July 13 marked the 249th anniversary of the translation of the relics of Saint Demetrius the New to Bucharest. Looking to the future, Romania’s capital and the Patriarchal Cathedral are preparing for next year’s 250th anniversary of the saint’s protection over Bucharest.
Last year, the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church decided to include a new feast day in the church calendar. The official celebration of the transfer of the relics of Saint Demetrius the New to Bucharest as a separate feast will commence on July 13, 2024.
To this point, works are being carried out on a festal icon, and the feast’s service text is being drafted. In addition, a new ecclesiastical order will be established and bestowed on those who have contributed to the Church’s presence.
General Ivan Petrovich Saltykov brought the incorrupt relics of Saint Demetrius the New to Bucharest on July 13, 1774. He had taken them from the village of Basarabov, near Ruse, to safeguard them from Turkish invasion during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774.
When the procession arrived in Bucharest, a wealthy merchant named Hatzi Demetrius and Metropolitan Gregory II of Wallachia petitioned the Russian general to leave the relics to the Romanian people and the Metropolis as a consolation for the numerous material losses and sufferings endured by Romanians during the war, especially since the saint was a Vlach (Romanian).
The relics were housed in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Bucharest, which is now known as the Patriarchal Cathedral. Saint Demetrius the New’s official feast day is on October 27. Saint Demetrius the New is the patron saint of Bucharest, and his feast is one of the country’s most significant pilgrimages.
Photo credit: Photo Library of Romanian Orthodoxy