Saint Petka of the Balkans, you are glory and praise of Belgrade


Saint Petka or Parascheva of the Balkans  (Greek Παρασκευή - Friday)  was an ascetic female saint of the 11th century. She was born in the town of Epibatos (today Selimpaşa) on the shore of the Sea of Marmara between Silivri and Constantinople in Thrace in the half of  X century. She was of Serbian origin, from a wealthy and pious family. She had a brother, whose name was Euthymios, and who took monastic vows when he was very young, and later he was elected for Bishop of Madyta (989-996).

The legend says that when she was a little girl, Parascheva heard in a church the Lord's words: "Whoever wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Mark 8, 34), and she devoted herself with all her heart to the Lord and when she grew up she joined a pleiad of saints. After the death of her parents, desiring the life of a pilgrim, she left her parent's home and fled to Contantinople.  After seeing Jerusalem, she settled in convent in the river Jordanian desert. When she was very old, she obeyed the voice of the Angel of God, left desert and came back to her hometown of Epibatos. She lived there two more years in a constant prayer and fasting, so she presented God in XI century.

Christian tradition states that after an old sinner was buried near Parascheva’s grave, the saint protested by appearing in a dream to a local monk. The vision informed the monk where the saint had been buried; when the body was unearthed, it was found to be incorruptible. The relics were translated to the church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Epibatos. In subsequent years, Paraskevi’s relics were translated to various churches in the region. In 1238, the relics were translated from Katikratia to Veliko Tarnovo, capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. In 1393, they were translated to Belgrade, specifically the Ružica Church. When Belgrade fell to Ottoman forces in 1521, the relics were translated to Constantinople. In 1641, the relics were translated to Trei Ierarhi Monastery, in Iaşi, Romania. In 1888, they were translated to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Iaşi.