The Church celebrates the memory of Holy and Glorious Great-martyr Dimitrios the Myrrh-gusher, one of the most popular saints of the Orthodox Church.
Saint Dimitrios was born in Thessaloniki around AD 280 and lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. He was martyred during the great persecution against Christians after AD 303.
Born to an aristocratic family, at a young age Saint Dimitrios was promoted to the higher ranks of the Roman army. At the same time, he was a distinguished member of the Church and, thanks to his oratory skills, he catechized and taught the Thessalonians. On the one hand, his noble origin and his great Christian faith, and, on the other hand, his desire and courage to transmit the truth of the Holy Gospel, were the factors that brought him face to face with the harsh persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Disregarding the decree of Emperor Diocletian “on the denial of Christianity” (303 AD), Saint Dimitrios was arrested, imprisoned and finally martyred.
During the stadium games, organized by the kings to entertain themselves with the sacrifices to idols, bloodshed and murders of people, a disciple of St. Dimitrios, Nestor, in his effort to show the power of the true God, visited the saint at the bath and received his blessing and wish. Then he went out on the stage and he defeated the giant and invincible Lyaeus after saying “God of Dimitrios, help me!”.
This infuriated the king, who ordered the soldiers to kill Saint Dimitrios, as well as his student Nestor. Some pious Christians secretly entered that bath and buried the relic at the place of martyrdom. He was called “Myroblyte” (Myrrh-gusher) because a miraculous flow of fragrant myrrh had been found beneath his crypt. His martyrdom is the most important church event in Thessaloniki after the visit of Saint Paul the Apostle and the founding of the local Church.
The Church of Saint Dimitrios is built on the tomb of the saint, while as he has performed countless miracles, intervening and saving his homeland in critical historical moments, he is honored as the Patron saint of Thessaloniki and in the consciousness of the people has been identified with the history of the city.