Saint Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov (in the world Daniel Savvich Tuptalo), was born in December 1651 in the locale of Makarovo, not far from Kiev. He was born into a pious family and grew up a deeply believing Christian. In 1662, soon after his parents resettled to Kiev, Daniel was sent to the Kiev-Mogilyansk college, where the gifts and remarkable abilities of the youth were first discovered. He successfully learned the Greek and Latin languages and the entire series of classical sciences. On July 9,1668 Daniel accepted monastic tonsure with the name Demetrius, in honor of the Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Prior to the spring of 1675 he progressed through the monastic obediences at Kiev’s Kirillov monastery, where he began his literary and preaching activity.
The Archbishop of Chernigov Lazar (Baranovich) ordained Demetrius as hieromonk on May 23, 1675. For several years Hieromonk Demetrius lived as an ascetic and preached the Word of God at various monasteries and churches in the Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. It was while he was Igumen of the Maximov monastery,and later the Baturinsk Nikol’sk monastery, in 1684 he was summoned to the Kiev Caves Lavra. The Superior of the Lavra, Archimandrite Barlaam (Yasinsky), knowing the high spiritual disposition of his former disciple, his education, his proclivity for scientific work, and also his undoubted literary talent, entrusted the hieromonk Demetrius with organizing the MENAION, the Lives of the Saints for the whole year.
From this time, all the rest of St Demetrius’s life was devoted to the fulfilling of this ascetic work, grandiose in its scope. The work demanded an enormous exertion of strength, since it necessitated the gathering and analizing of a multitude of various sources and to expound them in a fluent language, worthy of the lofty subject of exposition and at the same time accessible to all believers. Divine assistance did not abandon the saint for his twenty year labor.
According to the testimony of St Demetrius himself, his soul was filled with impressions of the saints, which strengthened him both in spirit and body, and they encouraged faith in the felicitous completion of his noble task. At this time, the venerable Demetrius was head of several monasteries (in succession).
The works of the ascetic brought him to the attention of Patriarch Adrian. In 1701, by decree of Tsar Peter I, Archimandrite Demetrius was summoned to Moscow, where on March 23 at the Dormition cathedral of the Kremlin he was consecrated as Metropolitan of the Siberian city of Tobolsk. But after a certain while, because of the importance of his scientific work and the frailty of his health, the saint received a new appointment to Rostov-Yaroslavl, and on March 1, 1702 assumed his duties as Metropolitan of Rostov.
Just as before, he continued to be concerned about the strengthening of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, weakened by the “Old Believers” schism.
From his inspired works and preachings many generations of Russian theologians drew spiritual strength for creativity and prayer. He remains an example of a saintly, ascetic, non-covetous life for all Orthodox Christians. Upon his death on October 28, 1709, it was discovered that he had few possessions, except for books and manuscripts.
The glorification of St Demetrius, Metropolitan of Rostov, took place on April 22, 1757. He is also remembered on September 21, the day of the uncovering of his holy relics.