I often receive emails concerning how Mystagogy has helped people personally, but a few days ago I received a surprising and moving email from Romania which shows how a post I made on the relic of the right hand of St. Polycarp became a blessing to thousands of people in Romania on the great feast of St. Parascheva. To understand the context of the feast before reading the letter below, read Saint Parascheva and Her Feast Day in Romania. Many thanks to Silviu Cluci for informing me about this and his permission to reproduce his emails.
My name is Silviu Cluci. I'm a Romanian weblogger living in Iasi. First of all I'm writing you this email to congratulate you for your wonderful work on your blog and second, and maybe the most important, I want to thank you in the name of all pilgrims, wich came last week to Iasi to venerate the relics of Saint Parascheva and the hand of Saint Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna.
With this article
from your blog, you helped us first to know where we can find the relics of this wonderful saint. My friend, A. V., was very happy to hear that in Greece at Nafpaktos there is the hand of Saint Polycarp. Andrei has a great devoutness to Saint Polycarp and he wrote a very beautiful akathist hymn of the Saint in Romanian in 7 years. He was so happy for this discovery that he called Metropolitan Teofan and asked him to talk with Metropolit Hierotheos Vlachos about the posibility of getting the relics to Iasi for the celebration of Saint Parascheva on the 14th of October. (In each year this celebration is an occasion for a large Orthodox pilgrimage of up to 1 million people). And glory to God, Saint Polycarp came to bless our city last week.
Here are some videos from a procession from the 12th of October
And here are some pictures http://www.doxologia.ro/foto/hramul-sfintei-cuvioase-parascheva/stiri/rugaciune-marturisire-pe-calea-sfintilor.
If you whant to know more about the events from the last week from our city, ask me for this.
Thank you once again for the great joy!
After requesting his permission to publish his letter, I asked him to tell me more about the feast. Here is what he wrote:
About the feast I can tell you that it started on the 11th day of October when the relics of Saint Parascheva were taken out from the cathedral in a procession and seated out for the pilgrims to venerate it. From the night before a large number of pilgrims came from the entire Romania and even from Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldova, Belgium, Canada and so on. The Police estimate the final number of pilgrims at 200,000. The queue wasn't so long in this year - 3 kilometers and around 12 hours of waiting. In the afternoon of the 12th of October, the Greek delegation with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou arrived at Iasi carrying the hand of Saint Polycarp. Soon after the arrival, in Iasi there started a procession with the relics of Saint Parascheva and Saint Polycarp with a large number of priests, monks and simple believers from the city. On the day before the celebration of Saint Parascheva we had some events like the launching of some books about Saint Parascheva. At 21 p.m. in the cathedral the vigil started and finished at 3 a.m. In the morning at 9 a.m., 24 bishops from Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece served the Divine Liturgy outside of the cathedral on a platform. Metropolitan Hierotheos had preached and, at the end of the service, Metropolitan Teofon of Moldavia and Bucovina thanked all for the contribution at the celebration.
In the afternoon of the 14th of October in the auditorium of Cuza Univerity, in front of more than 400 people, Metropolitan Hierotheos held a conference about the Theology of John Romanides.
In the morning of the next day, the Greek delegation went back home together with the hand of Saint Polycarp. But the queue of pilgrims continued to be long until the last pilgrim venerated the relics of Saint Parascheva on Sunday evening, when auxiliary bishop Calinic brought the relics back to cathedral.
In a few words this was the feast from the last week in Iasi, Romania.
Here are some video recordings:
And here is the audio recording of the conference of Metropolitan Hierotheos:
Below is video of the feast together with the arrival of the relic of St. Polycarp and Metropolitan Hierotheos. I also include a sermon delivered by Metropolitan Hierotheos in Iasi.