Russia Religion Subjects Orthodox Saint St Demetrios of Soluneia

St Demetrios of Soluneia

St Demetrios of Soluneia (270–306) was the proconsul of Thessalonika in the fourth century. He was put to death for preaching Christianity in the Roman town of Sirmium in the northern Balkans. The feast day of St Demetrios is celebrated on 26 October/8 November.

St Demetrios of Soluneia ranks alongside St George of Cappadocia as one of the most popular holy warriors in Orthodoxy. The epitome of heroism on the field of battle, he is the patron saint of soldiers in Russia. In the fourteenth century, the Russian Orthodox Church even established a special religious festival called St Demetrios Parental-Ancestors Sabbath in commemoration of those who died fighting the Golden Horde at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380.

The image of St Demetrios in Russian icons evolved over time. In the fourteenth century, the courageous warrior and defender grew more contemplative and self-immersed. In the early fifteenth century, the image of the soldier in armour was replaced by the picture of a martyr in a short shirt over a tunic and pink cape.

Random articles