The Passion of the Holy, Glorious Great-Martyr Demetrios

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,

(Source: From Symeon Metarphrastes and The Great Collection of Readings of the blessed Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow.)

Apolytikion (Dimissal) Hymn of Great Martyr of Christ, Demetrios. Third Mode

The world has found in you a great champion in time of peril, as you emerged the victor in routing the barbarians. For as you brought to naught the boast of Lyaios, imparting courage to Nestor in the stadium, in like manner, holy one, great Martyr Demetrios, invoke Christ God for us, that He may grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion in Second Mode

God, who gave you invincible power and with care kept your city invulnerable, royally clothed the Church in purple with the streams of your blood, for you are her strength, O Demetrios.


The holy great-Martyr Demetrios was born in the city of Thessaloniki and was the son of noble and pious parents. His father was the Military Governor of Thessaloniki, Greece and secretly believed in our Lord Jesus Christ and labored for Him. He did not dare, however, to confess the Lord's Most Holy Name openly, for at that time the impious pagan Roman emperors were persecutors of Christians and had raised up a great persecution against the faithful. Since he feared the threats of the cruel and iniquitous rulers, he hid within himself the pearl of great price, the faith which is in Christ. But in his palace he secretly kept two holy icons, adorned with gold and precious stones, one of our incarnate Savior and the other of the Most Holy Theotokos. A lamp always burned before them, and he censed them with incense; and together with his wife, who also believed in Christ, he prayed to the True God, Who dwells in the heavens, to His Only-Begotten Son, and to our immaculate Lady. This pious couple was exceedingly merciful to the poor and gave abundant alms to those who asked of them. But they had no children, and this grieved them greatly; therefore, they prayed God fervently that He grant them an heir.

In a short time their prayer was heard, and they were granted a child, the holy and blessed Demetrios. All Thessaloniki rejoiced with its Governor, who had a feat prepared for the entire city and especially for the poor, to thank God for the gift He had bestowed upon them.

When the boy reached an age at which he could know and understand truth, his parents took him into the room where they prayed. They showed him the holy icons and said, "This is the depiction of the One, True God, Who made heaven and earth, and this is the image of the Most Pure Virgin Theotokos." They instructed Demetrios in the holy faith and in everything which leads to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. They explained to him, moreover, how vain are the vile gods of the heathen and their lifeless idols. Through his parents' teaching and especially the workings of the grace of God within him, Demetrios came to know the Truth. He believed in God with his whole heart, bowed down before the holy icons, and kissed them reverently. After this his parents secretly summoned a priest and certain of the Christians whom they knew, and in their hidden chapel they had their son baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

After the child was baptized, he received instruction in the law of God. As he grew, his understanding was strengthened, and he ascended from rung to rung on the ladder of virtue. The grace of God, which was upon him, enlightened the boy and made him wise. When he had already reached manhood, his parents departed from this temporal life, leaving Saint Demetrios both their possessions and the example of their good deeds.

As soon as the pagan Roman emperor Maximian learned of the repose of the Military Governor, he summoned his son Demetrios. The emperor perceived that Demetrios was an intelligent and brave man, and so he made him the new Governor of Thessaloniki. He said to the Saint, "Protect the city in which you were born and cleanse it of the impious Christians. Put to death all who call upon the name of the Crucified One."

After he had received the governorship, Saint Demetrios returned to Thessaloniki where he was received with honor by the citizens. Immediately, he began to confess and to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he instructed all the people in the holy faith. He became a second Apostle Paul to the citizens of Thessaloniki, leading them to know the True God and uprooting the ungodliness of polytheism. But within a short time the pagan Roman emperor Maximian learned that his Governor Demetrios was a Christian and had led many to his faith. When the emperor heard of this he was enraged. At that time he was returning from a campaign against the Samaritans, and so he went to Thessaloniki. Before the emperor reached the city, Demetrios put into the hands of a trusted servant name Lupus all his possessions, the wealth he had inherited from his parents, his gold and silver, precious stones, and raiment. He instructed Lupus to distribute these things quickly to the poor and needy, saying, "Give away my earthly riches and let us seek the wealth of heaven."

Then Demetrios began to pray and to fast, preparing himself to receive the crown of martyrdom. As soon as the emperor began to make enquiry as to the truth of what was said concerning Demetrios, the Saint hastened to appear before him, boldly confessing himself to be a Christian and reviling the polytheism of the pagans. The emperor then ordered that Demetrios be imprisoned. There the Saint prayed in the words of David, "O God, be attentive unto helping me; O Lord, make haste to help me (Psalm 69). For Thou art my patience, O Lord; O Lord, thou art my hope from my youth. On Thee have I been made fast from the womb; from my mother's womb Thou art my protector. In Thee continually is my singing of praise (Psalm 70); I will chant unto my God for as long as I have my being (Psalm 145). My lips shall rejoice when I chant unto Thee; moreover, my tongue will meditate on Thy righteousness all the day long (Psalm 70).

Saint Demetrios following his arrest was kept bound in a bathhouse. While the games were under way in the city, Maximian was a spectator there. A certain friend of his, a barbarian who was a noble wrestler, Lyaeus by name, waxing haughty because of the height and strength of his body, boasted in the stadium and challenged the citizens to a contest within him. All that fought with him were defeated. Seeing this, a certain youth named Nestor, acquaintance of Demetrios', came to the Saint in the bath-house and asked his blessing to fight Lyaeus single handed. Receiving this blessing and sealing himself with the sign of the precious Cross, he presented himself in the stadium, and said, "O God of Demetrios, help me!" and straightway he engaged Lyaeus in combat and smote him with a mortal blow to the heart, leaving the former boaster lifeless upon the earth. Maximian was sorely grieved over this, and when he learned who was the cause of this defeat, he commanded straightway and Demetrios was pierced with lances while he was yet in the bath house. As for Nestor, Maximian commanded that he be slain and be beheaded with his own sword. Holy Martyr Nestor of Thessaloniki is commemorated on the 27th of October.

The holy Christians took the holy relics (remains) and buried them side by side, and from the grave of Saint Demetrios there came forth holy myrrh which cured many diseases. For this reason he is called Myrovletes (Myrrh-flowing). Over his holy grave and the place of his holy Martyrdom there was built a church in the form of basilica which stands to this day. In 1143 A.D. the Emperor Manuel Comnenos sent from Constantinople and brought the holy icon of the Saint which was at his tomb and put in the Monastery of Pantocrator, whose church was built by the Comneni and is called today Zeirek.


The earthquake of October 26th in the year 740 A.D during the reign of Leo the Isaurian, the first of the Iconoclast emperors. This earthquake lasted for eleven or twelve months. The chronicler Theophanes writes: "Churches and monasteries were demolished, and many people died." Many statues fell "together with the land walls of the City as well as many cities and villages in Thrace, Nicomedia in Bythinia, Prainetos and Nicaea, in which only one church was saved." Indeed, a change in the boundaries of the sea was observed in some places.

In memory of this great and terrible earthquake, Saint Joseph, the hymnographer of the Church, wrote a special canon that is chanted on October 26th, at which time we also chant the Service to Saint Demetrios, and this preserved till this day.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal of the Fourth Tone

O Thou Who lookest on the earth and makes it tremble, deliver us from the fearful menace of earthquake, O Christ our God, and by the intercessions of the Theotokos, send down upon us Thy mercies in abundance and save us.

Kontakion of Commemoration of the Earthquake in the Plagal of the Second Tone

Deliver us all from earthquakes, O Lord, and from wounds unbearable on account of our sins, and spare Thy people whom Thou hast purchased with Thy Blood, O Master; and deliver not Thy city to  destruction by terrible earthquakes, for we know none other God besides Thee. And to those who chant do Thou respond: I am with you, and no one shall prevail against you.





The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.


Glory Be To GOD For All Things!


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George