Demetrius, Ss.

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Demetrius of Alexandria, bishop (189231), patron of Origen, and first bishop of that see of whom there is certain knowledge. While the catechetical school of al exandria flourished during his episcopate, it is most probable that neither clement nor origen were connected with that institution despite the generally accepted stories based on the Church history of Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, 6.23, 8, 14, 19, 26) and St. Jerome's De viris illustribus (ch. 54). He defended Origen after his

rash self-mutilation, but reacted unfavorably when he learned that Origen, though still a layman, had preached in churches in Palestine. When still later (c. 230) Origen was ordained by the Bishop of Caesarea without permission of his own bishop, hence against the Church's law, Demetrius held local synods that condemned Origen and deposed him from the priesthood. Letters concerning the easter controversy ascribed to Demetrius are not authentic; nor is Jerome's statement that Demetrius sent St. pantaenus as a missionary to Yemen and Ethiopia.

Feast: Oct. 9.

Demetrius (or Dimitri) the Megalomartyr, honored as "the Great Martyr" especially among the Slavs, martyred probably in Sirmium (Mitrovica) in the early fourth century, during the persecution of Maximian. His cult was established in Salonika, where in the fifth century a great basilica was erected in his honor, probably by Leontius, Prefect of Illyricum. His protection was invoked against evil spirits, and as his cult spread through both the East and the West, he was looked upon as a never failing helper in all necessities. During the Middle Ages his presumed tomb in Salonika became a pilgrimage center where holy oil was connected with his relics, hence his title Myrobletes (oil-dripping). His feast day, ta Demetria, is specially marked with festivities and processions in the Balkan countries, where more than 200 churches are dedicated in his name. Both the lives and the collection of miracles (Miracula S. Demetrii ) are legendary; but the accusation that the cult grew out of pagan practice is no longer tenable. He is considered a patron of military men.

Feast: Oct. 8; Oct. 26 (Eastern Church).

Bibliography: m. grigoriou-ioannidou, Une remarque sur le récit des miracles de Saint Démétrius (Athens 1987). j. c. skedros, Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki (Harrisburg, PA 1999). v. grumel, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 4:198199. r. aubert, ibid 14 suppl.:149399. Acta Sanctorum Oct. 4:50209; 855864. o. bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur, 5 v. (Freiburg 191332) 2:194195. Corpus scriptorum Christanorum orientalium (Paris-Louvain 1903) 78:6466. h. delehaye, Les Légendes grecques des saints militaires (Paris 1909). a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater (New York 1956) 4:63.

[e. g. ryan]