Dismissal Hymn of St Demetrios the Great Martyr

Ἦχος γ’ Μέγαν εὕρατο ἐν τοῖς κινδύνοις, σὲ ὑπέρμαχον ἡ οἰκουμένη, Ἀθλοφόρε τὰ ἔθνη τροπούμενον. Ὡς οὖν Λυαίου καθεῖλες τὴν ἔπαρσιν, ἐν τῷ σταδίῳ θαρρύνας τὸν Νέστορα, οὕτως Ἅγιε, Μεγαλομάρτυς Δημήτριε, Χριστὸν τὸν Θεὸν ἱκέτευε, δωρήσασθαι ἡμῖν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

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


Saint Demetrios, the Great Martyr and Myrrh-Gusher, originated from Thessaloniki from an aristocratic family. He lived in the years of Roman Emperor Diocletian (3rd – early 4th century). Demetrios was very fond of his fellow citizens as he was virtuous. He is believed to have been the one of the first catechists of Christianity.

He served as an officer in the Roman Army in the service of Diocletian, and so excelled in this role, the Emperor declared him Duke of Thessaly. Diocletian did not know that Demetrios was a Christian. However, this was soon made known to him, and Diocletian called Demetrios before him. The Emperor advised him to renounce Christianity and enjoy the privileges and honours he would offer if he rejected Christ. But Demetrios told the Emperor that only faith in Christ brings eternal life.

Angered, Diocletian ordered his soldiers to torture Demetrius and then to throw him into a cell full of scorpions, so that the Saint would die slowly and agonizingly from their bites. However when Demetrios entered that dark cell, he prayed to Christ and miraculously the poisonous insects disappeared.

In those days the Emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Maximian, came to Thessaloniki, as guest of Diocletian. He had amongst his guards a very strong man, Lyaios. Maximian arranged for fights to the death in which Lyaios would fight anyone who dared accept his challenge to combat against him. No one had the courage to stand before him in the arena. Saint Demetrios had a friend, Nestor, who was of small stature. So he went to the prison where Demetrios was and asked for his blessing to fight Lyaios. The Saint blessed his friend and predicted his victory. So it happened, Nestor killed Lyaios. Diocletian, then outraged, killed Nestor and Demetrios with his spear.

From the tomb of the Saint, housed in the present-day Church of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki, flows a myrrh which has miraculous qualities; which is why Saint Demetrios is also called Myrrh-gusher. Saint Demetrius is considered the patron saint of Thessaloniki. With his help, the city was saved many times from the raids of the Avars, Slavs and Bulgarians. His feast day is commemorated on October 26th


Source: Lychnos October/November 2017