Serbia, was both soldier and martyr;
he suffered in the early 4th century under Maximian. He became immensely popular in the East, where he was called ‘The Great Martyr,’ and subsequently in the West. He came to be regarded as a never-failing help in all needs, especially against evil spirits and their results.
Leontius, prefect of Illyricum, built two churches in honour of Demetrius in the early 5th century: one at Sirmium and the other at Thessalonica, where at least some of the relics were enshrined. Here holy oil flowed from them, as from the bones of Nicholas and Walburga. During the Crusades this saint, like George, was ‘adopted’ by the western soldiers, especially after the battle of Antioch (1098). Over 200 churches in the Balkans are dedicated to him and he is the patron of Belgrade. Feast in the East 26 October, but in the West 8 October.
AA.SS. Oct. IV (1780), 50–209, reinterpreted by H. Delehaye, Les Légendes grecques des saints militaires (1909), pp. 103–9. N.C.E., iv. 744–5;B. T. A., iv. 63;Bibl. SS., iv. 556–65.