Skip to main content

This past week we commemorated the memory of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr whose relics we have in our Church. This great Saint of the Church hailed from the city of Thessalonika where he was a Christian teacher in the early 4th century.

There are several ways in which this Saint has been depicted in Orthodox iconography. First, simply with two children by his side, referring to him being a teacher and the other as a soldier, a warrior, with spear and shield, riding upon a horse.  This is emblematic of his invincible faith, faith which has the courage to face persecution and martyrdom. During the severe persecutions against the Christians, by the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian in the early 4th century, Demetrius was jailed as a Christian leader for no other reason than his Christian activities in Thessalonika.

As the oral tradition goes, the Emperor Maximian visited the city, where gladiatorial games were ordered to celebrate his visit.  One of the most fierce combatants was Lyacos, literally a giant, who challenged any Christian to a contest to show that they were not as courageous as he was.  Well a young Christian man named Nestor accepted the challenge, receiving the blessing of Demetrius and going on to defeat Lyacos.  Thus, the Emperor, furious over this defeat, ordered the slaying of both Demetrius and Nestor,  who are commemorated on October 26th and October 27th respectively. St. Demetrius is associated with many miracles of healing and is referred to as the Myrrh-giver. The Gospel lesson for this Feastday is from John 15:17-16:2 which explains how the Christian Disciple is to face the world’s hatred.

Holy Great Martyr Demetrius Pray Unto God for us!

St. Demetrios the Great Martyr