Today, October twenty sixth, Greece celebrates the name day of Saint Dimitrios, the Patron Saint of Thessaloniki.
I am celebrating the life of another Dimitris.
Let me tell you first about Saint Dimitrios.
The church of Saint Dimitrios dates from when Thessaloniki was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire, the largest and the Capital city being Constantinople.
|Church of Saint Dimitrios.Thessaloniki.|
It is part of the site; "Palaeochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki" on the list of World Heritage sites by Unesco.
During excavations, Roman baths were discovered where Saint Dimitrios is said to have been imprisoned and later executed.
The church has been destroyed by fire many times and was rebuilt in 629-634.
Six mosaic panels show Saint Dimitrios with the officials responsible for the rebuilding of the church.
Many other amazing mosaics were lost or destroyed during the four hundred years that it was used as a Mosque.
Others were lost in "The Great Fire Of Thessaloniki" in 1917.
Have a look at LONDINOUPOLIS a very interesting blog and learn all about the church of Saint Dimitrios.
Saint Dimitrios was appointed commander of the Roman forces for Greece by Galerius.
For all his military expertise, Saint Dimitrios never stopped preaching the word of God and despite the persecution of Christians by the Emperor, managed to bring many pagans to the
His success caused jealousy amongst the pagans, they reported him to Emperor Maximian who had him imprisoned for using his official position to spread Christianity.
During one of the Gladiator combats in the amphitheatre, Nestor, a young Christian, challenged Lyaios, a man of unbelievable strength.
With this act Nestor wanted to show the Romans that the real power belongs to Christ.
Before going into battle,
Nestor visited Dimitrios in his prison cell and asked him to pray for him.
Entering the amphitheatre Nestor cried out:
"God of Dimitrios, help me"
Nestor slayed Lyaios and the Emperor ordered his arrest and beheading outside the city.
He had heard Nestor call out for help from Dimitrios whom he thought had used some kind of witchcraft.
Dimitrios was put to death without trial.
His body was taken away and buried by Christians.
|Taking Saint Dimitrios to be buried|
A beautiful scent, myrrh, with healing properties is said to flow from his body and all who take it and have faith are cured from all their ailments.
His full name is :
" Great Martyr Saint Dimitrios The Myrrh Streamer"
He has watched over and protected Thessaloniki for sixteen hundred years.
So while all of Greece celebrate the life of Saint Dimitrios of Thessaloniki, I am celebrating the life of our very dear friend, Dimitri.
Dimitri is one of our oldest Greek friends.
I met him the first year that I was here in Greece, 1977.
We met because we had the same car, a khaki green Mini!
The only two in Korinth!
After training as an architect in Belgium Dimitri returned to Athens,then worked a while in Korinth where we lived in the same block of flats.
What laughs we had, Dimitri had no television so every Sunday evening we would watch "Fame" together, remember "Fame"?
|Dimitris and his beloved Audi!|
He lived on the top floor, we were on the fourth, he would shout down to us through the air shaft, he had the whole place in an uproar.
A lunatic but such a lovable lunatic, don't they say that the best people are crazy?
With Dimitris, it's true.
|Dimitris loving life.|
It was a treat to watch him hanging out his washing, instead of wringing things out, he just whacked them on the railings before pegging them on the line.
Then he discovered the magical Island of Kefalonia, one of the Ionian Islands.
|Dimitris and his Zodiac.|
There was no stopping him, he upped sticks, left everything, built a house and made his life in Kefalonia.
|Dimitri and me in Kefalonia|
He did come back from time to time and designed a beautiful house for us in Loutraki.
|With Dimitri in Kefalonia|
What a life in Kefalonia, paradise!
Dimitris has shown us the best beaches, the best tavernas, the best coffee shops and made his home ours when we were there. Such hospitality.
|Me with Dimitri|
|Celebrating my birthday with Dimitris in Kefalonia.|
|Tassos and Dimitris, Avithos beach Kefalonia,.|
Dimitri loved Kefalonia, he was never going to leave, it was in his soul
|Dimitri and me above Myrtos beach,Kefalonia.|
We saw Dimitri at the end of last winter.
Dimitri died in the spring
He died in his beloved Kefalonia and that is where he is.
Dimitri got his wish, he never did leave Kefalonia.
Happy name day Dimitri, fly high!
|Not alone...he's right behind me!!!|
There he is, behind me.
Can you see him?
There he goes, flying high.
Read about more Saints of The Greek Orthodox Church below: