July 13, 2021, marks 247 years since the holy relics of St. Demetrius the New, the most valuable treasure of the Patriarchal Cathedral, were brought to Bucharest.
How did the relics of St. Demetrius arrive in Bucharest?
The historical context in which the honorable relics arrived in the Romanian Capital was the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774. The battles were fought on Romanian soil but also on the southern bank of the Danube River.
When Russian General Pyotr Saltykov arrived with his army in the village of Basarabov so that the Turks would not desecrate the honorable relics of St. Demetrius, he ordered that they be taken to Russia.
When the procession passed through Bucharest, a rich merchant of Macedonian-Romanian origin, named Hagi Dimitrie, but also Metropolitan Gregory II of Wallachia, asked the Russian general to leave the relics to the Romanian people and the country’s Metropolis, as a consolation for the many material damages and sufferings endured by the Romanians during the war, especially since Saint Demetrius was of Wallachian origin.
The general was persuaded and listened to their petitions. As a result, the relics of St. Demetrius were placed with great honor in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Bucharest on July 13, 1774.
The saint’s right hand was sent to Kyiv, where it is still preserved today. In this way, Saint Demetrius the New or Demetrius Basarabov became the protector of Bucharest and the whole country.