We begin our excursion in Thessaloniki, at a store, where you will find religious items, paintings and icons, especially from Mount Athos. We continue with a stop at the splendid church of Agios Dimitrios with the catacombs and the long history of Thessa-loniki which is directly related to this church. Then we will visit the Monastery of St. John in Souroti, which is located about 28 kilometres from Thessaloniki, not far from the main road connecting the city with the capital of Halkidiki, Polygyros. There is a female monastery in the area, stated in a beautiful location, where on July 12th, the burial day of Saint Paisius (recently pronounced saint), the crowd gathers to honor him.
ST. DEMETRIUS CHURCH AND SOUROTI
Agios Dimitrios (Greek pr.) crypt. Underneath this church is the place where Saint Demetrius, Thessaloniki’s patron saint, was martyred. As the level of the ground gradually rose over the centuries, this area acquired the form of a crypt. According both to tradition and to archaeological findings, it was an old bathhouse, in which De-metrios was imprisoned and eventually martyred in 303 AD. In the 5th century, when the first Church of St Demetrios was built, the site of his martyrdom was incorporated into the church and the fountain was converted into a source of holy water. In the years that followed, the fountain acquired basins, from which the faithful could collect myron, the sweet-smelling oil produced by the saint’s relics. The crypt filled up with earth during the period of Ottoman rule and was not rediscovered until after the fire of 1917. It has been restored by the Archaeological Authority and was converted into an exhibition area in 1988.
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