March 19, 2015

Holy New Martyr Demetrios the Tornaras (+ 1564)

St. Demetrios the Tornaras (Feast Day - March 19)

On March 19, 1564, a young man steadfast in his great love for Jesus Christ and the Orthodox Church was beheaded by the Muslims for refusing to convert to the Muslim religion. His name was Demetrios Tornaras.

Unfortunately, we know very few other details of Demetrios' life and martyrdom. What we do know is that he often kept company with Muslims, who one day decided he too should be a Muslim. Because of Demetrios' reluctance to deny Jesus Christ and change his faith, the Muslims proceeded to accuse him of having insulted the Islamic religion.

Demetrios was therefore forced to make a choice between his life and conversion to the Muslim faith. Demetrios did choose, but not the religion preached by Muhammad; he chose Jesus Christ and offered his life for Him. Demetrios was then sentenced to death and was beheaded.

Thus Demetrios Tornaras gave his life for the love of Jesus Christ on March 19th, in the year 1564.

From Witnesses For Christ: Orthodox Christian Neomartyrs of the Ottoman Period 1437-1860, by Nomikos Michael Vaporis, p. 77.