Orthodox Christians Hail St. Demetrius
Orthodox Christians in Bulgaria, Greece and other churches observing the Gregorian calendar are celebrating Saturday the holiday of St. Demetrius.
Known as Dimitrovden in Bulgaria - meaning the Day of St. Dimitar - the feast is an important church and traditional holiday.
St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, a Christian martyr who lived in the 4th century, is an important saint for Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbs, and Russians.
In Greece, he is seen as the patron saint of Thessaloniki, having allegedly safeguarded the city throughout centuries of foreign invasion.
Saturday major church and public processions are convened in major Greek cities, in festivities that will lead to the Monday celebration of the so-called Ochi Day, commemorating the Greek refusal to Benito Mussolini's occupation ultimatum on October 28, 1940.
In Bulgaria's Veliko Tarnovo, people are celebrating the 1185-6 uprising of bolyar brothers Asen and Petar, who took St. Demetrius as their patron, and went on to found the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Saturday, October 26, Bulgarians bearing the names Dimitar, Dimitrina, Dimitra, Dimo and derivatives are celebrating their name day.
In Bulgarian folk beliefs, the feast of St. Dimitar signals the inception of winter.