Talk:Demetrius of Thessaloniki

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According to Anastasius the Librarian (text @, Saint Demetrius was killed in Thessaloniki and not in Sirmium. So, I will change what is written in the article. According to the Hungarian article, he was born in Sirmium. Try as I might, I didn't find any text to say where he was born.

Sorry, forgot to sign. KostasG 11:32, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

St. Demetrius is also apparently the patron saint of Bucharest, Romania and is on their coat of arms TMLutas 22:35, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

What about the the Saint Demetrius mentioned in the Catholic Encyclopedia as being the patron of Origen, dying in the mid second century and with a hagiography written by the Egyptian church?


You're probably thinking of Demetrius of Alexandria. Also, please sign your posts.

--Alekjds 19:16, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Update: I created a disambiguation page so that a query for "Saint Demetrius" brings up both saints. This should help sort things out in the future.

--Alekjds 19:29, 23 September 2006 (UTC)


A large chunk of copyrighted text was dumped into the article. I warned the uploader, but his still persists. Please deal with the problem. --Ghirla -трёп- 07:15, 27 October 2006 (UTC)


to your question (edit summary):306 (311 latest for Galerius) + 150 = 456, about right for the huge church - better than 481 anyway.

This section began:

St. Demetrius is most commonly depicted in icons, mosaics and frescoes wearing the armour of a Roman soldier, although before about 600 AD, he is simply portrayed in robes. After the Fall...

- I changed 600 to 700, which is certainly right, but I suspect say 900 or even later would be nearer the mark. Do you have a good ref? Also for him only being mounted after the fall of C?

Johnbod 14:43, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, the dating of the church is not very solid, so either 150-175 is probably OK. I was following Skedros "Response" (cited in article) who starts:
The origins of the cult of St. Demetrios are indeed obscure. The earliest indisputable evidence for the exixstence of the cult of St. Demetrios at Thessaloniki is the large five-aisle basilica.... Based upon archaeological and historical evidence, the basilica can be dated to the last quarter of the fifth century. ...written tradition... places the saint's martyrdom... during the first decade of the fourth century, some one-hundred and seventy five years before the erection of the saint's basilica.
As for the 600 figure:
there is absolutely no evidence to indicate thst St. Demetrios was venerated as a military martyr earlier than 600 CE.... the development of St. Demetrios into a military saint was gradual; the pivotal point coming during and after the Slav-Avar siege of Thessaloniki in 586....
By the way, in the Hagios Demetrios article, you mention adding information from Cormack ... you should source this within the article. --Macrakis 17:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I have done the ref. Unfortunately I can't access JStor. Cormack has mid-C5 for the basilica. St D is clearly still civilian in the mosaics from after the 620 fire (as the one illustrated at the HD article). The 2 C7th Books (one early, one late in the century) on his miracles, which Cormack discusses at length, see him as civilian in his life but subsequently lending a miraculous hand in military operations, as in other ways. If it is him to the right of the famous Sinai icon of the Virgin (late C6, early C7) & not St George, he is shown as civilian there too. I'm sure Skedros is right, but when he says "gradual", I think that could easily mean 300yrs at Byzantine speed. Is he more specific in the article as to when the change took place? Johnbod 21:46, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Icons now sorted, per Weitzmann, unless anyone knows earlier ones. Johnbod 01:33, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The article mentions that the icon of St. Demetrios depicts him killing Lyaeus, the gladiator. I believe that the Greek Orthodox Church believes that the icon depicts Saint Demetrios slaying the Emperor Maximian. It actually symbolizes the spiritual struggle and triumph of the Saint over the pagan Emperor. The spear, in typical manner of icons, depicts the weapon used in the slaying of the Saint by the Roman soldiers.imoutsatsos —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:40, 26 October 2008 (UTC)


The word cult is used very frequently and noticeably in the upper half of the article. Obviously, the term has a very strong negative connotation in English. Although equivalents of 'cult' in other languages do not imply such a connotation, and although the word in English may have previously not held such a connotation, it doesn't change the fact that in modern times, its mere presence makes the article seem biased against Christianity, or at least Hagiography.

I know, of course, that some people take veneration of the saints too far, almost to the point of worship- but that's against Christianity, and condemned. The article almost makes it sound like a natural occurrence.

Perhaps it should be replaced with a more neutral term, i.e. 'following', perhaps?

I may change it if I find a suitable term, but I felt the reasoning needed mention here. --C.Logan 04:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

'cult' is the usual term in English-language scholarship and writing. While it does have negative connotations to the person unaware of its academic usage, it remains the most precise and useful term available. InfernoXV 05:07, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Logan, you are mistaken about the meaning of Cult (religious practice). Check out OED:
A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies.
This is much more than just the "following" (a group of people); it is the practices associated with the veneration of the saint. I am not aware of any other term which can replace "cult" in this sense.
You seem to believe that the term is now useless for this meaning because of the more recent application of this term:
A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister. (OED)
But it remains the standard term in the study of religion. Try the Google search "cult of saint" (20,000 hits) vs. "following of saint" (20 hits) or on Google Scholar (383 vs. 1).
I have restored this standard terminology. --Macrakis 15:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree Johnbod 15:14, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I do not believe the term is useless; nor am I unaware of it's proper and professional usage.
Please have good faith in my edits, for I'm merely altering the article to be in more common terms, since it is obviously not guaranteed that someone compelled to learn about a particular saint will be fully aware of the more proper use of the term cult, beyond the usage to which we've become more familiar in recent years, thanks to certain unfortunate examples such as Heaven's Gate.
Additionally, regarding the commonly implied sense of the term, it has become a rather sensitive issue to many Catholics and Orthodox Christians, as many Protestants and Non-Christians alike consistently insist that these denominations "worship" the saints as a sort of pantheon of demi-gods.
Since it is true that the technical term used by the Roman Catholic administration for a group devoted to the particular veneration of a saint is indeed "cult", it might be useful to provide that information within the article itself. Remember that Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia... it has become an extremely popular source for information through all levels of education- it can be supposed that those who are unaware of the technical meaning of the word 'cult' along with a pre-existing bias towards Christianity (or religion in general) may read this usage of the term and presume it is the more popular, negative usage, thus adding a sort of "fuel to the fire" and possibly causing them to read the rest of the article in according to their pre-existing bias; this may seem like a convoluted example, but Wikipedia can (and has) be used to eliminate ignorance and negative presuppositions. Even though critics tear away at Wikipedia for obvious reasons, I can say it has helped me learn many a thing (especially considering it's vast catalogue of articles).
I agree that "following" is an insufficient term. It's usage makes it seem as if Demetrios had followers during his lifetime (assuming that he did exist), which wouldn't usually be the case, especially for someone depicted as a soldier.
While cult is more effective in the technical sense, it would be good to include a small note in parentheses by it's first occurence, so that a casual reader might not confuse the two senses of the word. Whether or not you agree with my needless paragraph above, I believe this is a slight change which will help disambiguate the connotations (as a friend who had read the article also presumed the negative sense of the word), and might inform some who are not aware of the term beyond the popular usage reserved for groups like the Raelians.
Indeed, a link to the proper cult article isn't even included, though that would be a minor step in the right direction (though many may not assume that the meaning of the term is any different from the sense which they are already aware of).
My mother, father, and grandmother, if reading this article about the saint, would almost certainly conclude that the cult was of the "Nike-wearing" variety.
Such is sad evidence of what happens in a culture where the nightly news is the most information many people recieve on a daily basis.
For that reason alone, I would want to clarify the usage.
I wouldn't be sure of the smoothest way to but such a disclaimer into the article, since I feel that the first sentence which mentions "cult" is a little bit awkward for an encyclopedia.
Well, just an idea. --C.Logan 03:03, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I see we fortunately have articles that (on a very quick look) seem to describe the two uses of the term pretty well: Cult and Cult (religious practice). At the moment the various "cult" occurences are not linked - the first one should be. Perhaps an element of rewording & I think that should solve the problem. Johnbod 03:10, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for amending the article; I didn't mean to seem unreasonable, if that impression was given; since it seems that a simple, unfavorable selection of words can lead to the spread of misinformation, I wanted to ensure that this wouldn't happen, at least here.
(Take for example that some Catholic sources will actually use the term worship in regards to saintly veneration- obviously, this only helps fuel anti-Catholic [and anti-Orthodox, though that's not so common] polemics.)--C.Logan 03:59, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I think I've seen a bit of that on WP, though i can't remember where! Johnbod 04:11, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


I inserted what I think must be meant by the quote marks this time.

Look, this is a very unencyclopedic style; the written equivalent of a sneer. It hints at something amiss without actually saying what it is. Wikipedia is a reference work -- say what you mean. It's also possible it meant there's evidence that someone dug up a body which they knew was not St. Demetrius', and presented it as if it was the genuine article. I don't know which; I don't have this book available. But whatever the reference says, please report it. TCC (talk) (contribs) 20:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It's very rarely a good idea to edit to what you think a book "must" mean; and not here. Johnbod 21:14, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
That's true, but if I had just removed the quote marks again you'd have just replaced them. I didn't necessarily think I'd guessed correctly, but I figured if I was wrong someone who had the source available would fix it. Why valid text couldn't be inserted in the first place I don't understand. TCC (talk) (contribs) 21:57, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
It is irresponsible to remove text from an article simply because you suspect it is not well-supported. Wikipedia has a mechanism for marking points that are not well-referenced, the {{needs citation}} tag. It becomes especially irresponsible when you don't bother to check the references which have already been provided. It doesn't make sense to footnote every single assertion of fact, or we'd end up with something like (references made up):
For four centuries after the traditional date of his death, St. Demetrius had no physical relics,[1] and in their place an unusual[2] empty shrine called the "ciborium" was built inside Hagios Demetrios.[3]
    • ^ Skedros, p. 23; Woods, p. 45; Cormack, p. 12
    • ^ Woods, p. 23, citing the Encyclopedia of Byzantium, 4:234
    • ^ Cormack, p. 99
    It would be far more productive if you would check the existing references first, and then discuss discrepancies between what the article reports and what they say. And of course if you have better references, bring those into the discussion, too. --Macrakis 20:50, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
    You have obviously not been following what this was about. The text I removed consisted of the quote marks around the word "discovered". The problem with it wasn't that it was unsupported, it's that it didn't really say anything at all. What were the quote marks for? It implied some kind of chicanery or irregularity without actually saying what it was. This is far worse than saying nothing about it at all, and far more irresponsible than removing a couple of punctuation marks. (Really -- of all the things to lecture someone about at this length, this has got to be the most ridiculous.) I tried explaining myself in the edit summaries, but despite practically begging nothing of any substance was added by way of explanation was forthcoming, and I don't have access to the source in question. I therefore added (not removed) my best guess as to what this was all about.
    Don't go around lecturing people if you haven't troubled yourself to find out what the problem is. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:12, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with Csernica. In past readings of this article, I was a little taken aback by the quotation-marked "discovered"- it did give a hint that the author of that statement doesn't believe in their authenticity. That's fine if that person does not, but some people do. It takes only a few more words to explain that others doubt the authenticity of the relics rather than to include a tidbit which seems to reek of sarcasm, and subtly suggest their inauthenticity. The current state of the paragraph is much improved, and is much more informative. Why has this even become such a point of argument?--C.Logan 00:09, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    Because Csernica keeps going on about it. There is more evidence of their inauthenticity that I did not feel the need to go into, as I did not want to labour or over-emphasise the point. Now that Csernica has forced a more emphatic version, we shall see whether other editors also feel this is prefereable. Macrakis is certainly right that you cannot predict what editors will feel needs a reference; another editor (also a member of WikiProject Eastern Orthodoxy) has added a cite tag on Icon for "... Islam, severely limit(s) the use of visual representations[citation needed]." So you never can tell! Johnbod 02:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    Or perhaps because you kept putting it back? Yes, an explicit statement is better than a sneering insinuation! This is an encyclopedia. We provide information, not innuendo. If there's something to say, say it. That's what you do in an encyclopedia. Surely that's not an unreasonable idea. TCC (talk) (contribs) 02:45, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    It should not have been removed anyway, as discussed above, and you have kept going on about it long after it was referenced. "sneering insinuation" is ridiculous - you are just showing your POV. Please remember WP:CIVIL. Johnbod 02:58, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    No, it's because of what both C.Logan and I have been trying to tell you: quote marks used in this way don't say anything. Either there's a question about authenticity or there isn't; merely hinting at some issue isn't information. The more "emphatic" (you meant "explicit"; quote marks actually draw attention more effectively than straight text) version here is now much better. (It could be better yet. What does "appeared" mean? Did a set of bones just show up by themselves one day?) It has nothing to do with my POV. If it did, I wouldn't have asked for clearer information but would have wanted it cut altogether. But I never asked for that. Be civil yourself. Not everyone who disagrees with the way you want something put does so for bad reasons. And yes, a sneer is what those quote marks conveyed whether or not you intended them to. (But why should saying so be uncivil anyway? I have no idea who added them in the first place.) TCC (talk) (contribs) 03:47, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    I actually looked it up out of curiosity, and from what I can tell, the statement in question was added by Macrakis. The preceding sentence is hard evidence to my wealth of free time. Either way, I'm hoping this argument comes to a close.--C.Logan 04:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
    Actually I see this is correct (Jan 10 I think), though I had introduced the subject just before as: "Although St Demetrius was in the seventh century unusual in having no physical relics, some have since appeared." As you say we have talked about this long enough. Johnbod 13:47, 2 April 2007 (UTC)