+Dmitri: The Great American Evangelist

Abp. Dimitri (Royster)For months now, I’ve been waxing poetic about the late Archbishop +Dmitri of Dallas. I’d like now to publish a recollection of this great lion of God sent to me by a simple man whose life Vladyka changed.

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Dear George,

I wish to keep this simple.

Way back in 1990 I was a catechumen living in College Station Texas and traveling to an OCA mission in West Houston. I had “stumbled” across the Orthodox Church while serving in the US military (I was raised in the Southern Baptist church). I showed up one Sunday early at the mission as was my custom since it was along drive and discovered Vladika Dmitri was visiting his mission that day.

I had absolutely no idea how to interact with an Orthodox bishop. I believe I shook his hand. He was gracious and he never let on that I was committing more protocol errors. I was to leave the next week with my military unit for Operation Desert Shield.

Upon learning of this, Vladika stopped everything, changed the service and insisted that I be chrismated. I told him that I was not ready and did not know enough to be Orthodox. He told me that he would not allow me to enter possible combat (I served as a hospital corpsman) without entering the fullness of the faith. He absolutely insisted.

He actually interviewed me about my faith. I told him that I needed to be baptized again. He told me that I had a baptism in the Trinity and that as a bishop he would complete whatever was left “undone.” Thus I came to know Christ in his fullness by the hands of Vladika Dmitri.

I was chrismated and took communion that day and two weeks later reported to 29 Palms in California, a Marine Corps base.

Some ten years later I visited the cathedral in Dallas with my newly chrismated bride. I went up to the chalice for communion and Vladika looked into my eyes and with a moment’s pause he almost winked and gave me communion by my name. After ten years and probably thousands of faithful he remember my name and later seemingly every detail he ever knew about me.

He is living proof that Americans can embrace Orthodoxy and transform their lives by living their faith. We,as Orthodox, know that we will know them by their works.

If ever I saw with my own eye a living Saint it is he.

Vladika Dmitri pray for us!

Thank you.


  1. Hi George… Just checking in on your site! It was great seeing all the brethren tonight! A testament to the love which Archbishop Dmitri showed in his earthly life…