OREANDA-NEWS. UTair Aviation has delivered a reliquary containing the incorrupt hand of Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki from Greece to the Khanty-Mansiysk region.

The reliquary was escorted from Thessaloniki to Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk by a delegation of representatives from the Church of Greece headed by Metropolitan Panteleimon (Kalpakidis) of Veria, Naousa and Campania. The journey of the relic took a total of seven days. In order to secure the complete safety of the relic, UTair provided VIP security services for the reliquary at the Thessaloniki Airport.

“The Orthodox Christian community of the Khanty-Mansiysk region received a rare opportunity to venerate the relics of Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki, a sacred treasure of Orthodox Christian heritage,” said Metropolitan Panteleimon. More than ten thousand residents of the Khanty-Mansiysk region came to venerate the relic.

“UTair always responds to requests from representatives of religious communities and is eager to assist them in the organization of this kind of transport activity,” emphasized UTair – Passenger Airlines President Alexey Budnik. “For UTair, this is a great honor and responsibility. The incorrupt hand of Holy Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki has visited Russia in previous years traveling through Saint-Petersburg, Dmitrov and other cities. We are glad that this year, with UTair’s assistance, the relic was brought to the Khanty-Mansiysk region.” In 2013 and 2014 UTair directly contributed to transportation of myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God ''Softener of Evil Hearts'' from Brno, the Czech Republic to Moscow.

Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki lived in 3rd – 4th century in Thessaloniki during the rule of emperor Diocletian, a zealous persecutor of Christians. Demetrius was born in a family of a military commander and rose to a high military position himself and became a city eparch. Demetrius’ great contribution to the spread of Christianity was reported to the pagan emperor. After Demetrius confessed his religious beliefs, he was sentenced to violent death. The martyr is especially revered in Russia.

During the Crusades, the relics of Martyr Demetrius of Thessaloniki were stolen and transported to Italy, where they were lost for centuries. The relics were rediscovered only in 1978 in a church in the Italian city of San Lorenzo in Campo, from where they were returned to Greece. Currently the reliquary containing the relics resides in the Greek Monastery of Panagia Dovra.

UTair Aviation is the core enterprise of UTair Group. In 2014 UTair Group fleet transported 11,204,598 passengers, achieving a 7% increase over the previous year. UTair flies to more than 150 destinations, including 70 unique destinations. UTair Group headquarters are located in Surgut. UTair maintains its main hub at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, where over 160 UTair flights are scheduled daily.