Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Saint Paraskevi and the Dragon

In the Life of Saint Paraskevi we read how she entered a certain city outside the Roman Empire to evangelize the people there. The ruler of this city was King Asklepios, who when informed of her activities had her arrested and brought before his judgment seat. After inquiring what brought her to their city, she boldly confessed that she was a Christian and proclaimed Christ as the true God who made heaven and earth and in these latter days was incarnate, crucified and resurrected for our salvation. At the same time she denounced the soulless idols of paganism, quoting from the Prophet Jeremiah: "Let the gods which have not made heaven and earth perish from off the earth, and from under the sky" (Jer. 10:11).

This response of the Saint disturbed King Asklepios. He therefore had her brought outside the city to a cave wherein dwelled a fearsome dragon. This dragon would hiss loudly and breathe smoke through its mouth, striking the people of the city with terror. Ready to devour the Saint, Paraskevi approached and blew at him, then made the sign of the Cross, declaring: "O most wicked beast, the wrath of God has come against you! Behold, your destruction approaches, because you have consumed many innocent victims!" The dreaded dragon then stopped in its place, hissed loudly, split asunder and disappeared.

Beholding this extraordinary event, King Asklepios and those with him came to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ, and were baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity. Accomplishing these things, Saint Paraskevi departed the city, and returned to Rome where she was from, and there she died a martyr's death by being beheaded after toppling the idols in the Temple of Apollo, and thus received the crown of victory.