St. Dimitrios

Celebrated October 26

St Demetrios

Great Martyr Dimitrios, the Myrrh-flowing and Wonderworking Saint, was a Christian and the son of the military commander of Thessalonica in the early fourth century. St. Dimitrios was the only son and was, because of this, most carefully cherished and educated. When his father died, Dimitrios was appointed by Emperor Maximian to take his place. Maximian was an opponent of Christ and charged Dimitrios to persecute and to kill the Christians in that city.

Instead, Dimitrios disobeyed Maximian and openly confessed and preached Christianity. Hearing of this, the Emperor was furious and on his way back from battles against the Sarmathians he went to Thessalonica to look into the matter. He summoned Dimitrios and questioned him about his faith. Dimitrios confessed his belief as well as his disgust for idolatry (and thus openly criticising the Emperor himself). The enraged Emperor cast him into prison, and Dimitrios, knowing his fate, had his servant Lupus give his wealth to the poor (being glad that suffering for Christ was to be his lot).

An angel of God appeared to Dimitrios saying, "Peace be with thee, thou sufferer for Christ; be brave and strong!" After several days, the Emperor sent soldiers to the prison to kill Dimitrios. The soldiers came into the cell finding the Saint at prayer, and killed him with their spears. Christians the secretly took his body and buried it, and his relics began producing a healing fragrant myrrh. A small church was soon built over his relics, and when an Illyrian nobleman, by the name of Leontius, ran prayerfully up to the relics of St. Dimitrios and was completely cured of an incurable disease, he built a much larger church replacing the small one.

Once, when barbarians plundered the city, two maidens were abducted. When the leader of the barbarians learned that the maidens could embroider, he threatened them to produce the likeness of St. Dimitrios. They finished on the eve of the Saint's feast and they wept asking for his forgiveness. Suddenly, Dimitrios appeared and transported them like an angel of God to the safety of his church in Thessalonica and left them among the people during a vigil.

The Saint appeared on other occasions. When Emperor Justinian attempted to move the Saint's relics to Constantinople, flames shot out of the tomb and a voice commanded them to, "Leave them there, and don't touch!" and thus the relics have remained since in Thessalonica. Another time was when a young man responsible for the candles of the church was stealing them and reselling them from his home. Dimitrios appeared to him and told him that he was harming himself and the church. The embarrassed man obeyed for a little while but soon returned to his old ways. One day, when he was about to steal some large candles that had just been lit near the tomb of St. Dimitrios, a booming voice said, "Are you doing this again!" He fell over unconscious, and when he awoke, he related the whole story.

As the defender of Thessalonica, St. Dimitrios has many times appeared and saved the city in times of trouble. The Russians also regarded St. Dimitrios as the protector of Siberia.

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