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St. Demetrius Church, CezieniCod 1601


St. DemetriusChurch in Cezieni was built in 1849 by Dumitru Cezianu.

Saint Demetrios lived in Thessaloniki (Salonika in Greece today) in the reign of Emperor Diocletian and Maximian (284-305). Came from one of the noblest families in Macedonia and was admired by all, not just for his outer beauty and nobility but also for his virtues, for his wisdom and goodness. From an early age he became military strategist and specialist in military art, so despite his age, was appointed general of the armies of Thessaly and Governor of Greece by Maximian Galerius, Caesar of Greece and Macedonia.

Victorious in the war against the Scythians, on the way to Rome, Caesar Galerius (who had just been proclaimed August for the Eastern Roman Empire) was stopped at Thessalonica to be acclaimed by the people and to bring sacrifice to gods. Some envious pagans of the city took advantage of this occasion to complain to the king and denounced Demetrius of being a Christian. The king’s wrath became quickly anger when he found out that Demetrius  not only was a faithful disciple of Christ but also preached publicly his Christian belief. So the king ordered to be caught the saint and be put in a damp dungeon from the basement of a public baths. And boasting the king with a man of his that was named Lie and urging the people of the city to come out to fight him – for he surpassed  all his peers at the size of the body and at the power – a young Christian, named Nestor, going to St. Demetrius in prison, said to him: “Servant of God, I want to fight Lei. Pray for me”. And the saint making onto to his forehead the sign of the cross, he said: “And you will defeat Lie and to Christ you will confess.”

So Nestor taking boldness of these words, went to fight Lie and put down his pride, killing him. Being ashamed of what had happened the king himself, was saddened and angered.  And because was discovered that Saint Demetrios urged Nestor to this, the king sent soldiers and ordered them to pierce the saint with spears in prison because he was responsible for the death of Lie. This being done, immediately great Demetrius gave his soul and into God’s hands, making after his death many miracles and amazing healings. Then by king’s commandment was cut, also the head of Nestor (St. Nestor remembrance is on October 27th).

Great Martyr Demetrios is venerated as one of the biggest “holy soldiers.”

Shortly after his death, namely after St. Constantine the Great granted freedom to Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, in Thessaloniki was built a basilica just above his tomb. This basilica became a center of pilgrimage. After the Ottoman conquest (1430), the basilica was converted into a mosque. It became a church after the reconquest of the city by the Greeks (1912) during the First Balkan War. Paleo-Christian original edifice still exists today as part of paleo-Christian and Byzantine Monuments site of Thessaloniki and being on the list of monuments from UNESCO World Heritage. Church of Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki, or Hagios Demetrios, houses the relics of St. Great Martyr Demetrios, who is also the patron of Thessaloniki.



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