Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki
Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki : Civic Patron and Divine Protector, 4th-7th Centuries CE
The late antique city of Thessaloniki claimed particular devotion to a local Christian hero and martyr of the early fourth century named Demetrios. Hagiographical texts depict Demetrios as a young Roman citizen who was arrested, jailed, and martyred during a visit by the emperor Galerius to Thessaloniki in the first decade of the fourth century. A popular local veneration of the saint quickly developed, and by the middle of the seventh century St. Demetrios was venerated as a divine patron and protector of Thessaloniki. Through examination of archaeological, art-historical, and textual evidence, this book seeks to analyze the process by which Demetrios rose to the status of divine urban patron. The evidence shows how the cult of St. Demetrios developed in a manner quite different from other contemporary martyr cults, thus suggesting wider implications for the history of martyr veneration in early Christianity.