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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Homily on Saint Paraskevi the Wonderworker (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 
 By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

Saint Paraskevi is honored not only by those women who bear her name, but also by all Christians. This happens especially in our Province, since there are many parish churches, but also chapels that are honored with her name and on this day they celebrate brilliantly.

The life of Saint Paraskevi is wonderful. Her parents were pious and virtuous, her birth was by God's intervention, she herself grew up in a Christian way, distributed her property to the poor, became a nun, preached Christ, confessed Him and finally suffered many tortures and was martyred for the love of Christ. That's why she is called a Venerable Martyr.

There are icons showing Saint Paraskevi holding with her hands a plate on which there are two eyes. This refers to a miracle performed by the Saint. One of her tortures was that she was placed inside a red-hot cauldron containing hot oil and burning tar. Despite this, the Saint, by the Grace of God, not only did not burn, but also seemed to cool down. The ruler who was watching the martyrdom, marveling at this incident, told her to pour some of the oil and tar on him to see if they were burning. As soon as Saint Paraskevi poured some of it on him, his eyes immediately went blind. Then he begged the Saint to beg God to give him the light of his eyes again, which was indeed done with her prayer. We are reminded of this miracle by this particular icon of Saint Paraskevi.

This is the reason why many sick people, whose eyes suffer, consider Saint Paraskevi as their patron and ask her to miraculously intervene and heal them. The saints, with God's help, are physicians of our souls and bodies. We turn to them when we have various problems and ask for their help. Of course, theologically we say that God Himself acts through the saints, since the saints are Christ's friends and servants.

By extension, Saint Paraskevi can also be considered a physician of the diseases of the eye of the soul which is our nous. Beyond the eye of the body we also have the eye of the soul with which we can see the glory of God. And as the eyes of the body fall ill, so the eye of the soul falls ill. Because the eye of the soul is sick, therefore we are wicked, and cannot see God. Heresy, atheism, ignorance of God, and many other mental illnesses are the result of the spiritual eye being diseased.

The Prophet David says in a psalm: "You illumine my darkness". There is darkness within us because we have become spiritually blinded and cannot see the glory of God. That is why Saint Gregory Palamas prayed to Christ: "Illumine my darkness".

Today we celebrate the festival of Saint Paraskevi, who lived with Christ and was martyred for His glory. She is the protector of all those who have a problem with their physical eyes, but also of all of us who have a problem with our eyes of the soul and cannot see the love of God, cannot realize our passions, the needs that those around us have, and we cannot see the way in which we shall be saved. And if we pray to Saint Paraskevi with faith, she will heal us.

I wish you all many and blessed years. May Saint Paraskevi protect you throughout your life, with the power and grace of Christ.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.