Freitag, 28. Oktober 2016

Mariä Schutz (Skepe)

Dieses Kirchenfest wird Mariä Schutz und Fürbitte, kirchenslawisch Покровъ Pokrowa, griechisch Σκέπη Sképē genannt.
Es ist ein Fest der Orthodxen Kirche, zu dem der allerheiligsten Gottesmutter gedenkt wird. Darüber hinaus wird am gleichen Tag der Griechische Nationalfeiertag gefeiert, am 28 Oktober (dem neuen Kalender nach), da die Gottesmutter als Schutzheilige und Fürsprecherin Griechenlands gilt.

Das Fest Mariä Schutz: Mitte des 5. Jahrhunderts (457-474 n.Chr), als Leon der Große herrschte, wurde der selige Andreas von Konstantinopel als Sklave nach Konstantinopel verkauft. Der heilige Andreas war ein Narr in Christus. Er lebte in Demut und versuchte seine Tugenden vor den Menschen zu verbergen ( , kostenlos das Buch zum Heiligen).
Da, in Konstantinopel, erschien ihm auch die Allerheiligste Maria. In der großen Kirche Allerheiligste von Blachernae (auf die sich auch das Fest der Niederlegung der Muttergottesgewänder bezieht) sah der Selige in einer Vision, wie sie in Begleitung von Engeln und Heiligen lange auf Knien betete und danach ihren Schleier  über die versammelten Gläubigen breitete. Andreas und sein Schüler Epiphanius (der später von 520-536 n.Chr. Patriarch wurde), der ebenfalls die Vision erlebte, berichteten davon. Die Gottesmutter schützt die gläubigen Christen und äußert diesen Umstand durch diese Vision, damit sie uns überliefert wird und uns stets Kraft schenkt.
Dieses Fest wurde anfangs am 01. Oktober gefeiert, später jedoch in Griechenland auf den 20. Oktober verlegt, um den Schutz der Allerheiligsten im gerechten Kampf des griechischen Volkes zu betonen (es sind viele Wunder der Gottesmutter überliefert worden) und den Nationalfeiertag durch ein Kirchenfest mit dem Kirchenleben und einem christlichen Feiertag zu verbinden, um die Verbindung der Kirche mit dem griechischen Staat zu bekräftigen.

Möge die Allerheiligste die ganze Menschheit behüten!

Der Legende nach soll Mitte des 10. Jahrhunderts dem seligen Andreas von Konstantinopel,[1] der als Sklave nach Konstantinopel (heute Istanbul) verkauft worden war, Maria erschienen sein. Die Stadt war seinerzeit von den Türken belagert. In der Vorstadtkirche Sankt Maria von Blachernae (auf die sich auch das Fest der Niederlegung der Muttergottesgewänder bezieht) sah der Selige Maria in Begleitung von Engeln und Heiligen lange betend knien und danach ihren Schleier (oder Mantel) über die versammelten Gläubigen breiten. Andreas und sein Diener (Schüler, auch Lehrer) Epiphanius berichteten davon, und die Türken sollen daraufhin die Belagerung abgebrochen habenDie Orthodoxe Kirche begeht das Fest Mariä Schutz und Fürbitte zum Gedenken an die wundersame Erscheinung der Gottesmutter in Konstantinopel - dem heutigen Ístanbul - Mitte des 10. Jahrhunderts.
Der Überlieferung nach bedrohten zu jener Zeit Muslime die Stadt. Die Gläubigen versammelten sich in einer Kirche und beteten für ihre Rettung. Unter ihnen war auch der Selige Andreas - ein Slawe, der gefangen genommen und als Sklave nach Konstantinopel verkauft worden war. Als er seine Augen erhob, sah er plötzlich die Heilige Jungfrau in Begleitung einer Engelschar durch die Luft schreiten. Auch Epiphanius, der Lehrer des Seligen == Andreas, sah sie. Die Gottesmutter ging auf die Knie und betete lange. Danach nahm sie den Schleier von ihrem Kopf und breitete ihn über den Betenden in der Kirche aus - Symbol für den Schutz vor den Feinden. Andreas und Epiphanius berichteten dem Volk von der wundersamen Erscheinung, worauf die Feinde sich ohne Blutvergießen von den Toren Konstantinopels zurückzogen.

Die Maria-Schutz-und-Fürbitte-Kathedrale am Graben in Moskau
Die Maria-Schutz-und-Fürbitte-Kathedrale am Graben in Moskau Bild: David Crawshaw
In Russland wird das Fest seit dem 12. Jahrhundert begangen. Große Verdienste darum erwarb sich der Heilige Fürst Andrej Bogoljubski. Unter seiner Herrschaft wurde die berühmte Mariä-Schutz-Kirche am Fluss Nerl errichtet. Der Gottesmutter Fürbitte ist auch die Basilius-Kathedrale auf dem Roten Platz gewidmet, die von Zar Iwan dem Schrecklichen errichtet wurde.

Miraculous help from St. Ambrose in our days

Stories from the editor’s mail at
“It all started with my throat and a runny nose.”
Igor K.
I got sick with a bad cold. As usual, it all started with my throat and a runny nose. Then the virus began to descend to the bronchi and chest, causing a wet cough. Usually in such a situation a week or two of bed rest is prescribed. It turned out that I had oil on hand, blessed on the relics of Fr. Ambrose. It was a gift from a brother, a novice of Kazan Monastery, after his pilgrimage to Optina.
I read the evening prayer rule and prayed to Fr. Ambrose and rubbed the oil on my sore throat and chest.
In the morning I didn’t feel even the slightest discomfort!
Glory to God for his saints! Venerable Fr. Ambrose, pray to God for us!
* * *
“My coworkers hated me.”
P. B. Anna
A few years ago, in January 2007, I was hit by a series of troubles at work. At that time I worked on a pretty young team: the oldest person in our department was 37, the rest (only women) weren’t even 30.
One of these girls concocted some gossip about me which everyone believed. They accused me behind my back of some terrible sins—tattling, slandering—as if I go to the boss and report who does what, or rather as if I tell him that everyone is lazy. I never got all the details of the gossip, but all my coworkers together agreed to hate me.
I can feel this old offense even now, after so many years! I couldn’t understand what caused this silent, icy contempt, but when I found out, I was in shock! I tried to explain something and prove that I was innocent, but they wouldn’t even listen to me. They just ignored me—a boycott. I would cry at home in the morning, not wanting to go to work. I had only one desire—to quit! But I couldn’t quit, for material reasons.
And so, in complete desperation, I went to church for solace. It was the church of the Ascension on Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street, not far from my work at that time. I went inside. There was no service. I prayed, lit some candles and went to the look at the books being sold. I bought one of them. It was a paperback of St. Ambrose of Optina: Life, The Science of Salvation, A Spiritual Alphabet. I should say that at that point I didn’t know much about Batiushka Ambrose. I don’t know why I bought the book.
But when I began to read it, I saw every word from several of Elder Ambrose’s sayings as if they were addressed to me and my situation. I can’t even describe how light and good I began to feel. Little by little I calmed down. Every day I would read this book, mentally addressing Fr. Ambrose. And what happened? Gradually this situation, that had me so depressed, faded away, and my coworkers even apologized!
But even before that I already didn’t care—I had such peace of soul!
* * *
“Let’s go to Optina to pray. They’re waiting for us.”
Natalia Kiselyova, Moscow
Two weeks…! For two whole weeks I kept hearing around me the word “Optina” from friends and relatives. I should say that I really have a lot of Orthodox friends who love to visit Optina Pustyn. The last straw was when my friend called me at night and asked: “And what happened with Optina?” Half asleep, I didn’t understand, “what happened with Optina,” and asked: “And what could happen?”
The next day I was given a book, again about Optina.
I was in that beautiful place once. It was a wonderful, unforgettable trip! I’ll keep the memory of it in my heart and mind, it seems to me, forever. In Optina Pustyn I felt like time stops, and you feel eternity. But that’s a separate, lengthy story.
And now all around me I was hearing about Optina almost every day, and it seemed to me not unintentionally.
In our church we have an icon and shrine with relics of the venerable elders, and not long ago our church was a podvoriye of Optina Pustyn. I went up to the icon of Venerable Ambrose and the Optina elders and started prayerfully beseeching: “Why is everyone talking about Optina all around me? Maybe I’m supposed to go there? If so, then please direct this trip for me yourselves!”
That evening the phone rang in my apartment. “My dear Natalia”—it was a good friend, a friend of the family—“Some organization has ordered several cars for us tomorrow, and booked some space in Optina Pustyn. I’ll wait for you in the morning; we’ll go to Optina for prayer and some time in piety. They’re waiting for us.”
I couldn’t utter even a word for a few minutes from surprise.
They heard me! With what speed they fulfilled my petition! Truly, that which we ask for can come true! And we should be ready in full armor to receive it.
How quickly St. Ambrose and the Optina elders extraordinarily and surprisingly fulfilled and directed my prayerful petition!
Pray to God for us, St. Ambrose and all the Optina elders!
* * *
“Fr. Ambrose has returned.”
Ekaterina, Moscow
Fr. Ambrose helped me this summer, but I stupidly and proudly didn’t accept this help (I didn’t realize it was from him, I wasn’t expecting it so quickly, and I had no brains, I must confess), and I’m still repenting for it.
At that time I had just lost my job, and they fired me quite awfully and unfairly at that, after I had already passed my probation period and literally the day before we had talked about raising my pay. Fortunately, I had my spiritual father’s blessing to settle into work at a particular place, but I was stalling—I considered myself “intellectually unprepared.”
Then the July Church feasts began one after another, including the day of St. Ambrose of Optina. I was at church and asked his help with work, given that I had a blessing to do something I wasn’t ready for.
Suddenly that evening I saw in my email a letter from my academic advisor, then I missed a call from him on the phone. He wore himself out looking for me, although he doesn’t usually call or write me—I contact him first. It turns out that the company where his friend works suddenly needed a journalist-redactor for their site. I looked into the job with skepticism—it seemed to me they were offering very little money while demanding a lot of work. And there was a probation period of two months with all kinds of tasks and demands for the potential employee. Besides all that there was something I didn’t know.
I wrinkled my nose and said it’s some kind of “scam.” Although later I realized I should have snatched that job up to have something to hold me over at least for the two months of the probation period. My academic advisor laughed: “Well, as you know. It’s only a question, apparently, of being afraid to cope.” I really was afraid that they would fire me again after the probation period. I was afraid I couldn’t endure another such humiliation.
I had only just turned it down (the time was already late), when suddenly I remembered that in the morning I had been at the service and prayed before the icon of St. Ambrose, kissed his relics and besought him during the service, telling him about my problems. And what? The next day the icon of Fr. Ambrose in the church disappeared somewhere! Maybe they took it for restoration or to another church for a while…
All these months (I wasn’t able to find work after this for a long time—a whole four months, and I missed out on the blessing also, having dragged this out), no matter how much I begged and prayed and went to monasteries, no matter how many feast day services I stood through—nothing worked! And all these months I realized that that work, had I not turned it down, would have kept me afloat for a couple of months, and I wouldn’t have lost so much money and wouldn’t have crawled into debt and other difficult circumstances.
Whenever I went to church all these months I always went to the reliquary with a piece of the relics of Fr. Ambrose (we had a big reliquary with numerous small relics from various saints, including the Optina elders), asking forgiveness and looking with sadness at the corner where his icon used to be. Of course, Fr. Ambrose already knew a few months ago what would happen to me in the near future and how I would behave. He helped me, and I should have accepted this lesson-examination, if that’s how it turned out!
In the end, only recently I found work. Rather, the Lord send it to me, completely unexpectedly. Moreover, it happened that I agreed with the employer about work on a Friday, and on the next Sunday, as usual, I went to the Resurrection service and suddenly, at the end of the service, I saw an altar server carrying the icon of Venerable Ambrose, and he placed it on some wooden stand (I don’t know what it’s properly called) that had been empty this whole time.
I saw that Fr. Ambrose had returned! I rushed to him at full speed to beg forgiveness. I should say that during these months, when his icon was gone, I grew somehow especially close to batiushka through my guilty feelings and worries… He became a saint very close to me, and this icon which I waited for for so long, became very dear to me. I have no doubts about his speedy-speedy-speedy help! Fr. Ambrose, pray to God for us!
* * *
“I found my way in life and to my wife—a true friend.”
Alexei Grishkin
By the prayerful help of Fr. Ambrose and all the Optina elders I found my way in life and to my wife—a true friend.”
And why is that such a big deal? I can call that period in my life, of a relatively young age, nothing other than “emptiness.” Like in the old song: “Loneliness is dearer than emptiness when you live and think about death.” All my peers lived happy lives, dated, broke up, drank, and went for walks without thinking too much about it.
I don’t know what was the beginning of my Church life; now it’s hard to recall. As in war, all the powers of hell take up arms against the weak man who has begun his salvation, using any means proven by military experience and refined from the time of the first fallen forefather.
At some period of life there relentlessly arose in me the conviction to choose the monastic path for my salvation. Having been in one monastery for a couple of months, I understood that there I would more quickly perish. The state of modern monasticism, with few exceptions, is known to all. I had to return to the world. But, it turned out to be a dead end.
By chance (or not?), having opened a book of Venerable Ambrose’s life, I stumbled upon the words which he said to the Troekurovskoe hermit Hilarion: “Go to Optina. You’re needed there.” Everything suddenly became clear for me—where I needed to go to understand how to live. In Optina I saw the exception, the little flock which walks towards salvation, and inflames others to go as well.
At first I was inflamed, but monasticism is not for most people. Again doubts. Batiushka Iliy resolved them by blessing me to live in the monastery for a year. Just to live, not to think about anything, for a year. It was the hardest year of my life. When you are just one-on-one with yourself—it’s scary. You don’t know who will win. Every day I went to the relics of St. Ambrose and besought, pleaded, and cried. Really, it was hard.
Through the prayers of the elders the Lord taught me which path to choose: a girl came to Optina, who I now call my wife and the mother of our two beautiful daughters.
In conclusion I want to say that the Lord is nearer to us than it seems, and through people and situations He always guides us through life by the prayers of our venerable and God-bearing father Ambrose, elder of Optina, and of all the saints—of course, for those who follow Christ.
* * *
“Deliverance came in three days.”
Valentina K. Serov
Having despaired of escaping the man who had been torturing me for three years, I was able to do so only after I read a prayer to Venerable Ambrose of Optina which I found one time in his correspondence with his spiritual children. Deliverance came in three days. These whole three days we walked as around a circle and never once collided. Only the prayer of the great elder saved me from death.
By his prayers after three years I stood at his holy relics with tears of gratitude. And now I go up on the kliros to ask his blessing. I think, not without the help of the saint, I was blessed to work for a few years at making prosphora and in the trapeza.
May the Lord save us all by the prayers of the holy Venerable Ambrose of Optina!
* * *
“My friend had a completely ruined oven.”
Natalia V.
I just learned about this little miracle a few hours ago. I don’t know if Batiushka Ambrose helped by himself—probably all the Optina elders helped.
Two days ago I was at my friend’s, who was getting ready to move to a house with a completely ruined oven. My friend has very tight finances. We hung up flyers with requests for help everywhere, not counting on it too much. After leaving her, I stopped by the church in those parts and saw there a small icon with particles of the relics of the Optina elders. I didn’t read which ones exactly. I asked the elders to help her.
I called then and found out that the next day—that is, yesterday—a woman called and offered her some help. She said: “Measure the oven—I’ll buy you everything you need.” The poor thing until then didn’t trust in such happiness.
May God grant that everything would turn out well for this poor woman. Pray to God for us Fr. Ambrose and all the Optina elders!
* * *
“I smoked a lot.”
Ekaterina N.
At the beginning of my Church life I wound up in Optina. Before my arrival at the monastery I had a serious nicotine addiction.
I communed at the monastery and didn’t smoke all day—quite a long time for me then. I prayed to Venerable Ambrose to help me quit smoking. Within a few weeks I had quit completely. I haven’t smoked for two years now. I believe the prayers of the saint helped me.
* * *
“My husband smoked for many years.”
Elena S.
Here is my story. My husband smoked for many years. It, unfortunately, is a tradition in his family. He wasn’t intending to quit, because he assumed he wasn’t able. When I would try to speak with him about it, he got irritated. Then I asked our teenage son to pray to Venerable Ambrose for his father to deliver him from such a destructive passion.
A little while later my husband got skin cancer, and after the operation decided himself to quit smoking. He escaped from the passion of smoking only by the prayers of the saint. Glory to God for all things!
Translated by Jesse Dominick 

Nick Marvel' s Kampf mit der Bestie

Nick Marvel' s Kampf mit der Bestie 

Die Phantasie braucht durchaus nicht stets zu Magie und Okkultismus hinüber zu wandern, wie es heute leider so oft und besonders bei der Kinder- und Jugendlektüre der Fall ist. Die Phantasie braucht auch keine Flucht aus einer angeblich harten und "unterträglichen" Wirklichkeit zu sein. Vielmehr kann die Phantasie den Anstoß geben für Entdeckungen, Einsichten und Erfahrungen in einem gesunden, unverkrampften und schönen Lebensraum.

Nick Vervelidis, ein normaler Junge der heutigen Zeit, erlebt Wirklichkeit, Abenteuer und Wunder des Daseins. Optimismus und Zuversicht in seine Entwicklung, die in der Vorsorge Gottes, der Liebe seiner Familie und in seiner eigenen Anstrengung gegründet sind, erfüllen jeden Moment des Lebens. Das wahre Abenteuer!

(Zentrale Verteilung Christlich Orthodoxer Wohltätigkwitsverein der Freunde des Heiligen Klosters Pantokrator, Melissochori "Der Heilige Gregorios Palamas",

Verteilung in Deutschland: Edition Hagia Sophia:


«The Jesus Prayer and its application» by Elder Arsenios Katerelos

The Jesus Prayer and its application - Book Presentation

The Jesus Prayer and its application - Book Presentation
 Greek-Orthodox books Publications
Now in circulation: «The Jesus Prayer and its application»
by Elder Arsenios Katerelos 

The new book titled «The Jesus Prayer and its application», by the respected and beloved Elder, Arsenios Katerelos – a very familiar Spiritual Father, Preacher and author in our Homeland – constitutes an invaluable aid for a Christian’s introduction to the art of the precious “Jesus Prayer”.  The Archimandrite Elder Arsenios has deposited the sacred experiences and the teachings of the Elders, Saint Paisios the Hagiorite and Isaac the Lebanese, near whom he had learnt the monk’s way of life, enriched with the teaching of the holy Fathers, but also with the discretion that has been based on his own hesychastic experience.


The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Churches in the First Millenium

The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Churches in the First Millenium
Fr. Anastasios Gotsopoulos
Rector of the Parish  of St. Nicholas
of  the Diocese of Patra
mob: +30-6945-377621,

The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Churches in the First Millenium *

[In view of the 14th Meeting of the   Joint International Committee for the Orthodox-Roman Catholic  Theological Dialogue  in Chieti , Italy (15-22.9.2016)]

From the careful study of the acts and decisions of the Ecumenical Synods we can define with certainty the place of the Church of Rome and her bishop within the communion of all the local Churches during the era of the Ecumenical Synods:
A.    The Church and Bishop of Rome
1.    The increased prestige and exceptional honor which was conferred upon the Church of Rome is clear. Consequently the Church also recognized a primacy of honor and as the first see in the order of that which was associated with the exceptional dignity of the Patriarchal Thrones. The reasons are clear: a) It was the Church of “glorious Rome”, the capital of the empire, b) it was active in spiritual life and carried out a pastoral care for the local Churches which surrounded it and c) it was the only city in the Latin west which had received the presence and preaching of the First Leaders of the Choir of the Apostles who had been martyred there and whose tombs wee located in Rome.
2.    In particular, the Church of Rome could boast of its apostolic lineage from the “leaders of the Apostolic choir” [Sts. Peter and Paul] which came to later be limited to [a lineage from St. Peter alone] and expressed with the term “petrine”.  It is necessary to note however that in none of the canons of the Ecumenical Councils is attribution of any dignity or rank of honor to the Church of Rome connected with her apostolic origins which otherwise is considered a given.
3.    In the East, the meaning of apostolicity was defined differently and thus acquired a different significance. At the same time however, the entire Church accepted apostolicity not as the exclusive privilege of Rome, but as something belonging also to the thrones in the East which were accordingly honored with special privileges.
4.    The ancient Church —in both the East and the West— had recognized a primacy of honor and dignity; but not a primacy of authority (of superior jurisdiction) over the entire Church. The occasional attempts on the part of Roman agents to add to the pre-eminence of honor a primacy of authority, of “petrine” origin, was not even something undertaken by the majority of the bishops of Rome and it was certainly not the set and constant ecclesiological position of the whole Latin Church of the West in the time of the Ecumenical Synods.
5.    Whenever a major issue of faith and ecclesiastical order came to be disputed, every bishop, but even more so the bishop of “glorious Rome”, possessed not only the inalienable right but even had it as a duty incumbent upon him to intervene in the workings of another local Church. This practice was considered completely acceptable during the first eight centuries of Christianity. Indeed, in exceptional circumstances, ecclesiastical unity was not necessarily always preserved by him who possessed the leadership or the throne with seniority of rank, but by the one who in a particular circumstance expressed the true faith; he was considered possessor of the “primacy of truth”. This is what happened with St. Cyril at the 3rd Ecumenical Synod as well as with St. Leo at the 4th. On the other hand, when the bishop of Rome showed himself unworthy of his episcopal ministry, churches in the East but also in the West could and did sever communion with him.

B.    The Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Synods
1.    The Ecumenical Synods constituted for the ancient Church the crowning moments of her history revealing her unity in the Truth. Similarly, the ancient Church established with the utmost clarity that the highest authority in the Church could not be a single person, but only the Ecumenical Synod, an institution whose decisions demanded universal respect.
2.    The power to convoke an Ecumenical Synod belonged exclusively to the emperor who was also responsible for set the agenda.  Certainly, it was imperative that he consult with the first-hierarchs of the Churches and most importantly with the bishops of Rome and Constantinople. But the fact that the bishop of Rome was the first see in Christendom gave him no right either to set the agenda of the Council, nor did he possess the power of veto its decisions.
3.    At none of the Ecumenical Councils was the reigning pope personally present, but in most cases he was represented by a delegation of clergy. In addition, at none of the Synods did his delegation preside. The fifth Ecumenical Synod has particular significance for the question of the role of Pope of Rome within the communion of the Church since in addition to the question of the Three Chapters, it pronounced [indirectly] on this question [by] condemning Pope Vigilius after his unjustified refusal to meet in council with the other Patriarchs. For the ancient Church in both the East and the West, the pope was subject to synodal judgment and authority in not only matters of faith but also in those regarding the canonical order of the Church.
4.    The main role of the bishop of Rome in the Ecumenical Synods as first-throne among the Patriarchs was to formulate in his dogmatic epistle, which in a way operated as the central proposal for the Synod, the Orthodox faith and ecclesiastical tradition regarding the theological controversy at hand, and on the basis of which the synodal discussions were carried out. Consequently, the position of the pope of Rome in the time of the Ecumenical Synods was within the Synods and not above them. Only under the presupposition of his participation in the procedures of the synod was the pope recognized as “head and father and first” of the bishops and patriarchs gathered together; he does not simply make a pronouncement which the others then obey, but “he confers… together with all”.

C.    The bishop of Rome in the decisions of the Ecumenical Synods
1.    The Church sought by means of the Ecumenical Synods to confront the distortion of the Orthodox faith and the disturbance of ecclesiastical unity produced by heresy. It is obvious that the participation, agreement, and presence of the bishop of Rome and consequently of the Church “until the climes of the ocean” in the synodal decisions was required in order to maintain unity and to prevent the creation of schisms. In this way, when it was successful, the Fathers of the synod would express their joy and enthusiasm with great intensity.
2.    The Ecumenical Synod pronounced from a place of absolute authority without depending on the will or decisions of any individual persons. And this practice was universally accepted by the ancient Church of both East and West.  Thus decisions were made in the absence of the bishop of Rome or even in spite of his outright opposition. Moreover, even in cases where his suggestions were accepted, they were first examined by the Synod, compared to the ecclesiastical tradition and only when synodal agreement was secured would they be accepted.

The position of the ancient Church has been recorded in an official and categorical manner in the “synodal decree”, the “Horos” of the 5th Ecumenical Synod: “During the common deliberations, the light of truth dissipates the darkness of falsehood, once teach of the things suggested for discussion are placed under judgment. Because in matters of faith, no one has the right to go forward on behalf of the entire Church since all of us have need of our neighbor”. It would be no exaggeration for us to say that the 5th Ecumenical Synod, in the Holy Spirit, foresaw the development of the West and censured dogmatically in an explicit and forthright manner Vatican I’s dogma of papal infallibility.  According to the Synod, the pope cannot be infallible, either ex sese or ex consensus Ecclesia.

3.    The primacy of the bishop of Rome but similarly the equality of the five Patriarchs is testified to historically by the “stamps of signature” on the synodal decisions. All of the patriarchs as well as the bishop sign stamp or seal and in a unified fashion in agreement with the ranking of honor among the patriarchal Thrones. Certainly, the bishop of Rome signed first as the first-throne of the Ecumene [the empire or civilized world]. The pope never contested that he should be granted a special type of signature.

D.    The bishop of Rome and the Sacred Canons
1.    The holy Canons as decisions of the Ecumenical Synods reflect as well as formulate the ethos and practice of the Catholic Church. Consequently, disdain for their ecumenical authority and validity is unacceptable.
2.    The basic canons which refer to the seniority of honor of the primates of the patriarchal Churches are the 6th  and 7th canon of Nicaea I, the 3rd canon of Constantinople I, the 28th canon of Chalcedon and the 36th canon of Constantinople III (Penthekti). The defining canon concerning the position of the bishop of Rome in the ancient Church is the 28th canon of Chalcedon which interprets the 3rd canon of Constantinople I and constitutes the basis for the 36th canon of Constantinople III. The importance of the 28th canon of Chalcedon is guaranteed by its content but also in its means of promulgation a.) Regarding the content: it gives canonical weight to the seniority of rank of Rome, granting to Constantinople “the same rank” as that of Rome, but at the same time, it places under contention the most crucial point upon which the supremacy of the papal throne over against the other patriarchal thrones rests---according to Rome: petrine apostolicity and the granting of petrine authority by divine law over the entire Church. b.) As regards the means of promulgation: The categorical opposition and the intense reaction of Leo the Great in Rome not only did not invalidate this canon, nor did it even take away from its canonical weight, strength, or ecumenical character. This is self-evident in ecclesiastical order since it was unthinkable to the ancient Church that decision of a synod, and especially that of an Ecumenical Synod, could be invalidated by a local Church or by a single person. Not even the pope of Rome was recognized as having the right to approve or reject synodal decisions. On the contrary, he too was obligated to comply.
3.    The Roman understanding which pope Leo the Great firmly supported concerning the  “petrine” and apostolic character of the Churches of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch, and the supposed conferral of an exceptional dignity upon these sees never obtained any canonical foundation nor did it exercise any effect upon the life of the ancient Church.  Even in Rome these ideas were never put into practice and were quickly abandoned.

E.    The bishop of Rome in the East and West: “The Principle of Unity in Diversity?”
In the official Theological Dialogue of the Orthodox Church and Rome, it has been suggested that the “principle of unity in diversity” can provide a means of overcoming the impasse which the papal dogmas have created. This suggestion, according to its proponents, is based on the decision of the Synod of Constantinople in 879-880(1), but as it is currently formulated, it in essence merely carries out the program of the Decree “concerning Ecumenism”(2) from the Second Vatican Council(3) and seeks the unity of the Churches in spite of differences in dogma. In the other words, the Western Christians will accept their dogma concerning St. Peter and the dogmas of papal primacy and infallibility as they have been formulated by the first and second Vatican Councils, without however demanding their imposition upon the Eastern Church, so that the Orthodox are not required to accept them as long as they do not characterize them as an heretical falling away from the ancient faith and practice of the Church. This was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI came to formulate this proposal.(4) According to this view, the ancient Church governed itself this way: the West accepted the papal primacy of authority without imposing it upon the East and the East tolerated this difference of Western practice without condemning it as an ecclesiological aberration; East and West believed differently but in spite of this, we remained in full ecclesiastical communion(5). Put another way, “legitimate diversity is in no way opposed to the Church's unity, but rather enhances her splendor and contributes greatly to the fulfillment of her mission”(6) .
Before we proceed to our necessary and brief critique of this suggestion it is necessary to understand its true implications. Particularly revealing on this point is the speech which Pope John Paul II gave to the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs (Uniates) in 29/9/1998.
Among other things, he said to the Uniate Patriarchs: “I ask you to give the Pope your help in the name of that responsibility for re-establishing full communion with the Orthodox Churches (cf. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, n. 24) which belongs to you as Patriarchs of Churches that share so much of the theological, liturgical, spiritual and canonical patrimony with Orthodoxy. In this same spirit and for the same reason, I would like your Churches to be fully associated with the ecumenical dialogues of charity and of doctrine at both the local and universal levels”. And the pope continues, The particular role of the Eastern Catholic Churches [he means here the Uniates] corresponds to the one left unfilled by the lack of full communion with the Orthodox Churches. Both the Second Vatican Council’s Decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum and the Apostolic Constitution Sacri canones (pp. IX-X) which accompanied the publication of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches have pointed out how the present situation, and the rules governing it, look towards the full communion we desire between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Your collaboration with the Pope and with one another will show the Orthodox Churches that the tradition of ‘synergy’ between Rome and the Patriarchates has been maintained — although limited and wounded — and perhaps also strengthened for the good of the one Church of God present throughout the world”(7).

The above texts shows clearly how Rome desires and seeks—despite its assurances to the contrary(8)—full communion obtained with Orthodoxy on the basis of an enhanced version of the Unia(9) which can also include the Orthodox(10). Toward this aim, the contribution of the principle “diversity in unity” is formative(11), despite the fact that is it neither historically proven nor theologically acceptable as presented here.
The study of the acts and decisions of the Ecumenical Synods demonstrates as historically fabricated the contention that in the ancient Church of the first millennium the East and West held different beliefs about the position of the bishop of Rome. On the contrary, we see clearly that in spite of the fact  that Church of Rome’s lineage from St. Peter was recognized, even the Western-Latin Church never accepted any form of papal supremacy of jurisdiction (primacy of authority) over the entire Church, nor did it recognize the pope as possessor of an exclusive right to articulate the faith, never mind any form of infallibility. We remind the reader succinctly of:
1.    The papal legates accepted the synodal vetting of the papal dogmatic epistles of Leo the Great, St. Agathon, and St. Adrian to determine if they were in accord with the ecclesiastical tradition.
2.    The views of St Leo the Great against canon 28 of Chalcedon were not even accepted by his [immediate] successors  and were abandoned in the West until the time of the Schism.
3.    The refusal of the latin bishops of the west to accept pope Vigillius’ decisions concerning the faith and consequently his repeated condemnations by Western Synods (both before and after the 5th Ecumenical Synod).
4.    The expressed self-understanding of the same pope Vigilius who did not once claim to possess some alleged superior authority derived from divine right or ‘petrine’ authority which meant that the Church and the rest of the Patriarchs ought to be subject to him. Additionally, pope Vigilius never accused the Synod of being contrary to the canons or invalid simply because of his disagreement or absence. On the contrary, he explicitly promised that he would conform to the decision of the Synod concerning the faith and considered its decision to censure him as just.
5.    The convocation of the Synod of 125 bishops from all of the regions of the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Rome under the presidency of pope St. Agatho in order to refute and pronounce on the heresy of monothelitism shows in practice the firm ecclesiological ethos of the ancient Church of Rome. It is indicative how the Synod of Rome mentions that they came to together with great labor “from the climes of the ocean” in order to consult in Synod so that “that our humble suggestion might proceed from a council of wide-spread influence, lest if only a part were cognizant of what was being done, it might escape the notice of a part”(12) .
6.    The cooperation of Rome in the condemnation of Pope Honorius at the 6th Ecumenical Synod.
7.    The West accepted the decisive role of the emperor in the procedures of the Synod and never insisted on presiding through the papal “apocrisarii” at the Ecumenical Synods or at the local Synods in the West  [tr.: a greek term for a high ranking ecclesiastical deputy or similar official]
8.    A series of canons from local Synods and the Holy Fathers approved by the 2nd canon of Constantinople III and the 1st canon of Nicaea II show that that ancient Latin Church of the West recognized, just like the East, that the Church of Rome and her bishop were to be given great reverence and possessed a primacy of honor, but not a primacy of jurisdiction or an infallibility in defining matters of faith: for example, the Acts of the Synods of Carthage in Latin-speaking north Africa as well as their decisions to forbid final appeals to Rome, or the dispute between pope St. Stephen and St. Cyprian about the baptism of heretics all demonstrate this.
9.    Finally, the conclusion of the letter of the Synod of Carthage already expresses the danger which the Latin Fathers of North Africa foresaw in the first demands of Rome to extend her jurisdiction in judging the bishops of Africa: “As for executors, therefore, though they have been demanded by some for our Clerics, do not send us any, nor grant us any, lest we seem to be introducing a cloud of smoke from the world into the Church of Christ, which offers the light of simplicity and the day of humility to those who desire to see God”(13).
All of the above demonstrate that in the Western Church in the time of the Ecumenical Synods recognized no “petrine primacy” or “petrine function of unity” nor any supreme authority over the entire Church or the ability to pronounce infallibly on matters of faith. The occasional expressions of papal representatives or of certain papal epistles which explicitly demand some kind of primacy of authority were never representative of the understanding of the whole Western Church nor did they reflect western theology within the patriarchate of Rome during the time of the Ecumenical Synods. Hence, we can see that during the first eight centuries of the life of the Church, East and West held to identical views concerning the basic ecclesiological principles which governed the role of the patriarchal Churches including that of the bishop of Rome.
Nevertheless, even if we did suppose that there existed an important difference in views between East and West during the first eight centuries regarding the essence and role of the primacy of honor of the bishop of Rome — a fact which as we have demonstrated cannot be proven from the acts and decisions of the Ecumenical Synods—we would stress that the reality we live today is completely different. After the First and Second Vatican Councils we have —according to Rome— fundamental dogmas of faith which belong to the “essential and unchanging structure of the Church”(14) and those who deny them are anathematized by the “ecumenical” Synod of Vatican I and this remains the case with the “ecumenical” Synod of Vatican II.
Consequently, the attempt on the part of certain theologians to present the papal dogmas of Vatican I as having the same intended meanings as some declarations of papal legates or papal epistles in the early Church are clearly misleading.
Additionally, the implementation of the “principle of diversity in unity” not merely in ecclesiastical customs of minor importance, but in the realm of  basic ecclesiological dogmas which touch upon the very structure and being of the Church ecclesiologically unacceptable. If, according to the papal ecclesiology of Vatican I, the denial of the papal dogmas is evidence of a serious ecclesiological deficiency(15) then we do not have a Church of Christ, because a Church with ecclesiological deficiencies is completely unthinkable! Moreover, it is unthinkable that the western part of this “united Church” being established (?) can consider as ecclesiologically fundamental the dogmas concerning St. Peter and papal primacy and infallibility (as articulated by Vatican I and II) while the eastern portion denies them. Never in the life of the Church of Christ were dogmas considered obligatory for the faithful of a particular region (or ritual) while another region was given the ability to deny them.  It is not comprehensible how we can belong to the same “united Church” where the Westerners must accept as a dogma of the faith necessary for salvation that the pope is infallible when he pronounces ex cathedra while the rest of the faithful are free to categorically deny this.
It is obviously unthinkable that the Orthodox Church could accept the principle of “diversity in unity” as it has been articulated recently and equally so the proposal stemming from it formulated by the then-Cardinal Ratzinger, later pope Benedict XVI.
Hence if the “principle of diversity in unity” as it has been presented in recent years, cannot be implemented to achieve the much-desired union of East and West, what would a suitable proposal look like for the overcoming of the division among Christians? I think the only hope for the restoration of ecclesiastical unity lies exclusively honest repentance alone; an honest repentance which presupposes and at the same time is realized only by a return in humility to the basic theological principles and presuppositions with the which the Church lived by in the time of the Ecumenical Synods. Humility will draw divine Grace and then unity will be achieved not by an untried, diplomatic compromise that relies on ambiguity of dogmatic expression which will only contribute to further bitterness and problems, but instead divine Grace will achieve the real and genuine “unity of faith and communion of the Holy Spirit”.

*  This article is the conclusions of the master's thesis entitled "The Church of Rome and its bishop in the minutes and decisions of the Ecumenical Councils",  2016,  p. 400.  
(1)  MANSI 17, 489B : “The holy synod said, each throne has  ancient traditional customs, and  concerning these there should be no disputation or quarreling one with another. The Church of the Romans guards her customs and this is fitting, while the Church of Constantinople guards her own customs which she has received from above and all of the sees of the East do in like manner”. The Synod however, as it mentions later, speaks about mass ordinations and not about the crucial theological issues which have implications for the very  structure and essence of the Church and the faith such as  the papal doctrines about Rome.
(2)  For a detailed analysis from an Orthodox perspective of UR, see Fr. Peter Alban Heers,  The Ecclesiological Renovation of Vatican II: An Orthodox Examination of Rome’s Ecumenical Theology Regarding Baptism and the Church, Uncut Mountain Press. Simpsonville, 2015.
(3)   “We can say without reservation that at the heart of the Decree we encounter the issue of unity and diversity. And even though the issue is raised explicitly in the three chapters of the text, nevertheless it emerges as mean of reading and comprehending the entire text”, See W. Henn, “At the Heart of Unitatis Redintegratio. Unity in Diversity”, Gregorianum 88(2007) 2, 330.  “Decree on Ecumenism”, §16-18, found online at <>:   “16. Already from the earliest times the Eastern Churches followed their own forms of ecclesiastical law and custom, which were sanctioned by the approval of the Fathers of the Church, of synods, and even of ecumenical councils. Far from being an obstacle to the Church's unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her splendor, and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has already been stated. To remove, then, all shadow of doubt, this holy Council solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, while remembering the necessary unity of the whole Church, have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them, since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this traditional principle not always indeed carried out in practice, is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity. 17. What has just been said about the lawful variety that can exist in the Church must also be taken to apply to the differences in theological expression of doctrine”, See also Ut Unum Sint  § 57. The proposal of “unity in diversity” is put forth as the basis for the union of all Christians by Pope Leo XIII. The Synod of Constantinople answer him in 1895 in a letter contained in Karmiris’ collection of dogmatic documents, vol. 2, p. 934.  [tr. An English translation is available online at the “Orthodox Christian Information Center <>].
(4)  According to J. Ratzinger : “Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than what had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium . . . Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had”, From his Principles of Catholic Theology, San Francisco, Ignatius, 1987, p. 199.   The suggestion of the then-Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland is in the same vein («Τί τὸ μόνιμον καὶ τί τὸ μεταβλητὸν εἰς τὴν πετρίνειον διακονίαν. Σκέψεις ἐξ Ὀρθοδόξου ἐπόψεως»[“What is permanent and what is changeable in the petrine ministry. Thoughts from an Orthodox perspective”], Στάχυς, 52-67(1977-1981) 508, D. Papandreou, “Ein Beitrag zur Uberwindung der Trennung zwischen der romisch-katholischen und der orthdoxen Kirche” found in Vasilios von Aristi, Das Papsamt: Dienst oder Hindernis für die Ökumene?  Regensburg 1985, p. 162, 166-167),  τοῦ H. Scutte, in Chr. Savvatos (now Metropolitan of Messinia), Τὸ παπικὸ πρωτεῖο στὸ διάλογο μεταξὺ Ὀρθοδόξων καὶ Ρωμαιοκαθολικῶν [The papal primacy in the dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics], Athens 2006, p. 14 καὶ τοῦ E. Lanne, in Damaskinos’ article, «Τί τὸ μόνιμον καὶ τί τὸ μεταβλητὸν εἰς τὴν πετρίνειον διακονίαν. Σκέψεις ἐξ Ὀρθοδόξου ἐπόψεως»,  Στάχυς, 52-67(1977-1981) 516-517.     
With much pain we must say some things about what Ratzinger has written: It is very tragic for an entire local Church, the greatest, most glorious and the most famous of the first millennium to have fallen into such confusion so that:
•    it considers as positive theological developments and progress what occurred in the second millennium regarding papal primacy.
•    it considers as theological progress the denial of the God-inspired, canonical, ecclesiastical order and tradition of the Ecumenical Synods.
•    it considers as theological progress a papal institution based on forgeries from the Dark Ages (such as the false “Donation of Constantine” and the Pseudo-Decretals of Isidore)(Cretan Draft on the Role of the Pope,  § 15) ! [Tr.: This refers to this document on the role of the papacy produced by the Joint Coordinating Committee for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church in Aghios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece, September 27 - October 4, 2008: <<>>]
I ask that these observations not be taken as hostile or polemical against Roman Catholics, but only as an expression of grief as well as concern and vigilance for us Orthodox.
(5)  The position is explicitly formulated in “Cretan Draft on the Role of the Pope” in §§ 15, 22 and especially in § 32 : “The experience of the first millennium profoundly influenced the course of relations between the Churches of the East and the West. Despite growing divergence and temporary schisms during this period, communion was still maintained between West and East. The principle of diversity-in-unity, which was explicitly accepted at the council of Constantinople held in 879-80, has particular significance for the theme of this present stage of our dialogue. Distinct divergences of understanding and interpretation did not prevent East and West from remaining in communion. There was a strong sense of being one Church, and a determination to remain in unity, as one flock with one shepherd (cf. Jn 10:16). The first millennium, which has been examined in this stage of our dialogue, is the common tradition of both our Churches. In its basic theological and ecclesiological principles which have been identified here, this common tradition should serve as the model for the restoration of our full communion“.   Metropolitan Damaskinos Papandreou takes a similar position in «Τί τὸ μόνιμον καὶ τί τὸ μεταβλητὸν εἰς τὴν πετρίνειον διακονίαν. Σκέψεις ἐξ Ὀρθοδόξου ἐπόψεως»,  Στάχυς, 52-67(1977-1981)  508.
(6)  Encyclical Letter “Ut Unum Sint: On Committment to Ecumenism“ of Pope John Paul II, 25 May 1995, § 50, found online at <>
(7)  "Address of the Holy Father Pope John Paull II To the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs," Tuesday, 29 September 1998 <>
(8)   “The Sacred Council feels great joy in the fruitful zealous collaboration of the Eastern and the Western Catholic Churches and at the same time declares: All these directives of law are laid down in view of the present situation until such time as the Catholic Church and the separated Eastern Churches come together into complete unity”, Οrientalium Ecclesiarum, § 30 available online < council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_orientalium-ecclesiarum_en.html>  The Synod “feels great” at the present work of the Unia…
(9)  Concerning the Unia in the theological dialogue with Rome see Th. Zisis, Οὐνία, Ἡ καταδίκη καὶ ἡ ἀθώωση [Unia, Condemnation or Acquittal ], publ. Vryennios, Thessaloniki 2002, G. Kapsanis, «Οὐνία, Ἡ μέθοδος τοῦ παποκεντρικοῦ Οἰκουμενισμοῦ» [“Unia, The Method of Papal-centric Ecumenism”], Παρακαταθήκη [Heritage], 60(2008), 3-10.  For an historical approach to the Unia,  see G. Metallinos, D. Gonis, I. Fratseas, Eu. Morarou, Bishop Athanasios (Yevtits), Ἡ Οὐνία, χθὲς καὶ σήμερα [The Unia, yesterday and today] publ. Armos, Athens 1992. For a more extensive bibliography regarding the Unia,  cf.  K. Kotsiopoulos, Ἡ Οὐνία στὴν Ἑλληνικὴ θεολογικὴ βιβλιογραφία [The Unia in Greek theological literature], publ. Vryennios, Thessaloniki 1993.
(10)  It is characteristic that Rome issued its decree “Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite” as “a kind of ‘insurance’ that the restoration of communion with Rome will not be carried out with any renunciation of elements of the non-Latin ecclesiastical traditions”.
(11)    Th. Zisis, «Ἡ οὐνία ὡς πρότυπο ψευδοῦς ἑνότητος. Τὰ ὅρια τῆς ποικιλομορφίας ἐν σχέσει πρὸς τὴν ἑνότητα» [“The Unia as a model of false unity. The limits of diversity in relation to unity”], - «Πρωτεῖον» Συνοδικότης καὶ ἑνότης τῆς Ἐκκλησίας, Πρακτικὰ Θεολογικῆς Ἡμερίδος [“Primacy” of Synodality and Unity of the Church, Acts of a Theological Conference], publ. The Holy Metropolis of Piraeus, Piraeus 2011, p. 107-114.
(12)  From the letter of Pope Agatho read at the Third Synod of Constantinople, available here, <>
(13)  Tr. Translation taken from the English edition of the Rudder available online: < /books/english/councils_local_rudder.htm>
(14)  Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Letter Communionis notio,  § 17. 3  (28.5.1992),  available online at
(15)  “Unitatis Redintegratio: Decree on Ecumenism” from the Second Vatican Council §3 found online here <>. I. Maragou,  Οἰκουμενικὰ Α΄[Ecumenical Topics, vol. 1], Athens 1986,  p.33,   as well as the 29/6/2007 response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei) of the Roman Curia, found online at < cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_200 70629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html>.

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Montag, 24. Oktober 2016

Der heilige Dimitrios (oder Demetrios) der Myronausströmende

Der heilige Demetrios von Thessaloniki (griech. Άγιος Δημήτριος της Θεσσαλονίκης; bulgarisch Димитър Тесалонийскиrussisch Деметрий; * 3. Jahrhundert; † um 306) ist ein Heiliger der orthodoxe Kirche.
Die hl. Dimitrios und Nestoras

Der heilige Dimitrios ist um 280 - 284 n.Chr. geboren und erfuhr das Martyrium unter der Herrschaft von Diokletian und Maximinus Daia um 303 oder 305 n.Chr.. Der Heilige war der Sohn einer angesehenen, wohlhabenden Familie von Thessaloniki. Seiner körperlichen wie auch geistigen Tugenden wegen stieg er zügig die Leiter der Militärsgrade hinauf und wurde mit 22 Jahren zuμ Kommandeur einer Tausendschaft (Chiliarch) ernannt. Als Diokletian die Verfolgungen der christlichen Population befiel, weigerte sich der Christ Dimitrios dieser Anweisung zu gehorchen und half zunächst im Untergrund den festgenommenen Christen. Außerdem nahm er an christlichen Versammlungen und Gottesdiensten, sowie an Bibelkreisen teil. Sein Glauben und seine Aktionen wurden aufgedeckt und er bezeugte sie auch selbst furchtlos vor seinen Vorgesetzten. Daraufhin wurde er um 303 festgenommen und in einem Verließ festgehalten, das sich in der Krypta der heutigen Kirche zu Ehren des Heiligen in Thessaloniki befand. 
Im Verließ traf er auf einen anderen Christen, Nestoras (oder Nestor), der in einem Zweikampf, zur Ergötzung der Herrscher und der Menge, dem angsteinflößenden und bis dato unbesiegbaren Lyäos begegnen sollte. Der junge Christ bat Dimitrios um seine Gebete, der ihm seinen Segen gab. Nestoras bezwang Lyäos. Die Hinrichtung der beiden Christen wurde befohlen.
Die Soldaten durchbohrten den Leib des Heiligen mit vielen Speerstichen, bis er seine Seele Gott übergab. Fromme Christen bestatteten geheim den Körper von Dimitrios am selbigen Ort seiner Hinrichtung. Ein Schüler des Heiligen namens Lupius nahm seinen Rind und sein Obergewand an sich und bestrich beides mit dem Märtyrerblut. Später fanden mit diesen viele Wunder statt.
Nach dem Märtyrertod begann aus seinen heiligen Reliquien heiliges Myron zu strömen, das bis heute sehr wundertätig ist.
Der heilige Dimitrios ist der Schutzheilige von Thessaloniki.

 Der Namenstag des heiligen Dimitrios ist der 26. Oktober.

Die Kirche des heiligen Dimitrios befindet sich in der „Agiou Dimitriou“ Straße in unmittelbarer Nähe der antiken Agora.

Die Kirche des Schutzheiligen von Thessaloniki ist eine 5-schiffige Basilika. Die Basilika hat ein hölzernes Dach. Hagios Dimitrios ist 43,6 m lang und 33 m breit.
Der Heilige Dimitrios ist auf den Überresten des antiken römischen Bads in Thessaloniki entstanden. Der Heiligengeschichte zufolge ist Dimitrios in dem römischen Bad gefangen gehalten worden und ist dort auch zum Märtyrer geworden. Sein Grab liegt ebenfalls unterhalb der Kirche. 
Die erste Kirche an dem Platz in Thessaloniki datiert aus dem Jahr 343 n. Chr. kurz nachdem Konstantin der Große im römischen Reich den christlichen Glauben als Staatsreligion etabliert hat. 413 n. Chr. ist an diesem Platz eine größere Kirche gebaut worden, die im Lauf der Jahrhunderte mehrmals umgebaut worden ist. Diese größere Kirche ist zwischen 629 und 634 abgebrannt und ist noch größer aufgebaut worden. 904 wird der Heilige Dimitrios von den Sarazenen und 1185 von den Normannen geplündert. Bei der Eroberung von Thessaloniki durch die Osmanen 1430 wird die Kirche erneut geplündert.
Während des Mittelalters sind die Gebeine des Heiligen Dimitrios von Mönchen gestohlen worden. Der Heilige Dimitrios hat mehrere Jahrhunderte in der Kirche San Lorenzo in Campo geruht, bis 1978 die Gebeine nach Thessaloniki überführt worden sind.
Im Jahr 1490 wird der Heilige Dimitrios in eine Moschee mit dem Namen Kasimie Tsami umgewandelt und erst mit dem Anschluss Thessalonikis an Griechenland 1912 wird die Kirche wieder christlich.
1917 ist der Heilige Dimitrios beim großen Brand von Thessaloniki schwer beschädigt worden. Die Kirche ist nach 1917 im originalgetreuen Zustand wieder aufgebaut worden. Der Wiederaufbau dauert unter anderem wegen des II. Weltkrieges und des Bürgerkriegs bis zum Jahr 1949. Endgültig fertiggestellt im heutigen Zustand ist der Heilige Dimitrios 1958.
Zu den Besonderheiten der Kirche gehören ihre Krypta mit den Resten des römischen Bades, die Kapelle des Heiligen Efthymios, das Renaissance-Grab des Wohltäters Lukas Spantounis und der oktogonale begehbare Reliquienschrein des Heiligen Dimitrios.
Einige, der zahllosen Mosaiken aus dem Heiligen Dimitrios befinden sich heute im Museum des „Weißen Turm“ und im Byzantinischen Museum.

Quelle u.a.:

Kirche des heiligen Dimitrios in Thessaloniki - saint Demetrios

Krypta der Kirche d. heiligen Dimitrios in Thessaloniki