I offer for sale a lovely, cast bronze, religious icon/roundel, almost certainly bearing a depiction of the Greek Orthodox Christian martyr saint – Saint Demetrius of Thessalonica.
This roundel is believed to be from the Medieval period and would have been originally mounted on to something. It bears Slavic(?) writing thereon, think of countries bordering the Carpathian Mountains region, as to where it may have been made. The saint is seen holding a spear/staff in one hand (the spear tip could be missing?), the other hand resting on a the hilt of a sword. St. Demetrius is typically a military saint, often referred to as the defender of Thessalonica throughout the ages (Thessalonica located in the north-west of the Aegean Sea in Central Macedonia/Thrace, Greece).
Demetrius of Thessaloniki, also known as the Holy Great-Martyr, “Demetrius the Myroblyte” (meaning ‘the Myrrh-Gusher’ or ‘Myrrh-Streamer’), an early 4th Century AD Christian martyr saint. His relic bones were thought to emit a liquid which smelled of Myrrh.
Later representations of Saint Demetrius, depict him as a soldier in the Roman Army, and the uniform seen on this roundel image of him bears elements of a roman soldier’s uniform. Also, he is seen with close cropped hair and clean-shaven in Roman military fashion.
Saint Demetrius was also venerated as patron of agriculture; peasants and shepherds in the Greek countryside, during the Middle Ages. According to historian Hans Kloft, he had inherited this role from the pagan goddess Demeter. After the demise of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Demeter’s cult, in the 4th century AD, the Greek rural population had gradually transferred her rites and roles onto the Christian Saint Demetrius.
This saint was adopted into the Russian Orthodox Church around c.1380 to commemorate the soldiers who fell in the Battle of Kulikovo, under the leadership of Demetrius of the Don. Thereafter adopted into the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
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