With dull knees, tired and battered by the hermitage and the harshness of Golgotha (a row as thick as ten people that, in many hours, beat small, serpentine, about five kilometers), thousands of pilgrims were driven to Iasi under the canopy of the Pious Parascheva. The country’s divan was exempted from the case. As if in mockery, a path was cut to her relics among the exhausted believers, even if some pilgrims found the strength to endure three times the turn for the Saint to fulfill their prayers.
In the background, the murmur of vespers, matins and liturgies, punctuated by bells and choirs. The pilgrims lining the Metropolitan Cathedral with their bodies sang distinctly, while those in the kilometer row repeated with their watches the prayers that brought them from everywhere to the silver reliquary. They begged for healing, wedding rings, babies in the womb, bigger pensions, winning the lottery, abundance at the wedding or the fruit of the earth. The politicians seemed troubled by winning a new mandate or by not starting any criminal prosecution. However, they were all calling for Parascheva.
Before wiping off the relic for healing or the eternal ones, basil, autumn flowers, myrrh, icons, talismans and some other things, in the harsh path of their penance, the pilgrims passed by a kind of Wailing Wall. No one ignored him, not even those sitting in line for the first time to the wonders of Parascheva. Some wept after leaning their foreheads against the wall, others carved into the joints places for money, pomelniks and candles, and others mourned and kept their hands on the cold stone during prayers. The rough wall in the courtyard of the Metropolitanate of Moldavia and Bucovina, meant to protect the slope, has become sacred for the faithful who come to Iaşi in recent years.
The Wailing Wall of Jerusalem, cherished by Jews and Muslims alike, the only fragment of the second temple of Herod (destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD) became the most revered place of Judaism and the third for Muslims, after Mecca and Medina. On Strada Crişan, the Wailing Wall from Iaşi is the height of three people and, after a few meters, it does not exceed the waist. It is about ten times smaller than the real Western Wall, which is 488 meters long. Hard as flint, built of volcanic rock bricks, the wall began to be revered especially in recent years, when the organizers of the Moldavian pilgrimage established the route of the faithful destined to reach under the fragrant canopy. From the foundation up, the slatted wall retains thick streaks of smoke. In Jerusalem, the rabbi of the wall collects the writings that cover the wall, considered holy because they are words addressed to God, and buries them on the Mount of Olives. With us, the money ends up in the mercy box, the pennants end up in the Holy Altar, and the candles are melted.
Platoons of dozens of people, demarcated with durable metal fences, walked the last meters to the canopy through a corridor bordered on the right by the wall of prayers and mourning. Before the wall, some believers used to sing in small groups. They did their own jobs up to the wall. They kept their shade with bouquets of flowers, with akathist stones, and crucifixes rose above the crowd. Some, sitting on their knees or on chairs, were reading religious writings, especially about the life of Parascheva. After the toil of the road, they endured the cold of the night in turn. Some of them are missionaries. They stand in line to witness the miracles of Parascheva, some of which they would have been part of. But the overwhelming number is that of fellows afflicted by diseases. After passing the wall, the pilgrims plunged into silence. They stopped again before touching the relics. They murmured and beat the deep gashes until they were free to touch the casket. Under the canopy, they seemed to fall asleep on the smell. It was difficult for them to detach themselves from the reliquary, but they left strengthened by prayer. The relics contemplated under the open sky returned to the cathedral after the last pilgrim touched them.
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