St. Demetrios was born to devout and noble parents in a.d. 270 in the city of Salonika, now Thessalonika in Greece, then part of the Roman Empire. His father was the military governor of Salonika and a secret Christian. His son was taught the Faith and baptized, growing up devout and humble, but with a very vigorous spirit. When his father died, the brave and intelligent St. Demetrios was appointed by the Emperor Maximian as the new military governor of the city, and its protector and ruler.
Maximian charged his new appointee to go back to Salonika and find and put to death all who were Christians. When St. Demetrius returned, however, he immediately began to confess and glorify his Faith in Christ, and influenced others to do so also, condemning the Emperor’s idolatry. When the Emperor later heard this and returned to the city, he had the saint imprisoned, where St. Demetrius saw an angel to help him. He was martyred when run through with spears in the year a.d. 306, and his body flowed so much fragrant and healing myrrh that he is called “the Myrrh-Gusher.” He is often shown riding a red horse in his icons.