Today is the feast day of St Dimitrios, and the name day of Greeks bearing the name Dimitrios, Demetrius, Dimitri, Jim, Jimmy, James, Mitsos, Mitch, Mimi, Dimitra, Demetra, Demetria, Dimi, Dimmy, Dimitroula, Toula and other derivatives of the saint’s name.
One of the most popular saints of Orthodox, he is the patron saint of the city of Thessaloniki. Born into a noble Macedonian family, he was appointed to be in charge of the Roman Forces in Thessaloniki by Emperor Galerius, the head of the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
Galerius was unaware of Dimitrios’ Christian beliefs when he appointed him, and imprisoned him in a cell at the local Roman baths when he found out.
Lyaios, a warrior heralded for being a Christian killer, was brought in during games organised by Galerios. One of Dimitrios’ cell mates, Nestor, asked for Dimitrios’ blessing before facing Lyaios in the games, and received it. He managed to succeed in defeating Lyaios but Galerios was so upset that he beheaded Nestor outside the city walls and also sent men to kill Dimitrios in his cell.