Monday, May 2, 2016

Saint Demetrios, the Great Champion

October 25, 2011 Posted by  
Filed under Teachings of the Fathers

A great champion hath the whole world found thee to be when in grave perils; for thou dost put to flight the heathen, O victorious one. As thou didst humble Lyaeus’s arrogance and gavest boldness to Nestor in the stadium, thus, O holy Great Martyr Demetrios, do thou entreat Christ our God that we be granted great mercy.

Apolytikion of the Saint, Third Tone

Saint Demetrios was a Thessalonian, a most pious son of pious and noble parents, and a teacher of the Faith of Christ. When Emperor Maximian first came to Thessalonica in 290, he raised the Saint to the rank of Duke of Thessaly. But when it was discovered that the Saint was a Christian, he was arrested and kept bound in a bath-house. While the games were under way in the city, Maximian was a spectator there. A certain friend of his, a barbarian who was a notable wrestler, Lyaeus by name, waxing haughty because of the height and strength of his body, boasted in the stadium and challenged the citizens to a contest with him. All that fought with him were defeated. Seeing this, a certain youth named Nestor, an acquaintance of Demetrius’s, came to the Saint in the bath-house and asked his blessing to fight Lyaeus single-handed. Receiving this blessing and sealing himself with the sign of the precious Cross, he presented himself in the stadium and said, “O God of Demetrius help me!” and straightway he engaged Lyaeus in combat and smote him with a mortal blow to the heart, leaving the former boaster lifeless upon the earth. Maximian was sorely grieved over this, and when he learned who was the cause of this defeat, he commanded straightway and Demetrius was pierced with lances while he was yet in the bath-house. As for Nestor, Maximian commanded that he be slain with his own sword.

Adapted from The Great Horologion published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery

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