Saturday, July 12, 2014

Celebrating St. Veronica!

This is our first year to celebrate Name Days in our family. I read a bit about what others do to celebrate (mostly like birthdays with cake and presents), but it didn't seem to work for us. We just celebrated the girls' birthdays this spring, just before this name day, and we've always made a big deal of birthdays, so it would seem strange to switch and this point. I hate to make another day about presents, too, and I really wanted this day to be about learning about the saint.

We celebrated St. Lucia Day last year, our very first name day celebration, and it was simple but really lovely with Lucy-buns for breakfast, we read the story book, and we made St. Lucia crowns.  So we modeled my younger daughter's name day after that celebration. We made a big breakfast with a candle and flowers and St. Veronica's icon on the table. While they were eating I read some of the stories about St. Veronica that I cobbled together from different sources. I especially liked the short piece written by Bishop Demetri (my sources are below).

Then we made handkerchiefs! We talked about the hem of Jesus garment as well as the legend of St. Veronica's veil, so a pretty handkerchief seemed to tie in nicely. We talked about what a "hem"is, and how we touch the hem of the priest's robe in the Great Entrance with faith like St. Veronica. We also talked about Veronica's simple and kind act toward Jesus on the way to the cross. I know some people have made handkerchiefs with an image of Christ on it, but I wasn't sure we could do it nicely, or what we'd do with the finished product - so we just made pretty handkerchiefs. I printed some embroidery templates I found online, and the girls colored them with iron on crayons. Then we ironed them onto the handkerchiefs. (I made these handkerchiefs myself from white fabric I had in my closet. I cut squares and hemmed them the day before. This was my last minute use-what-you-have plan.) 

We probably won't make handkerchiefs every year, but I think handkerchiefs have lots of craft and gifting potential. They will be a small way to reinforce the lessons we learn from St. Veronica each year, the way that candles will be for St. Lucia, apples for St. Euphrosynos, red eggs for St. Mary, etc.


 St. Veronica
1. The Gospel account and teaching: 
"The moment in which St. Veronica dares to touch Jesus – out of her great hope that He can heal her – can teach us a great deal about the immense power to be found in our trust that God loves us and wants to heal us of our infirmities!” – Bishop Demetri, Auxiliary Bishop, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America (

2. The statue of Jesus she erected, as told by the historian Eusebius in the early 4th century:
“Since I have mentioned this city I do not think it proper to omit an account which is worthy of record for posterity. For they say that the woman with an issue of blood, who, as we learn from the sacred Gospel, received from our Saviour deliverance from her affliction, came from this place, and that her house is shown in the city, and that remarkable memorials of the kindness of the Saviour to her remain there. For there stands upon an elevated stone, by the gates of her house, a brazen image of a woman kneeling, with her hands stretched out, as if she were praying. Opposite this is another upright image of a man, made of the same material, clothed decently in a double cloak, and extending his hand toward the woman. At his feet, beside the statue itself, [2298] is a certain strange plant, which climbs up to the hem of the brazen cloak, and is a remedy for all kinds of diseases. They say that this statue is an image of Jesus. It has remained to our day, so that we ourselves also saw it when we were staying in the city. Nor is it strange that those of the Gentiles who, of old, were benefited by our Saviour, should have done such things, since we have learned also that the likenesses of his apostles Paul and Peter, and of Christ himself, are preserved in paintings, the ancients being accustomed, as it is likely, according to a habit of the Gentiles, to pay this kind of honor indiscriminately to those regarded by them as deliverers.” – Eusebius (

3.  The meaning of the name "Veronica" (from the Greek for Bernice) and the veil of Veronica. 
On the first Good Friday, St. Veronica was the woman who stepped out of the crowd and wiped the perspiring face of Christ as he struggled to carry the Cross on the road to Calvary. The cloth she used miraculously retained an imprint of the countenance of the suffering Messiah." From

4. The above website also includes the Stichera for Lord I have cried, which are really lovely. I couldn't keep my kids attention long enough to read these, but I'll hang on to them for the future:

Tone 8
By humbly and courageously touching the hem of Christ’s garment with faith/ Holy Mother Veronica/ your issue of blood of twelve years was healed by the Master/ who then endowed you with the gift of healing/ and as rivers of spiritual waters overflowing their banks// you water those sick and suffering, with the healing grace of God.

Your name means true image, /for with true compassion, you used your veil to gently wipe Christ’s face as he carried His Cross./ His image remained on your veil,/ and you carried His wonderworking icon and the gospel to those in need./ Holy Mother Veronica, //teach us to seek healing through the One True God and Savior of our souls.

Who would not wonder at and glorify faithfully the unseen miracles of humble Veronica? O the wonder and glory of God given grace! / Teach us by thy example/ to turn with faith to God for the healing of our souls and bodies.

Glory…   same tone
Your holy feast has become a bright heaven of salvation, / O Holy Mother Veronica, / that shines like the sun with the action of divine healings;/ your miracles of salvation shine like stars.// Teach us to pray with faith to Christ for the healing of our souls and bodies.

Troparion…  Tone 8
The image of God was preserved in you Holy Mother Veronica,
For taking up your cross you followed after Christ.
Teaching us to disregard the flesh for it passes away,
but rather to nurture the soul, for it is immortal.
Therefore, your spirit is rejoicing with the Angels Oh Holy Mother Veronica

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