Saint Dimitrie the New (Basarabov) is recognized as the patron saint of Bucharest, Romania.
Saint Dimitrie Basarabov lived in the 13th century, during the Romanian-Bulgarian Empire led by brothers Petru and Asan. He was born in the village of Basarabov, located on the banks of the River Lom, a Danube tributary, near the town of Russe. Originally a shepherd, he became a monk, living in a cave near that village and dedicating himself to fasting, prayers and vigils. His special life led God to give him the power to make miracles. The Pious Dimitrie knew the moment of his death beforehand, choosing the place of his final rest between two stones that were gradually covered by the Lom water. The relics of the saint had been submerged until a sick child had the following revelation: ”the Pious Dimitrie appeared before her in a dream and said: ‘If your parents take me out of the water, I will heal you!”
A ray of light had appeared for quite some time on the site the relics were found, leading people to believe that a treasure was hidden there. Acting at the little girl’s advice, they searched the place and found in the water the mud-laden relics of the Pious Dimitrie, yet glittering as if they were gold. The preserved dead body of Dimitrie was taken to the village of Basarabov. Romanians insisted to have the relics and between 1769 and 1774, during the war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the relics were brought to Romania with the intention of being sent to Russia.
However, a rich merchant of Macedonian-Romanian origin, called Hagi Dimitrie, and the Metropolitan Grigorie of Walachia, insisted that they should be given to the Romanian people as a gift for the sufferance they endured during the war. The relics were deposited with great pump in what is today the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest.
The saint’s right hand was nonetheless sent to Kiev, where it is alleged to have been kept to this day. The Synod of the Romaniain Orthodox Church, given the special respect given to the Saint Dimitrie cel Nou, in Bucharest especially, decided in 1950 to extend his worshipping nationwide and recognize him as the patron saint of Romania’s capital city.