Life of Saint Demetrius of Rostov
The Chrysostom of Russia
Commemorated on September 21

Bishop Demetrius (Dimitry) (Daniel Tuptalo in the world) was born into a Cossack family in 1651, in the village of Makarovo in the Kiev region. He enrolled in the Kiev academy, but had to give up his studies because of war and finished his education studying by himself. After taking monastic vows at one of the Chernigov monasteries, he caught the attention of Archbishop Lazarus Baranovich, who directed him to preach in his cathedral. During the next two years Saint Dimitry preached frequently, and soon became so famous for his eloquence that churches in Lithuania and Malorossia (Ukraine) competed with one another in having him come and preach.

Saint Dimitry was thirty-three years old when he started his immortal 12-volume work—Cheti-Minei, or Menologion (Monthly Readings)—which described the lives of saints for every day of the year. For 20 years (from 1684 to 1704) he diligently collected, studied, and compiled these lives of saints. The work was nearly complete by the time he became Metropolitan of Rostov in 1702, and quickly ranked among the favorite reading of Russian Orthodox believers.
After being elevated to the rank of Metropolitan, he undertook a struggle against schism in the church and wrote a detailed study about major schismatic sects under the title of Investigation of the Bryansk (Old Believer) Faith. Seven years of his archpastoral service in Rostov were filled with his labors aimed at strengthening the faithful. He visited every corner of his diocese, teaching and preaching to the people. Painfully aware of the ignorance of both his parishioners and priests, he sponsored and organized a school in Rostov, and cared for the students there with fatherly love and attention. They would often gather around him and sing spiritual hymns composed by him. Many of these sublime hymns of Bishop Dimitry were sung by people in pre-Revolutionary Russia.

Saint Dimitry led an ascetic life of prayer, very strict fasting, and kindness. His food was simple and always very meager. He was accessible to everyone, always benevolent and lenient. On the 28th of October 1709, this great devotee of learning and piety gave his soul to the Lord peacefully during his prayer in private—he was discovered on his knees before an icon of the Savior. In 1752, his relics were were found to be incorrupt and he was ranked among the saints.

In addition to the Menologion and Investigation of the Bryansk (Old Believer) Faith, Bishop Dimitry wrote a number of sermons and instructions, such as A Short Catechism, A History of the Tsars and Patriarchs, A Record of Russian Metropolitans, and other writings. A Short Confession Before One's Spiritual Father is used to this day in many parishes, as a help in the sacrament of confession. All the works of Bishop Dimitry are permeated with deep faith and warmth, and are easy to read, since the Russian language is polished to a wonderful legibility and refinement. He was a truly a great national writer, and our father among the saints.

Based on an article from

  Powered by Orthodox Web Solutions

Home | Back | Print | Top  

Join our email list to receive free articles and excerpts from new translations. Sign up today!


* required