Serbian Orthodox Church
St. Demetrius the Great Martyr and Myrrh-gusher of Thessalonica
by Fr. Rodney Torbic
October 26/November 8, 2003
Pilgrims travel to the Church of St. Demetrius in Thessalonica daily. They come to pray,
to venerate the relics of the Great Martyr and to sense the holiness.
The veneration of St. Demetrius continues century after century. The Holy Orthodox Church
proclaims the steadfastness of his faith and the suffering he endured for Christ.
Believers maintain a contemporary relationship with St. Demetrius. Though he lived more
than seventeen hundred years ago, Orthodox believers speak of St. Demetrius and pray to him
in the present.1
St. Demetrius communicates and is the focus of a hope in Jesus Christ. The hope in Jesus
Christ is not diminshed by passing time. The hope in Jesus Christ is magnified by the passing
In the Gospel reading for today, the Lord told his disciples to love one another.
St. John Chrysostom said that Jesus wanted to lead his disciples into friendship.2
In Christ, we find the hope for the establishment of friendships in the world today.
In Christ, we find the hope that good will triumph over evil. In Christ, we find the hope
that light will prevail in times of darkness.
St. Demetrius was confined to a bath-house, a prisoner of Maximian because of his
professed Christianity. Confinement did not limit the effects of St. Demetrius' Christian faith.
Nestor drew strength from the God of St. Demetrius and was able to defeat Lyaeus, the
haughty challenger of citizens.3 The God of St. Demetrius gives strength today
to believers facing the daily challenges in contemporary life.
This strength is found in daily prayer, intercessory prayer to St. Demetrius, asking him
to intercede with the Lord Jesus Christ. This strength in found in knowledge of the countless
miracles attributed to St. Demetrius.
The Holy Orthodox Church describes the suffering body of St. Demetrius as a
medicine for infirmities, a treasury of miracles, as a focus for believers to draw
near for healing.4
A believer need only stand in observing silence in the Church of St. Demetrius in
Thessalonica to see the stream of people coming daily from around the world.
A martyr's death has not silenced St. Demetrius. In Thessalonica and in churches
everywhere, century after century, on every continent, believers proclaim the star-like
radiance of St. Demetrius. Believers proclaim the joy identified with St. Demetrius.5
1The Great Horologian. Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, Massachusetts,
1997, p. 291.
2St. John Chrysostom. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers
Vol. XIV St. Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and The Epistle to the Hebrews.
Edited by Philip Schaff. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan,
1978, p. 282.
3The Great Horologian., p. 291.
5Menaion of the Orthodox Church. ii October. St. John of Kronstadt Press,
Liberty, Tennessee, 1999, 280.
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