About a week after the feast of St. Demetrios the Great Martyr and Myrrhstreamer, the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki, the Clergy and the Faithful hasten to the Saint's Church to gather the Myrrh of the Saint to distribute to the world for the healing and sanctification of all.
This was written of this service in November 2011:
"This afternoon, the copy of the icon of Panagia Tricherousa left from the Church of St. Demetrios to return to the Metropolis of Thessaloniki, where it belongs. After the Paraklesis to Panagia followed the "sanctification" [more properly "gathering"] of the Holy Myrrh from the reliquary of the Saint. At the time when Metropolitan Anthimos read the prayers and made supplications to the Saint, I saw with my own eyes, along with everyone else, that the reliquary opened by itself, in order that myrrh might overflow and that the fragrance might reach the second floor of the whole church from the myrrh of our Saint. In reality, it was something which I had not experienced before, and once again I wondered at the power of our faith. May the Saint be protection for all of us"
The following was written of the service in 2012:
"Today, November 4th 2012, in the Church of St. Demetrios, we again had the annual "sanctification" of the Myrrh of the Saint.
With one exception.
This year, the reliquary, despite all the prayers that they read, did not open.
They were forced to open it by hand, and the myrrh was a much lesser amount than it previous years.
There are sources which say that in olden days, the Myrrh from the reliquary of the Saint reached the sea shore. In reality, the people couldn't even gather it all. In 2011, the Saint filled roughly a baptismal font with his Holy Myrrh."
Here is another source:
"Yesterday afternoon, God made me worthy to be, for the first time, in the Holy Church of St. Demetrios in Thessaloniki, where they were performing the gathering of the holy myrrh. A multitude of people were there from the whole country, however, the reliquary with the bones of the Saint did not open. Even though the priests and the Archbishop [of Thessaloniki] tried, and even though they continued to chant, in the end, they were unable to open it. Some spoke of a "bad sign", others explained it as a technical problem with the lock on the reliquary. The side portions of the reliquary they were able to open and the priests took the holy myrrh, but the center place where the holy relics of the Saint are found, was not able to be opened. Perhaps St. Demetrios wants to send a message of repentance."
I should say that this does not seem to be an official position of the Metropolitan of Thessaloniki. Whether this is something significant or not, I cannot say. But let us take advantage of every opportunity to compel ourselves to repent of our many sins before the All-Merciful God, before it is too late for us to do so.