Orthodox icon | Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki | 24751.
The Great Martyr Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki, also known as the Myroblyte, is commemorated annually on October 26th. Living through the era of Diocletian persecution (303-311), he resided in Thessaloniki. Often, his portrayal is that of a mounted soldier being crowned by an angel while receiving the blessing of Christ.
In the current icon, he is seen victorious, slaying a pagan who falls defeated to the ground with his lance. The vanquished pagan could be interpreted as Galerius, the very emperor who was responsible for Demetrius’ death, symbolically signifying Demetrius’ triumph over his killer.
History tells us that Demetrius was martyred in his prison cell at the hands of Emperor Galerius in the early 4th century. This occurred during a period of widespread Christian persecution because of his role in fortifying the faith of fellow Christians. His resting place became a significant pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages.
It is believed that Myron, a substance reputed to have healing properties, seeps from his tomb in the days leading up to his festival. This iconic portrayal of the saint closely parallels the images and sculptures of Saint George slaying the dragon. According to some legends, George and Demetrius were siblings.
Descended from an influential aristocratic lineage in the Macedonian province, Demetrius was held in high esteem by his contemporaries for his virtue, benevolence, and wisdom. His military prowess led to his appointment as the general of the Roman army in Thessaly and as proconsul for Hellas by Galerius Maximinus, the Caesar, and later Augustus, for the East, even at his young age.
This exquisite icon, adorned with detailed scenes and framed by an exceptionally beautiful light border, dates back to somewhere between the late 19th century and 1900, based on estimations. This treasure serves as a vivid reminder of Saint Demetrius’ remarkable life and his enduring legacy in Christian history.