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October 26, 2015

Commemoration of the Transfer of the Icon of St. Demetrios from Thessaloniki to Constantinople

Commemoration of the Transfer of the Icon of St. Demetrios
to Pantokratoros Monastery from Thessaloniki (Feast Day - October 26)


You will not be absent from the royal city,
Being transferred there through your icon O Martyr.

During the reign of Emperor Manuel Komnenos (1143-1180), when Joseph was Abbot of the sacred and royal Monastery of Pantokratoros in Constantinople, in March of 1149, the Emperor was on his way to war with Sicily. Having passed through Thessaloniki, the Abbot met with the Emperor in a village two days from the city called Dobrochouvista, two miles from Beroea, about a two day journey from Thessaloniki. Among other things, the Abbot reminded the Emperor of his ancestor's promise to give the miraculous icon that lay upon the tomb of Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki to the Monastery of Pantokratoros.

The Emperor was glad to honor the promise. Having written a letter to the Duke of Thessaloniki whose name was Basil, he asked that he make a new icon of Saint Demetrios to place upon his tomb, and the old icon was to be taken and transferred to the Monastery of Pantokratoros in Constantinople. This was immediately done. A new icon of Saint Demetrios, more beautiful and larger than the one before, made of gold and silver was placed on the tomb, while the old icon was transferred to Constantinople.

As the icon of Saint Demetrios arrived in Constantinople, government officials with clergy and laity, together with the monks of the Monastery of Pantokratoros formed a reception with much celebration, that reached up to seven miles from the city. It was received with joyous hymns and songs, with incense and lamps. Having arrived in the Monastery of Pantokratoros on the 23rd of October, Christians from Constantinople and the surrounding area came to venerate the holy and wonderworking icon continuously until October 26th, which was the primary feast of Saint Demetrios. Yet this year the celebration took place with greater joy and brilliance.

The transfer of this sacred icon of Saint Demetrios took place for many reasons. First, to be a great adornment and protection and helper to the revered and royal Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros. Second, to be a helper to the dynasty of the Komnenoi and their successors, which through its invisible power would be able to save the Roman Empire from its enemies. And third, to be a protector of the Royal City of Constantinople, among other reasons.