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ST. HARALAMBOS (Charalambos) the Martyr

Honey and beehives are sanctified that day by performing a ritual for health and rich harvest. On St. Haralambos's Day, sick or blind people go to church and pray for healing. According to traditional concepts St. Haralambos is the lord of all illnesses, especially the plague. Doing any housework is strictly forbidden that day, because of the fear of any coming illness. Women are only allowed to bake round bread and decorate it with a cross in the middle and a large wreath at the edge for health. Honey is consecrated in the local church and then all the bread is coated with that honey. The rest of the honey is kept in the house as a remedy. According to the belief, St. Haralambos blesses the land and it gets warmer and ready to be cultivated.

St. Haralambos died as a martyr in 198 AD in the town of Magnesia (in Thessaly) where he was a bishop. He was tortured to death but endured all pain taking it as the victory over the evil and the flesh. In the icons he was presented as the lord of the illness, which he kept in nine chains or held in a bottle.