The Great Martyr Parasceva of Iconium was born into a wealthy family of devout Christians. The name Paraskeva translates as “Friday”, and the parents gave it to their daughter in commemoration of the Friday of Christ’s passions on the eve of His death on the cross. Since her childhood, Parasceva dedicated herself to the service of God. She took a vow of celibacy and promised to God to spend her whole life educating Pagans about the true faith.
Unprepared to receive the word of God, many Pagans met her preaching with hostility. They seized her and delivered her to the Roman authorities. The prefect of her city demanded of her to make a sacrifice to a Pagan godhead. Parasceva refused and endured bitter torments. Her executioners stripped her of her clothes, tied her to a tree and tore her skin with iron claws, beating her with rods. But immediately, the Lord healed her wounds by the power of His grace. Nevertheless, the executioners persisted, and finally, they cut off her head.
The Orthodox revere Saint Parasceva as a protectress of crops and cattle. They invoke her name in their prayers for the healing of the sick, in body and spirit.