The feast of Saint Charalampos began at Oţetari Church in Bucharest with a procession with the hieromartyr’s relics, led by Dean Mihai Popescu and Parish Priest Cătălin Ciocan. The relics of the saint, considered a protector against the plague, were donated in 1866 by Primate Metropolitan Nifon, who was baptized at Oţetari Church.
“I gladly responded to the invitation of Parish Priest Catalin Ciocan to be in communion for this feast,” said Dean Mihai Popescu on February 10.
He evoked the help of Saint Charalampos during the Caragea’s Plague (1812-1814) when many believers asked for the saint’s help.
Saint Charalampos is a deliverer of contagious diseases, and that is why he sometimes appears depicted in the icon holding a beast in a chain, which symbolizes the plague.
“Even today, after so many months of humanity fighting this virus, there is a great need for prayer to the saints to get through these difficult times,” said Father Mihai Popescu.
Primate Metropolitan Nifon donated the relics in 1866 as a sign of gratitude. “He grew up in this Oţetari neighborhood. In this church, he was baptized, he learned the psalms and read at the chant stand,” Father Catalin Ciocan said.
The Metropolitan of Wallachia offered the church a fragment of the finger of Saint Charalampos, and thus, the church received its third patron saint. Oţetari Church dates from 1680 and has as patron saints the Holy Archangels and Saint Nicholas.
The church in Bucharest is also notable for its mural painting, which belongs to one of the most important Romanian artists, Gheorghe Tattarescu.
St. Charalampos was Bishop of Magnesia (Asia Minor) and was martyred at the behest of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (193-221) because he had confessed his faith in Christ, even baptized the emperor’s daughter, Galina, and all her courtiers. The saint was 113 years old when he suffered martyrdom. He is celebrated on February 10.