Sunday, October 27, 2013



 This glorious Saint, was fearless and victorious in confessing Christ as he strengthened and spread the Christian faith. Born of Christian parents in the third century after Christ, in Salonika, his father was a commander in the military under the emperor Maximilian. The emperor was filled with hatred and bitterness toward the Christian faith and he sought to exterminate it from the face of the earth. After his father departed from this life, the emperor appointed Demetrios to replace him as commander. Demetrios was well known and beloved for his good deeds and bravery in battle.

     Despite the emperor’s animosity toward Christians, Demetrios whose soul lived in Christ, openly taught that man was made by God and that man was placed in Paradise to be happy and content. However the Devil deceived man with the purpose to have him disobey God and cause his condemnation and death. Thus, man believing the Devil, was exiled from beautiful Paradise. God, in order to save mankind, sent His Only-begotten Son to earth. Christ was born to the Ever-virgin Mary and He who was perfect God became perfect man. He was crucified and resurrected from the dead; He ascended into heaven and would come again to judge the living and the dead. This was the constantly repeated message of St. Demetrios.

     The Saint was successful; in bringing many to Christ and everlasting life, while at the same time arousing the fury of the enemies against the Saint. They saw Christianity becoming fruitful and increasing, caused them to decide that they would have to do something to stop blessed Demetrios. They decided that the best thing to do was to have him murdered. They soon found a method to accomplish their wicked task. The Emperor was returning from battle and on his way back to Rome he stopped at Salonika.

They told him about Demetrios’ teachings which grieved Maximilian who demanded that Demetrios be brought to him. At that time, he was sitting on a rock preaching Christ’s teachings, when the soldiers arrived seizing Demetrios they presented him to Maximilian. Demetrios had no fear for he was always ready and willing to surrender his life for Jesus Christ who gave Himself for him.

     Demterios was placed in a cell, then an angel appeared and greeted him: "Rejoice Demetrios, soldier of Christ; Have courage and conquer your enemies." The angel placed a wreath of gold on the Saint’s head, and he was filled with joy and sorrow. Joy for the event that just had taken place and sorrow because he had not yet died for the Savior.

     Maximilian was a worshiper of gods and believed in bloody sacrifices. Having revived the ancient pagan traditions, he had available an athletic giant, named Lyaeus, who was a wrestler who had always proved to be victorious over many. Maximilian called upon the Christians to contend with Lyaeus, as they would fight against paganism. None of them was victorious, as slaughter continued day after day. At that time a young and comely man whose name was Nestor, saw the scene in the stadium. Nestor was a good friend of Demetrios. Seeing the slaughter of Christians, forced to contend against Lyaeus, and observing the wicked delight of the emperor, as the Christians writhed in their death throes, Nestor secretly went to visit Demetrios in his cell. He told him of his intention to do battle and defeat Lyaeus, and Demetrios blessed him with the sign of the Cross as he offered his prayers for him.

     Nestor informed the emperor that it was his desire, with his permission, to fight against the giant, which the emperor granted. When Nestor entered the stadium, he took his dagger and aimed it straight for Lyaeus’ heart, killing him instantly. Maximilian asked him what magic he used. Nestor told him that it was not magic but the power of God through Jesus Christ, from which he obtained his strength. The emperor ordered that Nestor be killed which was immediately done.

     Although Saint Nestor was killed and soon forgotten by the pagans, His bravery, love, and martyrdom is celebrated on the Orthodox Church on October 27 the day after St. Demetrios.

     St. Demetrios is the patron Saint of Salonika where his relics are preserved. A church was built over his tomb which still exists Many miracles have taken place and many churches have been built throughout the world in honor of this great martyr, whose relics have added to his exaltation the words, Myrrhstreamer. For the Lord caused a sweet smelling myrrh to arise from his tomb, hence the name he received from the people. This ointment cures many illnesses and people receive it with great faith.

      A hermit who lived nearby had heard of the myrrh, but did not believe it. He believed that other Saints had martyred more than Demetrios and would not accept that God had so honored him. One night, in a dream, the hermit found himself in Salonika inside the Church of St. Demetrios. In the Church was a man who held the key to the tomb of the Saint. The hermit ordered him to open the tomb, so he could reverence the Saint. After he had prayed, he noticed that the tomb was very wet. The hermit asked the caretaker to dig underneath the tomb so that they could see where the myrrh was coming from. They found a large coffin made of marble. Opening the coffin they found the body of St. Demetrios. The three wounds which he suffered oozed a sweet smelling myrrh. So much was flowing, that the caretaker became soaked. The hermit became so frightened that he would drown from the myrrh, causing him to cry out: St. Demetrios, help me! At that time the hermit awoke finding his body soaked from the holy myrrh. He immediately left the mountain and went to Salonika. After spending a few days there, he returned to his mountain with the belief that St. Demetrios was the greatest Saint of the Church. St. Demetrios’ heart burned with love for Christ who dwelled in him, and he willingly suffered martyrdom being firm evidence of this great and absolute love.

A great champion in dangers,
And a vanquisher of the impious,
Has the world found in you, O victorious,
As you brought down Lyaeus’ arrogance,
By encouraging Nestor in the stadium.
Holy Great Martyr Demetrios,
Beseech Christ God, to grant us
His great mercy.

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