The celebration of Saint Demetrius in Bigorski

The celebration of the Holy and glorious Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki the Myrrh-gusher for the Sacred Bigorski Monastery is not just an annual commemoration, but also an essential grace-filled encounter with the Wonderworker, in the living tradition of the Orthodox Church. Beloved dearly by our Elder, Bishop of Antania, Mr. Parthenius and his monastic community, Saint Demetrius is always a reason for spiritual joy and elevation. And that was exactly the last night’s vigil in honor of his memory, at which the monks from Bigorski and the nuns from Rajcica and Prechista, as well as the faithful who came, gathered in the mystical light of the Forerunner’s temple, entered into a time beyond time, participating with prayers and hymns in the conciliar celebration of the God-glorifying mighty our intercessor and protector. And with every offered prayer, with every sung sticheron, time seemed to fade away for a moment, the past entered into the present and the quiet light illuminated the living memory of the steadfast testimony of the glorious Great Martyr of Christ for the Resurrection.

In the light, however, of this mystical autumn day, the Divine Liturgy that was served to us by our beloved and respected Elder, Bishop of Antania, Mr. Parthenius, together with the brothers hieromonks and hierodeacons, was not only a remembrance, but also an encounter with the Holy One, the presence of the Kingdom of God. The mystagogy of the Elder, supported by the grace-filled presence of the Thessalonian Wonderworker, was a vital force that led the liturgical assembly into the depths of life in Christ. The very service, the prayers, the liturgical songs, the words spoken, the received Holy Gifts, all of that was part of the Theanthropic action – the continuous dialogue of God with man, through the great Divine mysteries of the Church. A special blessing and honor for us today was the presence and wonderful singing of the esteemed protopsalt Mr. Konstantin Angelidis, the choir leader of the world-renowned choir for Eastern Orthodox singing “Tropos” from Athens.

All present were called not only to remember Saint Demetrius, but also to stand with him, the Church’s Warrior and Victor, in the eschatological reality of the Church.

For, as our Elder, Bishop Mr. Partenius, once said, “Saint Demetrius stands before the world and before the ages as a proof of the unchanging truth of Christ’s victory over death. His strength was not shown in his high and powerful position in the Roman army, but in his humble, but unyielding confession of Christ and His Resurrection, in his humiliations, in his endurance of tortures and in his brave martyrdom. In his very person we see the action of the Paschal mystery – the mystery that lies at the very essence of the preaching of the Church. He, as a soldier of Christ God, wore the armor of faith and the cross as a sword, and as a martyr he was clothed in the incorruptibility of the Resurrection. His martyrdom is not only a distant historical event, but also a mystical reality, woven into the living tissue of the Church. In his enduring testimony we still hear today with the same power the call to embody the Gospel in the midst of this transient and vain world. For, as fragrant oil flows from his holy relics, so also God’s grace is poured out upon us now, anointing us with courage, to witness the truth in our age, as the Great Martyr witnessed in his own. Thus, by celebrating Saint Demetrius, we are introduced into the living narrative of deification, in which he himself now delights in the fullness of the Kingdom. His prayers and blessings be with us.”