October 14 - Venerable Paraskevḗ of Serbia
St. Paraskevḗ is much loved in the Orthodox world for her boundless charity. Struck at a young age by the Lord’s command, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mt 16:24), she started giving her clothing to the poor street children. (Her parents were NOT pleased!). She became a nun, lived an exemplary ascetic life in the desert, then followed God’s prompting to finish her years in her own hometown. Her relics traveled to several countries before she arrived in Iasi, Romania. She remains in the cathedral there, and people from all over the world come to venerate her.
In our time of discord, confusion, and increasing financial hardship, she reminds us that true love of God necessarily brings true love of neighbor, and that love can spread from person to person to an extent that we will never know. True, most of us can’t do much, but we can all reach out in love to someone who is in need of physical goods, help, or just a kind word. If we persevere in these small things, we may be called to bigger things. Or we may, at the end, find out that these small things ARE the big things, and only God knows the extent of the good that was done.
Credit: Icon of Venerable Paraskevḗ (Petka) of Serbia, courtesy of OCA.org.