Saint Parasceve

Saint Parasceve (Свята Параскевія; Sviata Paraskeviia). The name of a number of saints in the church calendar. One of the most popular saints in the Eastern church is Parasceve of Ikonia (in Asia Minor), who was martyred during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Her feast day is 28 October, when girls used to pray to her to give them a spouse soon. Another Parasceve, who is assumed to have been of Slavic origin, lived in the 11th century and gained wide popularity in Byzantium. Her relics are found in Tirnovo (or Tŭrnovo), Bulgaria. Metropolitan Gregory Tsamblak introduced her cult in the Ukrainian church and set her feast day as 14 October. In Belarus a Parasceve-Prakseda is honored on 28 October. She was a princess of Polatsk and a nun who made pilgrimages to many holy places. She died in Rome in 1239 and was canonized by Pope Gregory X in 1273. In the system of Ukrainian Christian folk beliefs, the cult of Parasceve is associated with the cult of Fridays (‘Paraska’ was even used as a synonym for piatnytsiaFriday,’ when women did not work as hard as usual).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of #Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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