Church holiday March 17, 2023: what is celebrated, what cannot be done

Orthodox holiday today – the day of memory of St. Gerasim of Jordan and the holy martyrs Paul and Juliana.

 Church holiday March 17 /

On March 17, the Orthodox Church honors the memory of the holy martyrs Paul and Juliana, as well as St. Gerasim of Jordan, a monk whose best friend was a lion. UNIAN tells about the history of the saints, the amazing friendship between a man and a predator, as well as signs and prohibitions of the day.

Church holiday March 17 – the day of memory of Gerasim of Jordan

Saint Gerasimos was born in Lycia (now the territory of Turkey). As a young man, he decided to become a monk and went to live in the Thebaid Desert in Egypt. Later he moved to Palestine, and then to the Jordan River, where he founded a monastery.

The Gerasim Monastery had very strict rules: five days a week the monks spent in the desert, on dry bread and water, in prayer and wove baskets from palm branches. And on Saturday and Sunday, everyone gathered in the monastery and took communion, took bread and water with them, and again went to the desert. During Lent, Gerasim completely refused food until Easter itself.

There is a case when once in the desert Gerasim met a lame lion. The saint was not afraid and pulled the thorn out of the beast’s paw and washed the wound. Since then, the lion has not gone far from the monastery, eating bread from his hands and not attacking anyone. They named the lion Jordan. Once Gerasim doubted the fidelity of the lion and thought that he had eaten the donkey. The lion was forced to carry water. But the merchant actually took the donkey – he decided that the animal got lost. When the merchant was driving back, the lion rushed to the caravan and by the bridle led the donkey to the owner. Gerasim of Jordan admitted the mistake and since then they have been inseparable from the lion. When the monk died, Jordan refused water and food and died on the grave of the monk. He was buried nearby. Saint Gerasimos is always depicted with a lion at his feet.

Church holiday March 17 – the day of memory of the holy martyrs Paul and Juliana

Paul and his sister Juliana lived in the Phoenician city of Ptolemais in the 3rd century and professed the Christian faith.

That was the time of the reign of Emperor Aurelian and the time of the persecution of Christians. Once the emperor arrived in Ptolemais, among those who met was Paul, who signed himself with the sign of the cross, and this was noticed. The man was seized and thrown into prison. The next day they were judged, and Paul spoke openly about his faith in Christ. For this he was tortured. Juliana stood up for her brother and publicly began to accuse the emperor. The girl was seized and also began to be tortured, but both she and her brother withstood everything. The three soldiers who tortured the saints were so amazed that they immediately believed in Christ. These men were immediately executed. Juliana was given to a brothel for desecration, but everyone who tried to touch the saint lost their sight. Then the angry emperor ordered the execution of the saints.

Signs for March 17

Signs for March 17 /

The national holiday of March 17, 2023 is called Gerasim Grachevnik – usually at this time rooks flew in:

  • rooks arrived that day – in a month the snow will come down, and if they arrived earlier – there may be a crop failure;
  • if the birds return to their nests, it will be early spring;
  • if it is dry and sunny that day, there will be many berries in the forest.

On this day, the housewives baked cookies from sour rye dough – “rooks” so that the birds would bring warmth with them.

What can you do on March 17

On this day, it was supposed to do a general cleaning – sweep and scrape the farthest corners, clean the closets, ventilate the rooms. They did this so that all bad things left the house. Also on March 17 it was necessary to make and hang birdhouses. Girls can guess about marriage, they usually went out and looked who would meet first: if a woman is soon to get married, a man will have to wait.

What not to do today

On March 17, it is forbidden to offend birds and in no case should one destroy their nests – otherwise one cannot see happiness on earth. It is not advised to make large purchases or go on a long journey on this day – you can be left without money and a roof over your head. It was also impossible to leave old shoes in the house – evil spirits could hide in it, so everything worn out was thrown away.

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