When Images Meet Holiness: The Holy Relics of Saint Demetrios the New

Source: Basilica.ro
Aurelian Iftimiu | 20 October 2020

The Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest keeps a very important gift of Romanians: the holy relics of Saint Demetrios the New, Protector of Bucharest. Received from General Pyotr Saltykov, the holy relics have been blessing Romanians for over 240 years.

In 1786, the relics of St. Demetrios were placed in a wooden reliquary, clad in silver in some places. The coffin was made by Metropolitan Gregory II of Wallachia.

Since 1879 the relics are kept in the current reliquary, made of solid silver at the expense of Bishop Ghenadie Petrescu of Argeş. Photo: Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene.

The reliquary depicts scenes from the life of Saint Demetrios on its sides.

Monastic tonsure. Photo: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.
Saint Demetrios guarding the flocks of sheep. Photo: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.
The blessed repose of St Demetrios the New. Photo: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.
Finding of the holy relics in the Lom River. Foto credit: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.

The lid has the depiction of the full-size image of the Saint wearing monastic vestments.

Photo: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.

The following inscription is engraved at the feet of St. Demetrios:

For the piety and love of the Holy and Venerable Father Demetrios Basarabov, this silver coffin was made, adorned as can be seen, through the effort and at the expense of the bishop Ghenadie II of Argeş and of some good Christians, to be for the memory of the descendants, who, seeing this, to urge themselves to do other great deeds and useful to the Romanian people. This coffin was made in the days of His Majesty Carol I, the brave lord of the Romanians, the year of salvation 1879, December, with Mr. Vasile Boerescu being the minister of religious affairs, when this coffin was handed over.

Above the inscription is engraved the image of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helen. Photo: Basilica.ro / Mircea Florescu.
The reliquary was made by the silver master Theodor Filipov Russ. Photo: Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene.
In 1933, the coffin was placed in a specially arranged niche in the eastern wall of the narthex, on the left. Photo: Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene.
Patriarch Justinian generalized the devotion to St. Demetrios in the entire Romanian Orthodox Church in 1955. Photo: Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene.
Believers venerating the relics of St Demetrios the New. Photo: Basilica.ro /Mircea Florescu / Files
The last reconditioning of the reliquary took place in 2007. Photo: Basilica.ro /Raluca Ene.

Photography courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene

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