More than 8,000 pilgrims were standing in line yesterday to worship the relics of St Parascheva at the Metropolitan Church of Iasi, with the line nearly 2-kilometre-long, according to Mediafax. “Over 8,000 pilgrims are standing in line, and their number is rising. People have come to Iasi from all over the country. The line stretches for nearly two kilometers,” said Major Marius Taranu, public relations officer at the Bacau Gendarmerie Unit deployed to provide public order around the Cathedral. He said that some 60,000 pilgrims filed past the relics since Tuesday morning, when the holy relics of St Parascheva were taken out of the Cathedral and put in a box in front of the church. “There have also been some incidents. A young female was caught stealing RON 94 from a stall, and is being investigated for qualified theft. Ten fines have been issued, of which five for unauthorized marketing of some products,” the major added.
Also, the pilgrims can see the relics of Holy Martyr Policarp, the patron of the poor, brought from Greece. The faithful also made a stopover at the St Andrew Church. “As you can see, we welcome them with knot-shaped bread, flowers and the Gospel Book,” Realitatea TV quoted Vasile Nechita, parish priest St Andrew Church, as saying.
A few thousand believers Wednesday evening attended a procession called the Saints Way, with the boxes containing the holy relics of St Parascheva and St Policarp being carried along the streets in downtown Iasi. The holy liturgy will be officiated this morning by scores of priests led by Teofan, Metropolitan Bishop of Moldavia and Bukovina on a specially built scene in front of the Cathedral. Saint Parasheva is held as the patron saint of Moldavia, and is celebrated on Oct 14, when the city of Iasi becomes the largest pilgrimage place in Romania. Her relics have been kept in the church of the Holy Three Hierarchs” Monastery since 1641. On the evening of Dec. 26, 1888, the building was engulfed in flames from a lighted candle near the box containing the relics. According to the accounts at the time, the whole building burned to ashes, save for the relics which were unscathed.