When did Saint Demetrius live and where was he born?
Saint Demetrios was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, between 280 - 284 AD. and lived in the period of the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian.
He came from an aristocratic family and in a short period of time rose to the top ranks in the Roman army. In fact, at the age of 22 he received the rank of Chiliarch.
The conversion of Saint Demetrius to Christianity
In 303 AD Saint Demetrios became a Christian while serving as an officer in the Roman army under the command of the Tetrarch Galerius Maximianus.
As soon as the Saint's faith became known, the emperor Diocletian ordered his imprisonment, on the charge that he had ignored the imperial decree "rejecting Christianity".
When Saint Demetrius met with Nestor
Inside the prison, Saint Demetrios met another young Christian, Nestor, who was going to duel with the fearsome gladiator of the time, Lyaeus.
Nestor, shortly before his duel, met with Saint Demetrios and asked to help him.
Saint Demetrios granted his wish and Nestor defeated Lyaios!
This angered the Emperor and he immediately ordered both of them to be put to death.
How Saint Demetrius is depicted in Byzantine icons
In Byzantine icons and modern Hagiography, Saint Demetrios is shown several times as a rider on a red horse trampling the infidel Lyaeus.
The place where the Saint was martyred and his tomb
The body of Saint Demetrios was buried in the place of his martyrdom, in the Crypt located in the Holy Church of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki.
From the tomb of the Saint, it was created a well that gushed forth myrrh, a fact that gave the Saint the nickname “myrrh-gusher” (Myrovlitis).
Dismissal Hymn of St Demetrios the Great Martyr
The whole world has found you as a mighty champion in dangers, O victor, who rout the nations. Therefore as you destroyed the pride of Lyaios in the stadium by giving Nestor courage, holy great Martyr Demetrios, implore Christ God to grant us his great mercy
Μέγαν εὕρατο ἐv τοῖς κιvδύvοις, σὲ ὑπέρμαχοv, ἡ οἰκουμένη, Ἀθλοφόρε τὰ ἔθνη τροπούμενον. Ὡς οὖν Λυαίου καθεῖλες τὴν ἔπαρσιν, ἐν τῷ σταδίῳ θαῤῥύvας τὸν Νέστορα, οὕτως Ἅγιε, Μεγαλομάρτυς Δημήτριε, Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ἱκέτευε, δωρήσασθαι ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.