In September of some year there was a lot of worry at the Department of Oncology in the University Hospital of Rio. Young Demetrios was urgently asking for the Hospital’s priest. He wanted to receive the Holy Communion in any case.
He was 13 years old. He had been at the same clinic for about a year and a half. He was led there by a slight headache. The doctors diagnosed brain cancer. He came from Fiery in Albania. His parents were not baptised. They had been living in Patras for many years. Shortly after he was hospitalised, Demetrios wanted to be baptised. He had heard about Christ and he wanted to become His “child”. He was baptised “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” after of course being catechised.
Everybody in the clinic loved him very much. The cancer had advanced enough, and as a result, he had already lost his sight. He could not see at all. He could not see anything or anybody. He listened though with great and remarkable patience. He did not complain. He said that God loved him very much. He was praying and asking his parents to do the same.
Everybody who visited him realised that there was something different in this child. He was constantly speaking about God. He was always polite and cheerful. His face was shining brightly. He desired to commune the Precious Gifts frequently. When his mother was sometimes in some different place of the clinic, he shouted, “Mother, come quickly. The priest is coming with Christ (Holy Communion). He is going up the stairs. Come here to help me get ready”. And that was indeed what happened. The priest would come and found little Demetrios sitting on his bed with the mouth open and reverently making the sign of the cross. Although Demetrios did not know the exact time the priest with the Precious Gifts would come, being graced by God with the gift of insight he could foresee him coming despite the two closed doors which separated his room from the corridor where the priest was coming from. Pious Mrs Maria Galiatsatou, who was voluntarily taking care of this child, ensured the above fact. “Mrs Maria I would like to tell you something” told her Demetrios one day. “Whenever the priest comes with Christ, I can see him going up the stairs accompanied by two tall, handsome people in all white vestments who lean towards the Chalice and protect it with open arms”.
Once the doctor asked him, “How are you, Demetrios? How is it going?” Demetrios replied, “Doctor, please come closer to tell you something. I am fine. But don’t worry for your wife leaving the house. God will be with you because you are a good man”. The doctor remained motionless for a while. Nobody knew about the sad incident which had taken place at his home the previous day, that is, his wife had abandoned him for another man.
“This is a child of God” said everybody who got to know him.
The last time he communed, he could not sit on the bed any more so he joyfully and yearningly communed Christ being lying down. “Thank you very much”, he mumbled and then he fell asleep in the Lord.
When the priest went to the churchyard to read the Thrice-holy hymn (Trisagion hymn) over Demetrios the following day, he said: “It’s the first time in my life I’ve seen such relics. His face is smiling and shines brightly having the colour of amber”.
His parents have loved Christ so much that they also want to be baptised.
Ascetics living in the world, A’ (Ασκητές μέσα στον κόσμο Α΄), Holy Mountain 2008, pp. 378-380