St Demetrius

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Soldier and martyr, St Demetrius of Sermium, Serbia, died for his faith in the early 4th century under Maximian. He became immensely popular in the east where he was called the Great Martyr. He came to be regarded as a never-failing help in all needs, especially against evil spirits.

Two churches were built in his honour in the early 5th century, one at Sirmium and the other at Thessalonika where some of his relics were enshrined.

During the battle of Thessalonika in 586, he is said to have appeared on a white stallion wearing a white cloak to defend the city.

Western Crusaders adopted him, together with St George, especially after the battle of Antioch. More than 200 churches in the Balkans are dedicated to him. He is the patron of Belgrade.

A silver-gilt reliquary said to contain a bone of St Demetrius is kept in the monastery on Mount Athos

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