andrew, Vasou Vassiliou, is embracing the 12 year old Andrea and is interviewed regarding the miracle.
12 year old Andrea who was healed by St. Marina of leukemia
 More miracles of St. Marina can be heard here.

At this link, below the video that is posted above, there are three audio recording from 2007 of a radio talk show in Greece called “Όπου γης” which can be heard on the site Πειραϊκή Εκκλησία 91,2 FM. The first audio is an interview with Fr. Cherubim who knows the Vassiliou family from Cyprus describing the above miracle of St. Marina for the young boy Andrea. The other two describes a miracle of St. Marina for a woman named Irene Yfanti who was healed of cancer - the first being an account she wrote of her miracle and the second an interview with Irene Yfanti herself.

The Miracle of Saint Marina for Irene Yfanti in Athens

Regarding the miracle of Irene Yfanti, the following took place:

The miracle took place in July of 2006. Irene was 28 years old and the mother of a 3 year old. She first visited St. Marina's in Andros in June 2006 after doctors found troubling signs that she may have cancer.

Irene's mother had been healed a year earlier of breast cancer during the Divine Liturgy while on a visit to Andros, and made sure to bring her daughter to Elder Cyprianos at St. Marina's in order to get his comforting advice. The Elder said that she would need surgery but to be calm because St. Marina would be with her. She returned to Athens and was checked at St. Savas Hospital. The results were that she had thyroid cancer.

Because the cancer was spreading, surgery had to be performed immediately. They travelled again to Andros. Elder Cyprianos told the worried mother: "St. Marina healed you of cancer. Do you think she will abandon your daughter?" He then gave the mother a piece of cotton that had been dipped in holy oil from the miraculous icon of St. Marina and ordered that her daughter keep it on her throughout the surgery. He then gave them some sweets before their departure saying: "When you come back again, you will bring the sweets." They returned to Athens.

As the surgery was being performed, the following miracle took place. The surgeon reported afterwards that at times his hand was guided in the surgery and at one point guided him to an infected area previously undetected by the doctors. It was in a well hidden area and he removed that successfully. In fact, the entire surgery was successful and the doctor reported saying that if he had not been guided to find that undetected piece, Irene would have had to undergo a second surgery to remove it.

Five hours after the surgery something started to go wrong as she was in recovery. She started to feel a numbness and extreme pain throughout her body. As the symptoms got worse, she was again brought into surgery. While strapped up with tubes, she could hardly move or speak due to the numbness, and worst of all her breath was fading. She wanted to ask the doctors for more oxygen, but she was unable to because of the tubes and the numbness.

Eventually Irene felt detached from her body and found herself in a place of extreme darkness, unable to feel any pain. She moved her arms, but the darkness was so great that she could not even see her hands move in front of her face. It was a lonely and hopeless place, she later reported. She wanted to pray for God to help her, but she said she could not pray because it was a place that seemed absent of God's presence. Feeling no real sense of time there, she believed she was there for hours and days on end and came to the conclusion that she died and was likely in hell for her sins. This made her feel very hopeless and in despair, until she heard a voice. She then screamed: "St. Marina, I can breathe!" Upon saying this she felt pulled back into her body.

Irene then woke up and saw herself surrounded by about 6-8 doctors and machines all around her. She could breathe normally and felt no pain. She had fully recovered and is today cancer free. The surgeons present told her that she had died and come back - one even said "Irene is risen!"

The Life of Saint Marina the Great Martyr

The Church of Saint Marina in Thissio

Saint Marina: The Protectress of Nephrology

The Supplication Service to St. Marina

Παρακλητικός Κανών Αγίας Μαρίνας
Lives of Saint Paraskevi the Virgin Martyr

Righteous Paraskevi the Virgin Martyr (Feast Day - July 26)

St. Kosmas Aitolos in one of his sermons taught about the Parable of the Sower which can be found in the follwing sections of the Gospels: Matt 13:3-23; Mk 4:2-20; Lk 8:4-15. In interpreting this parable, he explains: "Rock is the heart of the person who hears God's word and accepts it with joy but has little reverence for Christ, and when he's tempted, he denies Christ and goes with the devil. The thorns represent the person who hears God's word and to whom evil passions later come and choke and who remains barren. The good earth is the person who is perfect, who brought forth a hundredfold; the middle person who brought forth sixty-fold; and the lesser person who brought forth thirty-fold." Besides explaining the parable in this way, he brings up lives of the Saints to illustrate each point. After citing examples of each he comes to explain a Saint who yielded a hundred-fold and lifts up this example to his hearers for those who wish to imitate this Saint and yield a hundred-fold as well. This Saint he chose was St. Paraskevi.

Saint Paraskevi the Virgin Martyr
By Saint Kosmas Aitolos

Let us say something about the good earth. St. Paraskevi was a twelve year old maiden from a noble house. Left an orphan, she divided up all her possessions among the poor, and with these she purchased Paradise.

In place of cosmetics, she wore tears, remembering her sins. In place of earings, she kept her ears open to hear the Sacred Scriptures. In place of a necklace, she fasted often, which made her neck shine like the sun. In place of rings, she acquired calluses on her fingers from the many prostrations she made. In place of a golden belt, she had her virginity which she guarded all her life. In place of a dress, she was covered by modesty and fear of God. This is how the Saint decked herself.

If there is any maiden who wishes to adorn herself, let her consider what this Saint did and let her do the same if she wishes to be saved.

In this way, brethren, St. Paraskevi acquired learning and became very wise. Because of her purity, God found her worthy to perform miracles. She cured the blind, the deaf and she raised the dead.

Two Jews, sons of the devil, seeing the Saint perform miracles, envied her and betrayed her to King Antoninus as a Christian. So the King summoned her and asked her to deny Christ and to worship the gods and she would become queen.

The Saint replied: "I am not foolish like you to deny my Christ and to go to the devil; to leave life and go to death. May you leave the darkness and come to the light."

Do you hear, my brethren, how outspoken a young girl was before a king?

Whoever has Christ in his heart fears nothing in the world. If we too wish not to fear either people or demons, let us have God in our hearts.

The King said to the Saint: "I'll give you three days to obey; if you don't I'll put you to death."

The Saint replied: "O King, what you wish to do in three days time, do it now, for I will not deny my Christ."

The King then ordered a big fire to be lighted and over it a large pot was placed, filled with tar and sulfar. Seeing the pot, the Saint rejoiced, for she was to depart from this false world and to go to that which is real and eternal.

The King ordered the Saint to be put into the pot to be boiled. The Saint made the sign of the Cross and got in the pot. The king waited two, three hours and seeing she was not being boiled, he said: "Paraskevi, why aren't you burning?"

The Saint said: "Because Christ cooled the water and I don't burn."

The King replied: "Sprinkle me with the water so I can see whether it burns or not."

The Saint took some water in her two hands and threw it into his face, and immediately behold the miracle - he became blind and his face was flayed.

The King then shouted: "Great is the God of the Christians. In him I also believe. Come out and baptize me."

The Saint got out and baptized him and his entire kingdom. Later another king beheaded her and she went to Paradise to rejoice forever.

This woman yielded a hundred-fold, according to the Lord's word.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich

Paraskeve was born in Rome of Christian parents and from her youth was instructed in the Faith of Christ. With great fervence, St. Paraskeve endeavored to fulfill all the commandments of God in her life. Believing strongly and living according to her faith, Paraskeve directed others on the path [of salvation] with the help of the True Faith and pious living.

When her parents died Paraskeve distributed all of her property to the poor and was tonsured a nun. As a nun she preached the Faith of Christ with an even greater zeal, not hiding from anyone, even though at that time the Roman authorities bloodily persecuted the Faith of Christ.

First the pernicious Jews accused St. Paraskeve of preaching the prohibited Faith. She was brought to trial before Emperor Antoninus. All the flatteries of the emperor did not help in the least to cause her to waver in the Faith. They then subjected her to fiery torments and placed a red-hot helmet on her head. The Lord miraculously saved her and Paraskeve was delivered and left Rome.

She again traveled from city to city to convert the pagan people there to the True Faith. In two more cities she was brought before princes and judges and was tortured for her Lord, at the same time working great miracles and by the power of God quickly recuperated from her pains and wounds. The pagans, as always, ascribed her miracles to magic and her power of recovery to the mercy of their gods.

St. Paraskeve once said to the prince who tortured her: “It is not your gods, O prince, who healed me but my Christ the True God.” Finally Prince Tarasius beheaded her. Thus this Saint gloriously ended her fruitful life. Her relics were later translated to Constantinople. She suffered honorably for Christ in the second century.

Paraskevi the Righteous Martyr of Rome
Reading from the Greek Synaxarion:

Saint Paraskevi, who was from a certain village near Rome, was born to pious parents, Agatho and Politia. Since she was born on a Friday (in Greek, "Paraskevi"), she was given this name, which means "Preparation" or "Preparedness" (compare Matt. 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and John 19:31, where 'Friday' is called "the day of the preparation"). From childhood she was instructed in the sacred letters and devoted herself to the study of the divine Scriptures, while leading a monastic life and guiding many to the Faith of Christ. During the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, she was apprehended because she was a Christian and was urged to worship the idols, but she answered with the words of Jeremias: "Let the gods that have not made heaven and the earth perish from off the earth" (Jer. 10:11). Because of this she endured exceedingly painful torments, and was beheaded in the year 140. The faithful pray to her for the healing of eye ailments.

Paraskeva the Righteous Martyr of Rome
Reading from the Russian Synaxarion:

Holy Virgin Martyr Paraskeva of Rome was the only daughter of Christian parents, Agathon and Politia, and from her early years she dedicated herself to God. She spent much of her time in prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures. After the death of her parents St Paraskeva distributed all of her inheritance to the poor, and consecrated her virginity to Christ. Emulating the holy Apostles, she began to preach to the pagans about Christ, converting many to Christianity.

She was arrested during the reign of Antoninus Pius (138-161) because she refused to worship the idols. She was brought to trial and fearlessly confessed herself a Christian. Neither enticements of honors and material possessions, nor threats of torture and death shook the firmness of the saint nor turned her from Christ. She was given over to beastly tortures. They put a red-hot helmet on her head and threw her in a cauldron filled with boiling oil and pitch. By the power of God the holy martyr remained unharmed. When the emperor peered into the cauldron, St Paraskeva threw a drop of the hot liquid in his face, and he was burned. The emperor began to ask her for help, and the holy martyr healed him. After this the emperor set her free.

Traveling from one place to another to preach the Gospel, St Paraskeva arrived in a city where the governor was named Asclepius. Here again they tried the saint and sentenced her to death. They took her to an immense serpent living in a cave, so that it would devour her. But St Paraskeva made the Sign of the Cross over the snake and it died. Asclepius and the citizens witnessed this miracle and believed in Christ. She was set free, and continued her preaching. In a city where the governor was a certain Tarasius, St Paraskeva endured fierce tortures and was beheaded in the year 140.

Many miracles took place at the saint's tomb: the blind received sight, the lame walked, and barren women gave birth to children. It is not only in the past that the saint performed her miracles, but even today she helps those who call on her in faith.

Read also:

7 Astonishing Miracles of Saint Paraskevi

The Grotto-Shrine of Saint Paraskevi in Woodlawn, New York

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Appropriate to your calling, O Champion Paraskeve, you worshipped with the readiness your name bears. For an abode you obtained faith, which is your namesake. Wherefore, you pour forth healing and intercede for our souls.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

O most majestic One, we have discovered your temple to be a spiritual clinic wherein all the faithful resoundingly honor you, O famed and venerable martyr Paraskeve.

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