Demetrios the Neomartyr

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Demetrios the Neomartyr, also Neomartyr Demetrios of the Peloponnesos or Neomartyr Demetrios of Chios, was a martyr for Christ, who as a young teenager converted to Islam, then repented with deep remorse, became an ascetic monk upon his return to Christ, and felt compelled to return to Tripolis, and confess his faith in Christ, in the place of his acceptance of Islam. There, he was martyred by them as a turncoat from Islam. He is commemorated on April 14.

Life

Demetrios was born in a small village near the city of Tripolis, in the Arcadia area of the Peloponnesos. In the early nineteenth century the Turks had firmly controlled this area for more than three centuries.

As a teenager, Demetrios was apprenticed to a Turkish contractor in Tripolis, who convinced him to refuse Christ and to accept Islam for the good life. Demetrios even changed his name and became Mehmet.

Fortunately, his father found Demetrios after several months, drew the boy away from the Islamic environment, and returned him to the Christ once again. The young Christian fervently prayed for forgiveness, and became very contrite. Leaving Tripolis, Demetrios made his way to the island of Chios where he hoped to show his sincere repentance.

At Chios, he was admitted to a monastery in which he want to cleanse himself of his shameful act and to serve the Savior with all his heart and soul. Many monks heard his confessions and were deeply moved by the young man's sincere remorse. So they let him remain amongst them. Finally, he was tonsured a monk after the proper training. Wishing to console Demetrios, the abbot reminded him the story of Peter's denial of Christ, after which Apostle Peter repented and became a saint.

Demetrios lived a very ascetic life, but he was troubled by an unfulfilled wish to perform an act that would completely expiate his sin. He thought the right way would be to return to Tripolis, the place of his fall, and there confess his belief in Christ before those who were witnesses of his acceptance of Islam. The abbot tried to dissuade him by citing the decision of the David to preach the word of God for all his days rather than sacrifice himself in an untimely death. But Demetrios felt in his heart the need to faced the Turks in Tripolis.

He returned to Tripolis and avowed openly his fidelity to Jesus. For this confession he was executed as the turncoat from Islam. The holy relics of this new martyr, who gave his life for Christ on April 14 lay in the Church of Saint Demetrios in Tripolis, Greece.

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