Celebration of the dedication day of the Saint Pious Parascheva Church of Voluntari, county of Ilfov

On 14 October 2013, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the semi-basement of the church of Saint Pious Parascheva of Voluntari town, county of Ilfov.

Over one thousand faithful attended the religious service who have come to pray and listen to the sermon of the Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church who spoke about the devotion of the Romanian people for the Protector of Moldova: “The devotion of the Romanian people for Saint Pious Parascheva is greater than that of all the other Christian peoples. She was venerated not only after her relics were brought to Iasi, but much longer before, even at the time of Princes Alexander the Kind of Moldova and Petru Rares. This is why the eparchial cathedral of Roman built by Petru Rares one hundred years before the relics of Saint Pious Parascheva were brought to Iasi, has the greatest fresco presenting the life and wonders of Saint Pious Parascheva. She gathers together the peoples who received her relics for a longer or shorter time, such as the Bulgarians, Serbians, Greeks, but the Saint wanted to stay in Romania, in the Romanian territory. Her relics have been in Iasi since 1641”, His Beatitude said.

“The devotion of the Romanians can be seen not only in monasteries, but also in the parish churches. We do not have many monasteries dedicated to Saint Pious Parascheva, although she is a nun, but we have lots of parish churches. In 2000, we tried to have an inventory, a study on the churches of Romania dedicated to or whose saint protector is Saint Parascheva and we found almost 500. But now this figure was exceeded, because new churches have been built, such as this one which has Saint Pious Parascheva as saint protector. In the Romanian Diaspora too, in Italy, Spain, France, and in even in Paris there is a chapel in the middle of the city dedicated to Saint Pious Parascheva. Why are the people so devoted to Saint Pious Parascheva? It is because she is much useful. Her akatistos is different from those of the other saints because neither the condacs not the icoses speak about her life, but only about the help she gives to those who pray to her. She is the protector of all categories of faithful. She relieves troubles and enlightens the confused. She helps the sick, distressed, grieved, whose troubles cannot be solved only through wisdom and human help. Therefore, Saint Pious Parascheva is much and fast useful”, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church explained.

His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel appreciated the sacrifices of the inhabitants of Voluntari city: “Here, in Voluntari city, a church was built as big as a cathedral. A city willing to be up to the faith of its inhabitants should think that the big church of the city is the symbol of faith, sacrifice and diligence of the people who live in this city. So, besides the practical aspect designed to gather together as many people as possible in the love of the Most Holy Trinity that we celebrate in the Divine Liturgy, it is the symbol of faith and dignity, as well as an expression of the freedom to affirm the faith when God gives us the freedom as gift to be useful to the salvation of the people. This is why we congratulate the Mayor and all the employees of the City Hall of Voluntari for all the efforts made so that this church should be developed, bedecked and painted. When finished we want to consecrate it and offer it as a great gift to our Saint Pious Parascheva. The second reason of our presence here, besides the construction of this wonderful church as big as a cathedral, is the devotion of the faithful of Voluntary. They make the largest number of pilgrims who go every year to the celebration of our Saint Pious Parascheva. This year too, the City Hall organised almost 4000 pilgrims to go to the relics of Saint Pious Parascheva. Although the city is not so big, the devotion of those from Voluntari is greater than that of the faithful of Bucharest. There are 18 altars dedicated to Saint Pious Parascheva in Bucharest, but here, in Voluntari town is the biggest one. This devotion of the faithful and sacrifice show that the Romanian people could affirm their dignity only through sacrifice as reads on the Arch of Triumph: “after centuries of sufferance christianly endured we reached freedom and national unity”. Thus, this sacrifice is for durability. The churches are the edifices that last longest in the history of the Romanian people. Whoever builds a church he builds, in fact, a symbol of eternity manifested in time. The church is the symbol of eternity that crosses the time of history. Why that?; so that the Christians living in various times of history should be taken to the heavenly eternal life”.

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