ST. PROCOPIUS, the Bee-Keeper

ST. PROCOPIUS, the Bee-Keeper

7/8/2024 9:00:00 AM
Name day of everyone named Prokopi.

According to traditional beliefs, St. Procopius (in BG, St. Prokopi) is connected to the bee-keeping – hence his name. Early in the morning, bee-keepers’ wives bake two ritual loaves of bread so that bees would gather lots of honey. Before sunrise they take those loaves to the bee hives, burn incense and coat them in honey. Then they all go to the church service, carrying a bow of honey, which they leave for a night inside the church and take home the next day. That honey is believed to have unique healing abilities.

A ram is ritually slaughtered at a sacred place outside the village and then a large table is set for everybody to join. On this day every woman is supposed to makes a “grass bread” (a ritual bread with the image of a bee-hive). The popular concept is that the hive holds the bee family together and therefore this bread is given away only to relatives - to be healthy and to live long. No one is supposed to throw water among the bee-hives, especially “night water”. The story goes that once upon a time a woman, coming back from the fields, prepared the dough and kneaded it. She put it in the pan and threw it into the oven. While preparing the dinner, it became dark.

So she threw out the water from the trough right into the yard on the grass. They went to sleep and in the morning her hands became red, swollen and covered with white blisters. They took her to a medicine man and he said that she must have thrown out “night water” on the fairies and her hands will dry up. Everybody has remembered ever since that used water is never thrown out during the night. People put three coals in it and keep it at home until morning comes.

That day the Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of Holy Martyr Procopius, who died in great suffering for the Christian faith, being severely tortured by the order of the Emperor Diocletian in 303.