May 4 – Proclus Day: history, traditions and customs of the holiday


May 4, 2022, 06:00 | Culture

Today it is forbidden to harm plants, including trampling grass, breaking branches, cutting down trees and trimming bushes.

May 4 – Proclus Day: history, traditions and customs of the holiday

On May 4, the Orthodox Church honors the memory of the martyred Puteolian martyrs who suffered during the period of iconoclasm and persecution under the despot Diocletian. All of them swore allegiance to the Lord and gave their lives as a sign of obedience and sincere faith. A religious holiday is named after one of them, informs Ukr.Media.

The story of the saint's life

Little information has come down to our time about the life of Proculus. He lived in the 3rd-4th century in the Campanian Puteoli (now the Italians call the city Pozzuoli) and held the rank of deacon in the local church.

During his service, Rome was ruled by Gaius Aurelius Diocletian, who became famous for his ridiculous temper and intolerance towards dissenters, in particular, Christians, whom he persecuted. Having received a report about the religiosity of the priest, the emperor ordered to throw Proculus together with Sessius, also a minister of the church, into prison to await the verdict. In the same prison, Eutychius and Auktion, who were previously convicted for their faith in Christ, were held. Common views united the men and did not allow them to break in the cruel conditions of imprisonment.

At that time, according to the decree of the ruler, the saint Iannuarius and two priests – Disiderius and Faust – were arrested and brought to the court. Timofey, being the ruler of the campaign, ordered to throw the bishop into a red-hot furnace, but he came out unscathed and incurred the wrath of the military commander. Then the martyr was beaten with iron rods until his muscles exposed his bones, and thrown into the dungeon with the rest of the Christians.

In the morning, the prisoners were taken out to be torn apart by wild predators, but the animals did not touch them. Maddened Timofey shouted that all these were tricks of Christian sorcery and immediately went blind for what was said. Seeing the man's pain and suffering, the prisoners began to pray to the Lord for his health, and the Corypheus found the gift of sight. This enraged Timothy even more, and he ordered the execution of all the priests by beheading.

When darkness descended on the city, the brothers and companions of the slain from the surrounding cities took their bodies, and so that each city received the relics of the martyrs, so that to receive grace before God. The remains of the hieromartyr Proculus were transported to Pozzuoli, and to this day it is believed that the righteous man protects these territories from calamities.

Traditions and customs of the celebration: how the date was celebrated by our ancestors

Our ancestors celebrated Proclus Day with family gatherings without noisy singing. It was believed that all household work should be pushed to the background and free time should be devoted to sacred rituals and reading prayers. Housewives cursed evil spirits to protect the house and livestock from the evil eye and damage. At the same time, it is necessary to stand strictly facing the west, since this side is a symbol of hiding evil power. It is noteworthy that it was on the western side of the temple buildings that the doors were built so that the parishioners could conditionally come from the darkness into the light. Those who could not read conspiracies themselves invited a healer, who fumigated the farms with special incense and cursed demons.

On Proklov Day, young girls gathered and led dances around the apple trees. Such a tree was not chosen by chance – from ancient times it was identified with the biblical tree of knowledge, it was considered a symbol of harmony and family happiness.


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