Commemorated on July 26
St. Paraskeva of Rome was the only daughter of Christian parents, Agathon and Politia, and from a young age, she dedicated herself to God. She spent much of her time in prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures. After the death of her parents, St. Paraskeva distributed all of her wealth 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.
In the second century, she was arrested during the reign of Antoninus Pius 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 torture. A red-hot helmet was placed on her head, and she was thrown into a cauldron filled with boiling oil and pitch. By the power of God, she remained unharmed. When the emperor looked into the cauldron, St. Paraskeva threw a drop of the hot liquid in his face, and he was burned. The emperor begged for help, and the holy martyr healed him. After this miracle, the emperor set her free.
Traveling from one place to another to preach the Gospel, St. Paraskeva arrived in a city ruled by Governor Asclepius. Here again the saint was tried and sentenced to death. She was taken to a cave where there was a large serpent, which was meant to devour her. St. Paraskeva made the Sign of the Cross over the snake and it died. Governor Asclepius and the citizens witnessed this miracle and confessed their faith in Christ. St. Paraskeva was set free and continued preaching.
Later, she came to a city ruled by Governor Tarasius, For her faith, St. Paraskeva again endured fierce tortures and was beheaded in 140.
Many miracles took place at the saint’s tomb – the blind received sight, the lame walked, and barren women gave birth. 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.
Troparion (Tone 5) –
Wise and praiseworthy martyr of Christ Paraskeva:
By accepting courage and rejecting feminine weakness
You conquered the devil!
You put your torturer to shame by crying out:
Come, rend my body with your sword and burn it with fire,
For I go rejoicing to Christ my bridegroom!
By her prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!
Kontakion (Tone 8) –
Come, O faithful, let us sing with one accord a special hymn to Paraskeva!
Triumphant in her fight she shines as a brilliant star above the world;
Expelling the darkness of error, she pours down grace upon the faithful.
Therefore, let us cry out to her: Rejoice, O Victorious Martyr!
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )