The Holy Great Martyr Demetrius
Wonderworker of Thessalonica
and the Commemoration of the Great Earthquake

From the Prologue by Saint Nicholai
This glorious and wonderworking saint was born in Thessalonica of noble and devout parents. Implored of God by childless parents, Demetrius was their only son, and so was raised and educated with great care. Demetrius's father was a commander in Thessalonica. When his father died, Emperor Maximian appointed Demetrius as commander in his place. As he appointed him, Maximian, an opponent of Christ, particularly recommended that he persecute and exterminate the Christians in Thessalonica. Demetrius not only disobeyed the emperor but openly confessed and preached the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Thessalonica. When the emperor heard of this he became furious with Demetrius. Then, when he was returning from battle against the Sarmatians, Maximian stopped at Thessalonica to investigate the matter. The emperor summoned Demetrius and questioned him about his faith. Demetrius openly acknowledged his Christian Faith to the emperor and also denounced the emperor's idolatry. Maximian cast Demetrius into prison. Knowing what was awaiting him, Demetrius gave all his goods to his faithful servant Lupus to distribute to the poor, and joyfully awaited his imminent suffering for Christ the Lord. An angel of God appeared to him in prison, saying: ``Peace be to you, O sufferer of Christ; be brave and be strong!'' After several days, the emperor sent soldiers to the prison to kill Demetrius. The soldiers found the saint of God at prayer and ran him through with lances. Christians secretly took his body and honorably buried it. Healing myrrh flowed from the body of the martyr of Christ, curing many of the sick. Soon, a small church was built over his relics.
An Illyrian nobleman, Leontius, was afflicted with an incurable illness. He hastened, with prayer, to the relics of St. Demetrius and was completely healed. In thanksgiving, Leontius erected a much larger church on the site of the old church. The saint appeared to him on two occasions. When Emperor Justinian wanted to translate the relics of the saint from Thessalonica to Constantinople, flaming sparks sprang from the tomb and a voice was heard: ``Stop, and do not touch!'' And thus, the relics of St. Demetrius have remained for all time in Thessalonica. As the protector of Thessalonica, St. Demetrius has appeared many times, and on many occasions has saved Thessalonica from great calamity. His miracles are without number. The Russians considered St. Demetrius to be the protector of Siberia, which was conquered and annexed to Russia on October 26, 1581.

The Commemoration of the Great Earthquake of Constantinople
In the year 740, during the reign of Emperor Leo the Isaurian, there was a terrifying and prolonged earthquake in Constantinople. The people considered this a punishment from God for their sins, and prayed with great repentance to the Most-holy Theotokos and St. Demetrius, until God showed mercy and the earthquake ceased.

HYMN OF PRAISE
The Holy Great-martyr Demetrius

Thessalonica glorifies its wonderful saint-
St. Demetrius, servant of the Most-high God.
         Demetrius, the commander,
         Servant of the Creator and Lord.

St. Paul bedewed Thessalonica with tears,
Demetrius watered it with his blood.
         Demetrius, the commander,
         Servant of the Creator and Lord.

The tears of the apostle and the blood of the martyr
Are the glory, salvation and pride of Thessalonica.
         Demetrius, the commander,
         Servant of the Creator and Lord.

Let us also glorify Christ's soldier,
The myrrh-gushing saint and courageous martyr.
         Demetrius, the commander,
         Servant of the Creator and Lord.