The God of Demetrios

MIN_0224On the eve of the Feast of St. Demetrios of Thessaloniki, the Great Martyr and Myrhh-Streamer, I post these words of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, a excerpt from his homily, also delivered on the eve of the feast, in New York:

“Beloved, the power of a prayer is not to be measured by its length. The most powerful prayer may also be the most brief.  Few but fervent were the words of Saint Nestor:  Ο Θεος του Δημητριου, Βοηθει μοι.  “God of Demetrios, help me.” Yet through the power of these simple words, evil was vanquished, tyranny was frustrated, faith was vindicated, and not one, but two saints for the Kingdom of God were revealed.

The Lord promised that those who speak in faith might command even a mountain to be taken up and cast aside (Matthew 17:20, Mark 11:23).  Such was the faith that Saint Demetrios instilled in young Nestor. From his prison cell the Great Martyr spoke words of blessing and encouragement, words of strength and confidence.  And in the stadium it was proved that “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (cf. Psalm 18:10 [19:9]), when a mountain—that is to say, a mountain of a man—the murderous Lyaios, was taken up and cast aside to destruction.

Lyaios was a barbarian in every sense of the word. By birth he was of tribe of the Vandals, and fittingly so, for as a wrestler he made it his sport to vandalize the image of God in his fellow man in the arena.  A second Goliath was he: a bloodthirsty titan with fierce eyes and a thunderous voice with which he uttered vile insults upon the Christians and their God.  Many were the men that Lyaios cast down to their deaths upon the points of upraised spears planted round about the wrestling platform in a terrifying display of brutality and strength.

But young Nestor was not terrified.  He did not waver at the sight of the giant. He did not tremble at the sound of his blasphemies.  He remained steadfast, remembering the boldness of his intercessor in the prison. In that same holy boldness Nestor prayed: “God of Demetrios, help me.” He wrestled with Lyaios and prevailed, casting the monster himself on the spear-points that had been fixed for his opponents.

The power of a prayer is not to be measured by its length in words, but by the mountains that it moves.  In his own strength, small Nestor could never have triumphed; but with the God of Demetrios, all things are possible (cf. Matthew 19:26).  For all the promises of God are “Yes” in Jesus Christ, and in Him “Amen” to the glory of God (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20). “

Read full homily here.


3 thoughts on “The God of Demetrios

  1. Grace and peace to you Fr. Milovan, in the blessed and faithful name of Jesus Christ. This is the first I have read of the homily by Saint Bartholmew, but powerful is wisdom.

    “Beloved, the power of a prayer is not to be measured by its length. The most powerful prayer may also be the most brief.”

    Oh how true with regard to our prayers. Our Lord knew and admonished that one must guard against the potential for hypocrisy, standing and praying to be heard of men. Lengthy yet vain repetitions that gets no closer to the ear of God than if a word was never thought.

    It would seem that many have nothing more than fleshly desires when they would petition the prayer of another, and generally that desire is nothing more than that one should ask amiss, with little or no desire for the will of God. I would liken such prayer as spiritual pleasantries instead of “nevertheless not our will be done, but thy will”.

    As I study those martyred for the cause of the gospel, I find this most unusual spirit liken to that in Saint Demetrios s spirit of blessing and encouragement and words of strength and confidence in the face of great persecution. As the words that Richard Wurmbrand spoke to his captors while imprisoned for his stand for Christ…

    Place your hand on my heart, and if you feel a rapidly beating heart that is immersed in fear, you can rest assured that there is no God, but if you detect a calm and gentle Spirit, rest assured it is because I am resting in Him…. paraphrased on my part.

    This same Spirit we find in young Nestor and that not the power of the arm of the flesh.

    Thanks for the post.

    brother malachi

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