Another Enconium

Abp. Demetri in Repose (Click to enlarge)

From: Evlogia

Little Moments of Grace

I think it must be going on 15 years.

That Saturday morning when a young mother sat reading the paper, stumbled across words written by an archbishop named Dmitri. She knew nothing of the archbishop, and not a thing about his Church. But his words spoke truth, imparted life.

Those words changed me.

And I remember scrambling for pen and paper and writing in a hurried scrawl, words of thanks. Realizing that I had no idea where to find this archbishop named Dmitri. So I did the only thing I could think to do. Addressed my letter of thanks to the editor of that paper and prayed. Prayed the words written from a heart overflowing would somehow find their way to this man, Dmitri.

Whoever he was.

Weeks went by. I forgot about that letter. And then one day the phone rang. I answered to the voice of that editor.

He told me how he received my letter, how he called Archbishop Dmitri, told him how a Roman Catholic woman wrote him a letter of thanks…read it aloud to him. “The Archbishop asked me to tell you…to let you know that you’re in his prayers.”

I’m quite certain he prayed much. Because it was another eight years before I stepped inside his cathedral.

I remember that day clearly. Scaffolding still lining walls of icons half-written. Overwhelmed by their beauty, so much that I almost left. And I can remember how I crossed myself  and somehow found the courage to stay. How I walked to the hall after Liturgy and found a chair in the furthest corner of the room. And there he was, that archbishop named Dmitri, the one who said he’d remember me in his prayers.

He must have prayed much, because all those years later, there I was. That Roman Catholic woman who’d been touched by his words and scribbled a note of thanks.

“Why are you sitting way over there?” That’s the first thing he ever said to me. And then, motioning to a chair, one that sat empty across from his, he asked me. “You ever had real coffee?”


Read the entire article on the Evlogia website.


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  2. It’s much eaiesr to understand when you put it that way!

  3. M. Stankovich says

    I will place this here as something sacred to my memory, only because this post has been limited solely to the memory of Archbishop Dimitri. I hope no one takes offense at its placement.

    I was “reminiscing” with someone about chanting in church today and recalled what I now believe to be my fondest memory of Bishop Dimitri.

    To provide some context, I was 18 years old, “intimidated” by SVS clergy in general, and especially intimidated by the bishops who were always around, in particular. I was the assigned Sunday “reader,” meaning responsibility for chanting the Hours, the Epistle during the Liturgy, and the Post-Communion prayers following the liturgy. The reader’s schedule, hanging on bulletin board in the bridge to the Chapel, always boldly noted: “Readers on Sunday MUST be in the Chapel EARLY.” Dutifully noted, I arrived early and, while you could hear the “sacristans” moving around behind the iconscreen, the only other person standing in the Chapel was Bishop Dimitri (then of New England) wearing cassock, riason, klobuk, and Panagia, holding his episcopal staff. I took the Book of Hours and went to him for the blessing, and as usual, he was smiling, greeted me, and blessed me as the day’s reader.

    As I was waiting in the back of the Chapel, the curtain opened and Fr. Alexander Schmemann, in his cassock and stole, opened the Royal Doors. Bishop Dimitri entered, took off his riason and klobuk, placed his Panagia on the altar – by which time Fr. Alexander was standing outside the altar next to the icon stand – and the Bishop exited and stood next to him. Fr. Alexander turned to me and said, “Read the Psalms.” As I started to chant Psalm1, it struck me, “THE BISHOP IS GOING TO CONFESSION!” As if to say “they actually confess?” and “a bishop confessing to a priest?” Aren’t there specialists for this? And when completed, the Bishop knelt down as Fr. Alexander placed the stole over his head: “Reconcile and unite him to Thy Holy Church…” The Bishop rose, they kissed each others’ cheek three times, and kissed each others’ hand. The Bishop replaced his riason, klobuk, and Panagia, took his original place in the Chapel, and asked me, “Are you ready?” From my state of shock, I managed to nod my head, and he began the Hours, “Blessed is our God.”

    I’m sure that for some, this would have been a usual and customary occurrence, but for me, a late-adolescent from a “local parish,” this was the single most profound expression of humility, by the Bishop & by Fr. Alexander, I had ever witnessed. Obviously I have never forgotten it. O Lord, only that my life could be so simple, and my experiences so profound, now.