In Memoriam: Archbishop +Dmitri of Dallas

NOTE: I first heard the news last night at 2am. After a brief prayer, I tried to gather my thoughts. Needless to say, sleep was impossible and I still haven’t been able to gather all my thoughts. His passing is difficult for those of us who knew and loved him. Therefore I ask that you please forgive me because I am going to be adding to this enconium as the day progresses.

8:00am. Many of us who could not be in Dallas received the call last night at 2am. His Eminence, +Dmitri fell asleep in the Lord surrounded by several of his spiritual children including a bishop (+Alejo of Mexico City) and a metropolitan (+Jonah). I’ve never been one to be maudlin but I’m presently choking back tears as I type these words. I fear that there is a gaping hole in the lives of his spiritual children. Right now, I’m planning to go to Church and will write more later.

Rest in peace dear Vladyka. We at least are confident that you are being received by our Lord and Savior with these words: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

3:00pm. Liturgy today was wonderful. Father made the announcement after his sermon. Not all of us knew and some gasped audibly. We knew his days were few but that still couldn’t prepare us when the end finally came. John, our Senior Reader (who helped me found the mission back in 2002) went to our parish hall and got the 8″x10″ photograph we had of His Eminence and brought it to Church right before we began the memorial service. Things got really emotional. We have lost our Elijah, who will be our Elisha?

I saw this morning that put his biography front and center. It’s quite good and I think gives the reader a decent measure of the man. If you want to know the broad outline of his life, and how he put Christ front and center in his life and teaching, I would suggest that you stop reading this for now, go to and read for yourself.

As for myself, my friends, and what he meant to our parish, I’d like to offer a few personal remembrances. Here they are in no particular order:

I first heard about Archbishop +Dmitri Royster of Dallas while reading The Christian Activist back in the mid-90s. That was when TAS was a serious endeavor run by committed Evangelicals-turned-Orthodox. Anyway, there was an article in there written by him that caught my eye. It was cogent, learned, and written for the serious Christian. When I read the short bio at the end I was even more intrigued. As a teenager, Robert R Royster and his beloved sister had been received into the Orthodox Faith Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Dallas back in 1940 or thereabouts. They traveled from Teague, Texas, which is about 125 miles south of Dallas. Shortly thereafter, he was drafted, sent to language immersion school where he learned Japanese and served under Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo, when the latter was the American proconsul. Mind you, we were talking about a good ole’ boy from east Texas.

To say that the late archbishop was a Renaissance man would be an understatement. Not only did he know Japanese, but also Spanish, Koine Greek, passable Russian, and of course Slavonic. His proficiency with Spanish enabled him to teach Spanish literature at Southern Methodist University, which supplemented his priestly income. His love for Spanish compelled him to translate the Liturgikon into that language and his genuine love for the Mexican people enabled him to travel yearly to Mexico to set up Orthodox missions. One thing he insisted on from the start however was that any mission that he started in the South would celebrate all the services in English.

And that’s just a smattering of his legacy. His sister helped support the mission that later became St Seraphim’s Cathedral by owning a restaurant. He helped out and became a very good chef. Those who went to his house were never turned away hungry. My personal favorite was his flan, a Mexican custard that was exquisite. One of my favorite memories of his kitchen was the smattering of 2-liter soft drinks with goofy names that he picked up every time he went to Mexico. Little did I know that soft drinks in Mexico don’t have high fructose corn syrup. And then there was the coffee, a notorious concoction of chickery and other flavors that came to be known as “Bishop’s Blend.” One cup of that brew and you wouldn’t be able to sleep for 2 days. (More of that later.)

I guess if I had to come up with a money quote that encapsulated his evangelistic career, it would have to be that the joke about +Dmitri was that “he could start a mission with two old ladies and a hat.” As is now well-known, +Dmitri was elected overwhelmningly by the delegates at the AAC to be metropolitan. Of course, the powers-that-be thought it would not be seemly for a former Southern Baptist to be primate of the only territorial Orthodox Church in North America (go figure) so another was chosen by the Holy Synod in his place. That’s OK, Syosset’s loss was our gain. He was elected to be the first Bishop of Dallas and the South in 1978 and the rest is history.

The DOS at that time had only a half-dozen or so parishes. St Seraphim’s in Dallas was one anchor and Christ the Savior in Miami, the other. Because both parishes owned parsonages, +Dmitri took it upon himself to spend about six weeks in each city. When the time came to leave for Miami, he’d travel to Miami and stop along the way, meeting people and establishing mission outposts, then missions, then churches, and a few monasteries as well. He’s say in Miami for six weeks then go back to Dallas, visiting those missions and meeting other people. Six weeks in Dallas, a couple of days on the road, six weeks in Miami, a couple of days on the road, then repeat. He did this for years.

The official biography mentions that he was able to maintain this rigorous schedule because of his robust physical health. That’s very true. When I first met him in 2001, I was surprised at how tall he was even though he was in his late seventies by then. (I’m 5’11” and I had to look up into his face when talking to him.) As I got to know him, I found out that in high school he had been a wrestler. Though tall and gaunt in his old age, he was brawnier as a young man. His size and beard reminded us of Gandalf the Grey, an Old Testament patriarch, and kindly grandfather all rolled into one.

His sense of humor was legendary. Self-deprecating and humble, he always had a smile and story for everybody. I’ll tell you a one or two. Once not all that long ago, he was back in Teague receiving an award, something along the line of “local boy makes good” or whatever. He and his trusty sidekick Milos Konjevich (the Treasurer-for-life of the DOS) were standing waiting for a table in a famous restaurant in nearby Fairfield called Sam’s. As always, he was wearing his cassock and skullcap with cross. Mind you this is East Texas. Anyway, another patron went up to him and nervously asked “you’re not from around here, are you?” +Dmitri replied with a chuckle, “I was.” Taken aback, the first fellow said, “well, you’re not a Baptist!” The Archbishop said, “I was!” Hearing him tell it was a real knee-slapper.

Another story involved a time when he was in the old Soviet Union and he was being “minded” by a KGB agent who attended all foreign delegations. +Dmitri told us that this man’s name in Russian had something to do with chickens and farming (I can’t remember what it was.) Anyway, he broke the tension by asking the agent in question if he was a Methodist. The agent, told him “of course not, why do you ask?” He replied that in the South circuit riders in the Methodist Church were usually paid by being fed chicken dinners by grateful congregations. Both he and the agent guffawed uproariously.

There are others but just thinking about them makes me sad. I have to stop for now. More later.

4:00pm. OK, I’m back.

Well anyway, the thing about Bishop’s Blend. Sometime in the late 80s, Milos Konjevich (affectionately known as “The Serbian Kid” because of his cowboy hat and boots) moved to Dallas and joined up with +Dmitri. Having worked for the federal government in sorting out the Savings and Loan scandal, he became the Treasurer for the DOs. As His Eminence started aging, Milos joined him on his many travels. He told me that Vladyka and he had the science of coffee down to an art; how many cups they’d need to drive x-number of miles and so on. Then they’d break out the candy bars for that extra boost. I believe the Lord sent Milos to Vladyka to help him in his mission. Given their penchant for humor it was easy to view Milos as Sancho Panza to +Dmitri’s Don Quixote, but they had a serious side too and then it was all Paul and Barnabas. As kind and gentle as these two evangelists were, they were serious about missions and they were equally as serious about solving any problems that came up. There was a time for fun and games and then there were times when we listened and accepted their advice.

Vladyka didn’t lord it over people and he listened patiently to all sides. Once hearing all sides, he spoke deliberately and that was that. He had a way of getting to the heart of the matter which made me respect him even more. He had no time for ortho-dorkiness or the nonsense-dressed-as-piety and once he spoke on a matter, it was resolved for all time. His Southern Baptist background kept him grounded on the centrality of Christ and His Gospel and it was a bracing corrective for duplicity that presently engulfs much of American Orthodoxy, particularly in the realm of moral theology.

Another story: Two years ago, during Mid-Pentecost, the Holy Synod was present in Dallas for his retirement. As the luncheon was winding down, we received a visit from His Eminence +Isaiah of Denver (to my mind, the standout bishop in the GOA). This was after +Jonah’s speech at Dallas about the need for the OCA to remain independent of foreign involvement. I was outside because it was crowded and I wanted to smoke. +Isaiah was most gracious and after he spoke with +Jonah and +Dmitri, I saw him come out with a smile on his face. We spoke about old times and then I said how elated I was to see him and how unfortunate our divisions were. +Isaiah brushed this aside and cut to the quick. He said something along the lines of “You know, George, it’s not every day that we get to know someone like +Dmitri, a truly holy man. These divisions mean nothing.” I wish I could remember them word-for-word but he was right: in the grand scheme of things we either know saints or we don’t. Tears were running down both our faces.

There are other stories but I’ll stop for now. It’s not as if my words mean anything as they are vain and foolish. But his was a life that meant something. His was a ministry that mattered.

8:30pm. P.S. As was the case with my late father-in-law, I will observe a three-day moratorium in memory of His Eminence. As of now, the DOS has announced that his funeral will be proceeded by liturgies and pankikhidas every day at 9am and 6pm respectively, with a liturgy and funeral on Thursday at 9am. Unless events warrant otherwise, I will not post any blogs ’til after he has been interred. All are free to comment as before.


  1. May Vladyka Dmitri’s memory be eternal. I will sorely miss him, to say the least, but I believe that today the OCA has gained a powerful intercessor before the Lord.

    BTW, do you know what became of Vladyka Dmitri’s sister? His biographies don’t say much beyond the fact that she was received with him.

  2. V.Rev.Andrei Alexiev says

    His Eminence was my Diocesan Bishop in New England when I began my studies at St.Tikhon’s in 1972.May the Lord God remember Archbishop Dmitri in His Kingdom,Amen.

  3. M. Stankovich says

    I first met the Archbishop following a commencement address he gave in the early 1970’s, where he focused on our responsibility and “calling” to bring our Faith to Americans. This was a remarkable address when you consider the context: it was only a year or so after the recognition of Autocephaliy, but apparently no one knew exactly what that meant; at SVS we were singing at least something in Church Slavonic at every liturgical service (in Holy Week it became a full 60%); and following a Liturgy celebrating an ordination anniversary of Fr. Georges Florovsky, the then Metropolitan, speaking in Russian, thoroughly scolded us: “The people complain that you cannot speak Russian. You must learn to speak Russian!”

    I was 18 years old and intimidated by anyone who had written a book or possessed any semblance of authority, and was uncharacteristically moved to approach him. As you noted, he was a tall and imposing man, but the closer you got to him, he was by no means intimidating. I was impressed that he was approachable & welcoming, soft-spoken, gentle, and while his English was “southern-tinged,” it was impeccable (and to that date, I had never met a Bishop whose first language was English!). I know I mumbled & bumbled because he didn’t let go of my hand, and after that several-minute exchange, and whenever I saw him after that, he always greeted me by name. He was in the old school of Bishops, but not of the old school.

    While he was admirable in many ways, I will remember him as simply a good man.

  4. I met Vladika years ago, and before I fully understood what a bishop was. He was kind and showed me the “new” cathedral, describing for me the icons that would attend in good time…which they have done. I have, many times, been the recipient of that amazingly strong coffee you mentioned, and occasionally even was the one who made the next pot!

    One of my favorite stories is when there were the earthquakes in Mexico City, and Vladika immediately took a plane to the airport there, walking the short distance from the airport to the cathedral and ringing on the bell. The lady who keeps that place clean heard Vladika’s voice, and ran screaming throughout the cathedral that Vladika’s ghost was at the front door. Everyone got a great laugh from this. I asked Vladika if this happened, and he smiled broadly and confirmed it to me… I then asked him why he was flying into Mexico City while most others were flying out. He looked at me and said simply and honestly, “Well, I couldn’t get them on the phone.”

    How splendid that our beloved Vladika left us on the old calendar Dormition. Memory Eternal dear Father. Pray for us sinners.

    • Seraphimista says

      Thanks for this beautiful essay, George. I see that Jesse Cone has a fantastic piece up at OCAT, and that Fr. Stephen Freeman has published his own lovely remembrance of Vladyka at his blog. It would be great if you could catalogue the better responses you find online, George, and make them available to us readers.

      Nothing from Stokoe yet. Not even the news of Vladyka’s passing. I suppose he’s trying to figure out how to spin this sad and momentous event in the life of the Church to his advantage.

      • Seraphimista, I must sadly agree about Stokoe. (Not even Drezhlo has anything up yet, even though he has viciously attacked others for not posting immediately about serious illnesses and deaths.)

        However, it is a consolation to me that Stokoe and Drezhlo’s cruel and unseemly attacks on Metropolitan Jonah are now even more readily apparent for what they are.

        • Helga, while I agree, let’s not sully this thread with discussion of those two miscreants.

          Let’s use this space to honor and share memories of Archbishop Dmitri.


        • I like to call Drezhlo ‘Stan-Marie’ since I researched him and found out that he is no lady (and learned his real identity). I read Remnant’s comment after I posted…I do apologize for mentioning that name.

      • Also note that the Orthodox-Forum (aka, Star Chamber) has been virtually silent over Abp Dmitri’s death. Contrast that with outpouring of sorrow over the death of another bishop who was sympathetic to the scheming of the Stokoevites.

        • Frankly, I think the less said there, the better. It wasn’t very long ago that there were some things said in there about Archbishop Dmitri that are unrepeatable in polite company. And I do agree with A Remnant that this thread should be about our fond memories of dear Vladyka.

          If Archbishop Dmitri has found his rest in the arms of God, I beseech him to pray for all Orthodox Christians in America, especially those who fight against the Gospel to which he devoted his life and preaching.

      • Abp Dmitri has one of the most impressive legacies of any American Orthodox bishop of our generation. Authoring numerous books and articles and growing an entire diocese which today thrives. He was a man who lived in humility and service and shunned the politicking that characterizes today’s Synod, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. His ministry will not be summed up by a trite question regarding allegations being true or false. His ministry was about the answer to the question posed by Christ Himself, “Who do you say that I am?”

        May the Kingdom of Heaven be his!

    • Anon, I think the “Vladika’s ghost” story is my favorite out of all the Archbishop Dmitri stories I’ve heard lately. Thank you for sharing it. When it comes to our beloved Vladika, it helps to cry from laughter and joy rather than sadness!

  5. James Potthoff says

    Everyone who knew Vladyka knew about his wry sense of humor. The archbishop once told me a story about his time in Japan after the war. Some Japanese officials with whom he was acquainted wanted to learn something polite to say in English as they made their customary bows to the American occupiers. So young Lieutenant Royster and his buddies taught them to say “Oh, my achin’ back!” I never did get to hear the rest of that story, but I can only imagine.

    • Now my sides are achin.’ Thanks for sharing that James..

    • Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald) says

      I can verify and amplify that a little. I first heard about His Eminence’s experience as head of an interpreting unit in Japan, when I first visited Dallas and then -Father Dmitri in 1962-5; however, in my recollection, it involved the women who, on every floor of the big Tokyo department stores, would, clad in kimono, bow to the customers as they got off the elevator, profusely welcoming them and, sometimes, telling what wares/goods were to be found on the given floor of the store. Lt. Royster’s unit was “tasked” to provide them with the proper welcoming phrases. Presumably, “Oh, my aching back” was one of the phrases. But it was, rather, some choice, blue, gutter talk that some of the soldier-translators gave to the obsequious ladies that caused, eventually, complaints to reach Lt. Royster’s ears and the proper corrective action to be taken. Yes, Ever-Memorable Archbishop “Dmitri was no slouch as a bon vivant, a chef, and a story-teller par excellence. And every sermon and publication by him was centered on the Lord.

  6. gregory varney says

    I remember one funny story about vladyka. He was bishop of berkeley. We had gone to a parish for its feastday I was one of sub-deacons. After service we went to the lunch which was probably not one of the better lunchs we had been too. He leaned over to me AND SAID GREGORY DON’T FILL UP ON THIS IT DOES NOT LOOK TO FRESH AND HE SMILED AND SAID WE WILL GO OUT AFTER AND REALLY CELEBRATE THIS FEAST. With that twinkle in his eyes and boy did we hit this restaurant after and really feasted. Another one In his funny wit I had relayed a message to him from Archbishop Kiprian who said tell the vladyka dmitri I am falling down before him. Vladyka Dmitri Leaned over me and whispered in my ear MAYBE WHEN HES DOWN THERE I OUGHT TO GIVE HIM A KICK. We laughed about that for a hour.

  7. Mr. Drezhlo did post a good thing today, a picture of Vladyka Dmitri baptizing Marina Oswald’s baby daughter in 1964.

    • Considering the obscene things that Mr. Drezhlo has said about His Eminence in the past, best a man like “her” just zip it. Same holds true for all those experts on the O.F. The time will come when a proper comparison of two late Archbishops of the OCA can be made and who truly left a lasting legacy to the Church.

  8. Thank you so much for your blog today. As one from afar, I was acquainted with + Dimitri by what I had read but the blog brought him to life! Thank you for that. My thoughts and prayer go out to you all in your time of deep sadness

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  10. Carl Kraeff says

    The two posts on OCAT and the remembrances here have helped me, as I think they will help many others cope with Vladika Dmitri’s departure from us-. I don’t know about you but I would feel comfortable asking for his intercessions, just as I am comfortable asking the help of Matushka Olga of Alaska.

    Anyway, here is another moving remembrance: “Little Moments of Grace” by Evlogia Katherine at

  11. Rod Dreher has written a beautiful piece on the Ever-memorial Archbishop Dmitri

  12. Helga,

    Swipe aside, His Eminence said to many about Bishop Mark that, “it is if the man (Mark) has no soul.” Folks at St Seraphim knew this, heard it, and accepted Vladyka’s assessment of Maymon. It is a fact, a sad fact, that in his last months, he saw so many people he loved so much being victimized in a manner so unlike their real Father in Christ, Archbishop Dmitri and not a pretender Father in Christ Mark Maymon.

    Having said all of this, I believe that Rod’s comment, within the context of the entire article was nothing more than a statement of the facts and reality. The time will come when bloggers will take their swipes at Archbishop Dmitri, but they will be swipes out of envy and hatred not out of speaking the truth in love. Rod’s comment was, I believe a warning that Maymon is still lurking and positioning himself to be Dmitri’s successor.

    • I was referring to the remark that “the rest of us have learned this awful spring that there aren’t any Orthodox bishops like Dmitri in the OCA either.”

      I wouldn’t even think of defending the awful things Bishop Mark was responsible for, but the last sentence of the paragraph was completely irrelevant. Other OCA bishops may have made questionable choices these past several months, but they are mourning a brother bishop and friend right now.

      • Point taken and understood.

      • Rod Dreher says

        The line was not gratuitous. Many Catholics told me that I was a fool if I thought the Orthodox bishops would be any better than the Catholic ones. I told them I didn’t expect that the Orthodox bishops would be any better, but that’s not why I was leaving Rome for Orthodoxy. This line was intended as a sideways acknowledgement that Vladyka Dmitri was not typical. It’s certainly true that I don’t have a high opinion of the Synod as a whole, for reasons that hardly need elaborating on this forum, and wish that they would take a lesson from the way Vladyka Dmitri treated people. And that’s true for me, too — it is always salutary for us to reconsider our own sins and failings in the light of a holy man’s life.

        It is also not okay with me that Vladyka Dmitri suffered greatly in his final months from the way Bishop Mark treated the cathedral and its people. This is not a secret. Vladyka told people this, and it grieved him. Now is not the time to dwell on these wounds, but they are there, and it’s probably just as well for me that I’m not able to come down for the funeral.

        • This line was intended as a sideways acknowledgement that Vladyka Dmitri was not typical.

          You could have simply stated that Vladyka was a superlative bishop. You didn’t have to lift him up by putting his brother bishops down.

          It’s certainly true that I don’t have a high opinion of the Synod as a whole, for reasons that hardly need elaborating on this forum, and wish that they would take a lesson from the way Vladyka Dmitri treated people.

          There exists a multitude of ways in which you could have expressed this sentiment better. You didn’t have to insult the entire Synod. Archbishop Dmitri was a bishop for forty years. No one else on the Synod save for Archbishop Nathaniel comes close to that duration of episcopal service. In fact, I bet if you added the years of service for all bishops on the Synod save Archbishop Nathaniel, you still wouldn’t get forty. It’s simply unfair to hold them to the same standard. Archbishop Dmitri had many, many years of trials and experience that molded him into the man you knew. What you’re expecting is basically the equivalent of concluding that your toddler is stupid because he can’t do calculus.

          Metropolitan Jonah, like him or not, was Vladyka Dmitri’s own chosen successor, who was taken away from the Diocese of the South by another calling, but who still dropped everything and came back in order to personally tend to Vladyka. Bishops Michael and Matthias, along with Metropolitan Jonah, have only been bishops for a relatively short period of time, a combined total of four and a half years. Archbishop Dmitri was once a greenhorn himself. None of these have exhibited any clear flaws in character that are opposites of the virtues you ascribe to Archbishop Dmitri. So, contrary to your assertion that “there aren’t any Orthodox bishops like Dmitri in the OCA”, there’s no reason to expect that none of them could possibly mature into a bishop of Archbishop Dmitri’s caliber. Since you are fine with forgiving Archbishop Dmitri’s administrative mistakes, surely you can find it in your heart to forgive other bishops for theirs.

          As for Bishop Mark, I don’t defend what he did in Dallas. However, just as I would give Bishop Mark a kidney if he needed it, or prevent his murder or accidental death if such came into my power, I find accusing him of shortening Vladyka’s life to be a crass and useless insult. Making an idle comment to that effect on a message board is one thing, but you put that in an official, professional publication.

          To put it bluntly, I think Vladyka would be offended and embarrassed to be lauded at the expense of others.

          • Peter A. Papoutsis says

            You mean like calling the Ecumenical Patriarch the Archbishop of Constandinople? Cuts both ways Helga.

            • Heracleides says

              If I recall correctly, the Apostles established but three orders: deacons, priests, and bishops. If I also recall correctly, our Lord himself had something less than flattering to say about bickering over precedent and rank amongst the Apostles themselves. Perhaps you and the, ah, good Archbishop (or more accurately, the Bishop) of Istanbul should simply get over fussing about pecking order (including seating arrangements at hypothetical future councils) and simply concentrate on proclaiming the gospel message (yes, I know, what a quaint notion that overseers should focus on something so mundane).

              • simply concentrate on proclaiming the gospel message

                Here is an elegant summarization of Vladyka Dmitri’s life and ministry. May his memory be eternal not just in heaven, but here on earth as well, so that we carry on his life’s work!

            • Peter, I’m not sure what the point is by in all encyclicals, the EP signs his letters “Archbishop of Cpole, the New Rome and EP.” As I understand it, titles like “patriarch” and “metropolitan” are honorifics created to distinguish among bishops, who is primate, etc. The only reason +Jonah is Metropolitan of All America and Canada is because he is first and foremost Archbishop of Washington. He is the diocesan ordinary of the diocese of Washington.

              • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                That title of “Ecumenical” Patriarch is VERY important and clearly established. Greek Orthodox had to fight the current Turkish government on retaining the title Ecumenical for the Patriarch. Fr, Frank Maragos, who was part of the GOA contingent in Constandinople at the time of the relics of St. John Cysostom and St. Gregory were returned to the Holy See was actively fought by the turkish government NOT to have the Patriarch called Ecumenical.

                According to the Archons of the EP:

                “The term or title “Ecumenical” has been used since the 6th century A.D. and is recognized and used universally throughout the world. Officials of the Turkish Republic must understand that the Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians in the world and not just the Bishop of a local congregation, as the Turkish Government contends.

                For Orthodox Christians NOT to recognize the title “Ecumenical” but to reduce the EP to just an Archbishop this is exactly what the Turkish Government wants. I have not nor will I ever support anything the diminished the position and honor of the EP even if I have my own disagreements with the EP over the:

                1. Ecclesiastical Calendar;

                2. Ecumenism;

                3. The exapansive interpretation of Canon 28

                4. His betrayal of Archbishop Spyridon; and

                5. His disrespect of Metropolitan Jonah by not allowing him to sit on the EA (i understand this was payback for Dallas, but it was NOT becoming of the EP).

                So I have my disagreements, but to strip him of an “Official” title that he has had since the 6th Century, which is what the Turkish government wants to do in an effort to NOt recognize the EP, strip him and OUR Church of its property and holy relics that remain, stripped him of Hailki and countless other properties I WILL NOT SUPPORT!

                Shall was call the Patriarch of Moscow an Archbishop? Shall we do the same to the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Serbia and Antioch?

                You of all people George know, or should know, the great importance of this title. Whatever disagreements you or I or others may have with the EP he is still and always will be THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH!


                • Heracleides says

                  “Officials of the Turkish Republic must understand that the Ecumenical Patriarch is the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians in the world…”

                  Think again. While Bp. Bartholomew may be your pope, he is certainly not mine.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    If we do not stand together we all fall. Unfortunately that’s what you do not understand, and why we are easy pickings for the powers (non-Orthodox) that be. I suggest you strongly reconsider your position and stop drinking the OCA Kool-Aid Herc.

                    If one of us falls ALL of us fall whther he is your POPE or not.


                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Herc, why do you think Metropolitan Jonah was attacked and brought within inches of losing his position? LACK OF RESPECT! Lack of respect from Clergy and laity. Think about that before you make comments like you just did.

                      We either support one another or the world will rip us to threads. Again, whether he is YOUR pope or not do not matter to the hungry wolves at our door.


                    • Heracleides says

                      Peter, you seem more than a little overwrought when it comes to this subject. Let us just say that you, Helga, myself, and doubtless many others disagree on this matter and move on. Peace.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Lets just say that you, Helga and others better understand that respect shown to one is respect shown to all, and if Orthodox do not hold the line then there won’t be a line to hold. That’s not being overwrought, that’s protecting ourselves from the smallest insult to the biggest onslaught. We either stay together and show respect or we will be picked off.

                      Sorry to say I have seen it before. They said back in the 1920’s – “its just a calendar, what’s the big deal?” Then it was let’s just talk to the Catholics, then its was let’s just talk to the protestants, then it was let’s pray with them, etc., etc., and it led to schism and heresy.

                      When Metropolitan Jonah disrespected the EP he was rightly called to the carpet on it. When the EP did not invite Metropolitan Jonah to the EA the EP was rightly disobeyed by Archbishop Demetrios. When the Ecumenical Patriarch is called the “Archbishop” and you and Helga and others show your true hand of having no allegence to him then it shows why American Orthodox are NOT mature enought to even begin discussing authcephelacy, let along to have it.

                      How about all the disrespectful things said about Metropolitan Philip? Should we let those slide as well? After the whole Bishop Mark debacle you honestly think he was wrong? Also, you may disagree with Metropolitan Philip but it was one long “beat-down” over at Stoke’s site against Metropolitan Philip. You think that was right?

                      Look you may disagree with the man, but that gives you license to disrespect him? So its not being overwrought when slights are made and not responded too.

                      And while were at it were do you get off calling Mark Stoke ‘Mrs. Stoke-Brown?” You know all the fact about MS’ relationship? You know all of this FOR A FACT? Everybody though Robert Kondrick was one thing, but then discovered MS agendy and now is second guessing.

                      You want to disagree with someone, and call them to the carpet for it go right ahead. I do it as well especially when true Orthodox doctrine and morality are being attacked, but I do try NOT to engae in name calling, or calling someone they are not.

                      Now I was willing to drop this, but Herc you tipped your hand, which I knew what you and others felt about the EP. That’s why I said what I said.

                      That’s why Helga cannot get in Rod’s face for what she said because if you and Helga want to ONLY respect your hierarchs, and not others then what’s the point guys? Why are you even here supporting Metropolitan Jonah one day, BUT attack him the next because he did not supposedly discipline the Deacon for withholding communion?

                      I’m a lawyer, but talk about whiplash guys.


                    • CodeNameYvette says

                      Dear, dear. I speak only for myself here, Peter. I can respect the office of Ecumenical Patriarch only insofar as reality permits. The one who holds the office has a primacy of honor based on the fact that Constantinople was the capital, the New Rome, the most important city in the Orthodox world.

                      Today the honor ought to go by rights to Patriarch Kyril, but let that pass. We can agree to let the current office holder receive all the honor that is due to the office.

                      However, I do not respect the current holder of the office in his person, as he has demonstrated himself to be an outrageous ecumenist, modernizer, moral relativist, and toady to the Pope of Rome.

                      He has a way of throwing his weight around as if he were an Orthodox Pope who speaks for all Orthodox Christians. We don’t have Popes; our bishops are not flunkies under the boot of Constantinople.

                      It is a great shame, but there it is. I had occasion to ask a wise elder priest one day, why God permitted so many unfit men to hold this office for years and years, doing so much damage. He replied that it is because they are no longer drowned in the Bosporus.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Dear, dear Code Name Yvette, I agree with you about the Ecumenical Patriarch’s positions in regards to ecumenism, in fact, Metropolitan Jonah is also an ecumenist as he is the head of the OCA and the OCA is still engaged in Ecumenism. Patriarch Kyril is also an ecumenist as Moscow is still active in the ecumenical movement, but I still do not disrespect them even if I disagree with them.

                      Also, why are so many unfit men on the HS of the OCA? Why did so many unfit men sit on the Patriarchal throne in Moscow during the Communist Era as the ROCOR stated for many years before the 2007 reunification? I mean so many unfit men its a wonder Orthodoxy hasn’t drowned. Hmmm?


                    • CodeNameYvette says

                      Dear Peter, I’m trying to reply to your comments below:

                      Also, why are so many unfit men on the HS of the OCA? Why did so many unfit men sit on the Patriarchal throne in Moscow during the Communist Era as the ROCOR stated for many years before the 2007 reunification? I mean so many unfit men its a wonder Orthodoxy hasn’t drowned.


                      I guess one obvious answer is, “for our sins.” I’ll really offend some people now, and express a completely personal opinion. I think that God puts up with the historical patriarchates, as history shows — the Holy Fire still lights up the Tomb — but as with King Solomon who fell away, the inheritance is given to foreigners.

                      Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem — what are they today? Patriarchates in name only as far as their home territory is concerned.

                      Whether God is disposed to put up with the OCA is another matter; time will tell. One might understand that the ROC reached out to the WCC in desperation, to ward off more persecution. At least the Russians speak out these days against what goes on in the WCC.

                      I suppose that they worry about what the Ecumenical Patriarch would do in their absence if they left the WCC. It would provide him with another stage in which to claim his favorite role as World Mouthpiece for Orthodoxy and make even more mischief.

                      On the other hand, what Metropolitan Jonah is doing passes understanding. He had some cooperative deal with some Episcopalian outfit a year or two back, a Statement of something or other. What for? And why put up with the nonsense at New Skete?

                      Apologies all around. But I do appreciate that someone invoked the name of Alexandr S., who said something to the effect that we must refuse to live with lies.

                    • Geo Micha.lopulos says

                      Brethren, there is no need for us to use the term “ecumenical” anymore. When it was first used by John IV the Faster, its idiomatic meaning was “imperial” as in he was the archbishop of the “imperial” or “universal” city. That’s how he explained it to Pope Gregory I the Great who was incensend when he first saw a letter that John signed that way.

                      Gregory understood it in the actual sense, i.e. “universal” and even he did not feel that his see was universal in any way. Long story short, John and his successors dropped it in a real hurry. It wasn’t resurrected again until the 13th century. In the 20th century, Meletius IV Metaxakis dusted off its literal meaning and began using it in the globalist sense.

                      Anyway, I don’t think any patriarch should have the title ecumenical anymore. The order of the dyptichs is more than enough to set primatial sequence (and that order is statutory, not theological).

                    • Peter, I have NEVER attacked Metropolitan Jonah. The reason I came and started commenting on this blog to begin with was out of love and respect for Metropolitan Jonah, and a desire to help dismantle the Stokoe mythology. I wanted to save Metropolitan Jonah’s reputation and ministry from being destroyed because Metropolitan Jonah is a good, kind man, a worthy and fully competent bishop, and the allegations and insinuations against him are lies concocted to promote an unholy agenda.

                      I am profoundly thankful to George for providing a forum for that project.

                      With that said, your childish and ignorant ranting has successfully exhausted my ability to reply with anything resembling good nature. Please stop.

                    • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                      Orthodox denying the very title the Turks deny the EP. He truly does stand alone how shameful. Helga my dear child in time I hope you will understand the errors of your comments. Also the sufferings of the EP and of Greeks in Istanbul is Not childish.
                      You support and honor one hierarchy but not the other. Hypocritical no?

                      As for George I do and have understood his position for a very long time as an OCL member. I hope that one day people do not strip your patriarch (Metropolitan Jonah) of his title and lands. Because what goes around comes around. Oh wait that almost did happen.

                      I bid you peace.


                • George Michalopulos says

                  Peter, please understand, the only reason I have problems with the word “ecumenical” at present is because it has been twisted beyond all recognition into something it was never meant to be –i.e. “universal.” Ever since Meletius IV it has become the lodestar of the modern ecumenical movement, which I despise as a demonic invention.

                  We’d be better off it it was just stripped from his title and he simple known as “Patriarch Bartholomew.” The order of the dyptichs stands on its own. Personally, even though I’ve had my disagreements with the incumbent, and have pointed out on numerous times that the order of the dyptichs is a statutory –not theological–phenomenon, I think it makes strategic sense for ancient city of no great strategic value to be the primatial see of the Orthodox world. Kind of like Switzerland during the Cold War which was resolutely neutral.

                  • Peter A. Papoutsis says

                    I think we must simply agree to disagree. Although, I agree with you in the Ep’s expansive interpretation of Canon 28, the EP is still the first among equals and does hold a primacy of honor and as a court of final appeal in the Orthodox Church. Hence the basis for the title Ecumenical.

                    I will leave it at that. However, the OCA faithful have other issues with the EP that the other Orthodox jurisdiction do not welcome. It is in the OCA’s best interests the change their position of hostility towards the EP. Metropolitan Jonah changed his stance, so should the rest of the OCA. Otherwise, this hostility towards old world patriarches, as well as all their other issues that we have currently seen will eventually diminish if not destroy the OCA.


          • Helga, just to clarify, Metropolitan Jonah was asked personally by the Archbishop to remain with him and be with him and, of course, +Jonah being as close as he was to the Archbishop honored all wishes.

            • Thank you, Madam. My only point in bringing that up was to show that it was strange for a supporter of Vladyka Dmitri to decry a group of bishops that included Vladyka Dmitri’s chosen successor and friend.

              It’s tricky to compare Vladyka Dmitri to the other bishops because none of them really do measure up, at least not in the way Rod appears to expect them to. That’s not because they are all less worthy than Vladyka Dmitri, as Rod seemed to imply, but because most of them are much younger and much less experienced than Vladyka Dmitri was at the time Rod knew him.

              There are some OCA bishops who have made some regrettable choices in the past few months, and I’m afraid I don’t hold out much hope for them. However, I have faith in the other bishops that I mentioned, hoping that they could live up to, or even surpass, Vladyka Dmitri’s legacy.

        • I’m sorry Ron. I have appreciated much of what you said and I frankly found that comment a cheap shot and, in all honesty, in poor taste, which did nothing to add to the otherwise moving and beautiful eulogy of a Saintly man.

          As an Orthodox Christian, I believe that no one is beyond the mercy of God, and hence repentence, including Bp. Mark. Bp. Benjamin, or any on the Holy Synod whom some have perceived as acting in an un-Christian behavior. We are all in a process towards eternity, and have a daily choice as to whether we will repent and become like the Saints or descend into ourselves and our own Hell. I know that in my own life I have sinned beyond measure, yet God continues to forgive me of my many faults. I try, though I fail many times, to extend that forgiveness to those like Bp. Mark and Mark Stokoe, and assume that even if they are unrepentant, as Jesus said, may “know not what they do.” This is ultimately the only Christian attitude to have.

          Though we ought to be appalled at sin, especially among those in leadership of his Holy Church, we ought to also remember that God forgives. How do we know that Met. Jonah has not already heard Bp. Mark confess and has quietly absolved him just as he has numerous other sinners? Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for now. If he publically falters again, we have an obligation to quietly and respectfully remind him that, as our spiritual father, he has an obligation to model Christ to the faithful, but I suspect that he, like every other bishop, knows that.

          The other issue is that this was published in a fairly public place where anyone considering Orthodoxy can see it. I fear that this comment could be a major stumbling block for those seeking truth and beauty. I pray that it is not so, but saying something like “the rest of us have learned this awful spring that there aren’t any Orthodox bishops like Dmitri in the OCA either.” can lead one to the understandable conclusion that the inquirer ought not to be in communion with them and walk the other way. I pray that I am over-reacting.

          Forgive me a sinner, and a happy and blessed New Year to you. May the Lord bless you this year as you strive towards your salvation.

          • I like your sensibilities, Ben. I’ve wondered the same thing (about all this dirty Orthodox laundry being aired on the Internet driving away would-be converts). I suspect it may slow things down for some anyway, but maybe those ones are better off for the moment working out their salvation in a different context. They will eventually come to realize, if they probe the problem deeply enough, that there is no refuge from the effects of sin in any Christian communion. Every quarter has its scandals. I think the tremendous depth and beauty of Orthodox Christianity just serves to put this disconnect in particularly high relief, and it definitely creates a tension.

            There may not be many Orthodox Bishops of the quality of Archbp. Dimitri, but I’d like to think there are several who are, nonetheless, godly, if flawed, men from whose ministry we sinners can benefit. It is an unspeakable blessing to see true Saints emerge within the Church, but, by definition, these are extraordinary cases. Do we really think we need all our Bishops to be Saints in order for God to work out His purposes through them in the Church?

            • Do we really think we need all our Bishops to be Saints in order for God to work out His purposes through them in the Church?

              We need our bishops, priests and deacons to be as good as they can be, which is all God asks of all of us. Flaws, mistakes and lapses of judgment are one thing, but ongoing hidden sin that would turn anyone away is another. It’s hard for me to remain neutral about this.

              This is taken from “Unspoken Sermons” by the great writer George MacDonald:

              The Lord cared neither for isolated truth nor for orphaned deed. It was truth in the inward parts, it was the good heart, the mother of good deeds, he cherished. It was the live, active, knowing, breathing good he came to further. He cared for no speculation in morals or religion. It was good men he cared about, not notions of good things, or even good actions, save as the outcome of life, save as the bodies in which the primary live actions of love and will in the soul took shape and came forth. Could he by one word have set at rest all the questionings of philosophy as to the supreme good and the absolute truth, I venture to say that word he would not have uttered. But he would die to make men good and true. His whole heart would respond to the cry of sad publican or despairing pharisee, ‘How am I to be good?’

            • I’ve wondered the same thing (about all this dirty Orthodox laundry being aired on the Internet driving away would-be converts).

              When I was a “would-be convert” it would have been much better for me and my husband had we known how much we would be hurt by bad leaders who were being aired all over the place as living Saints. Or better, if those leaders had not been leaders at all, or if they had not acted as they did because their intentions were not good. If we had only known to have been more cautious about putting our trust in them, we would not have been so pie-eyed and innocent about them. Orthodoxy is so beautiful, and we could not see that “the other shoe” would drop right on our heads.

              • Jane Rachel, I can relate to your experience and I certainly agree with what you have stated in both your comments to me. I would go further by adding to your comment to Ben that I think where sin has been quite public and has hurt and scandalized many faithful, the repentance, if it is real and not just sham, should be equally public. Any clergyman (or layperson, for that matter) worth his salt ought to be willing to confess his sin and make whatever restitution he can at least as publicly as it has been committed. It seems to me, this is the only way to mitigate the destructive consequences.

                All that said, it seems to me not all of our OCA Bishops, and possibly not most of those currently on the Synod, have shown themselves to be lacking integrity to this degree.

                I will also add to my initial post that it is my conviction that if we were to put as much intensity and effort into our prayer for the Church as we do in these blog posts and conversations, we would likely see things turn around very quickly.

                • Jane Rachel says

                  I appreciate your comment Karen and hope you are right. I also believe many of these blog posts are a form of praying.

          • Jane Rachel says

            Ben, I agree with you.

            I wanted to add/ask this. If a bishop, priest or deacon has repented quietly and confessed, that is very good indeed. But if the actions and lifestyle have shown an ongoing lack of character, integrity, ability to lead, and wholeness of mind and soul, and if the actions are contrary to the teachings of Christ, should the “repentant” clergy be allowed to continue being called bishop, priest or deacon? Or should they be removed?

            • It has always been my understanding that while God forgives our sins when we repent, he often allows us to suffer the consequences of our actions.

              We are also taught to Beware of false prophets, beware of evil teachers. (Matt 7:15, Phil 3:2)

              And we are told to forgive 7 x 70.

              Some boils need lancing, or radical surgery.

              Just some thoughts.

              • Jane Rachel says

                I agree. What else can we say when the clergy hurt the people by their actions, or, as Christ would see it, HIS shepherds are beating HIS sheep, and when we bleat, other sheep blame US for bleating? We’re being hit over the head by our shepherds, and it HURTS.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Jeff, very good point. One of the things that always struck me about forgiveness and authentic repentance is that the consequences still reverberate. The classic example of this is King David, whose adultery with Bathsheba set off a chain of events that nearly destroyed his family and almost his kingdom. Though he repented and was forgiven by God (and whose icon to this day adorns the Holy Gospel in our churches), there was no way to undo his sins. Bathsheba remained faithless to her husband, her husband was killed, and the baby conceived in adultery was stillborn.

          • With all due respect, I have to stand up for Rod here. Some of the people criticizing him here have said much worse things about other bishops and even our Metropolitan than Rod said. If we’re going to criticize Rod for what he said, we need to look at the things that we ourselves have said in other topics posted here. Personally, I find some of the remarks rather hypocritical.

            • Katherine, for me it was not so much what Rod said but the context in which he said it. It was supposed to be, and was in large part, a tribute to Vladyka Dmitri. I was so absorbed in the tribute to Vladyka that I felt shocked and a little violated when that part came up, as I had been just about to send Rod’s article to family members, who were curious as to why I was so tearful and sad this week. I sent them the Evlogia piece instead.

              Rod could have simply said that “Some of Vladyka’s final months were tragically painful, due in large part to turmoil in St. Seraphim’s. The turmoil was centered around diocesan administrators who had been sent to replace Vladyka, and came close to tearing the cathedral parish apart. By God’s grace, Vladyka lived to see the strife die down and spent his final months in peace. But for many at St. Seraphim’s, the turmoil enhanced their appreciation for Vladyka’s uniqueness among church leaders.” I believe that would have acknowledged the strife and pain, and praised Vladyka’s singular gifts, without demonizing or even naming anyone else.

              If Vladyka has found his rest in the arms of God, I am quite sure he has forgiven those who caused him agony, and holds all of us in constant prayer.

              • Helga,
                Can you or anyone tell me where to find any information, preferably balanced (though I wouldn’t expect it) on the whole Bishop Mark controversy? BTW, I can tell who you are by your writing style (and you know me :-0) …it was great seeing you at all the services for Vladyka this week.

                I have asked our priest and he won’t say a word to me about what was/is going on. I told him that it’s not so much wanting to hear or spread gossip, but it’s something like the situation when one of our managers at work, a very well-liked woman, was suddenly shunted off to a ‘broom closet’ job and then finally faded away and was ‘let go’ for no apparent reason…and it was obviously ‘verboten’ to talk about or ask about the matter. It is disconcerting when a leader is suddenly just ‘gone’ and there is no explanation about why and what happened…please help.

          • Look, I’m not going to get into it with y’all over this. I stand by what I wrote. It is well known within the St. Seraphim’s community that Vladyka Dmitri was deeply grieved by what Bishop Mark did to the parish during his (blessedly) short sojourn there. Bishop Mark inflicted terrible wounds on what was, in my opinion, the crowning achievement of Vladyka’s life, a parish and a community that means a great deal to me. Mark broke the law by hacking Fr. Fester’s e-mails, which caused a lot of spiritual damage to people dear to me who had little or nothing to do with the fight over Met. Jonah. And he remains a bishop in good standing with the OCA Synod, which apparently sees nothing wrong with what he did, given that he delivered to them the head of Joe Fester.

            I won’t re-engage these fights here. I’ve moved on, and at this point, whatever happens to the OCA happens; I have no personal stake in it anymore, and regret ever having gotten involved in this mess. You should remember, Ben, that Bishop Mark’s sins here weren’t only against God, but against real people who in some cases (not mine) were seriously hurt by what he did. Has he made amends to them, or even tried? Anyway, there is no reason to be dishonest about what happened at St. Seraphim’s this spring, even in a column about Vladyka. Vladyka *was* St. Seraphim’s, to a great extent, and the wounds Vladkya’s brother bishops inflicted on the parish this spring were wounds to our dear Vladyka. I respect your dissenting opinion, of course, but I’m not going to back down here.

            What I don’t respect, and don’t respect *at all*, is this idea that we can’t tell the truth, as we see it, about big problems within the OCA because it might discourage potential converts. That’s nonsense, and dangerous nonsense too. I remain Orthodox knowing full well about the problems in the Church; when I lost my Catholic faith, I resolved not to be so idealistic about the Orthodox bishops, a decision that has stood me in good stead this year. I am not, obviously, a fan of Mark Stokoe, but one very great thing he has done for the OCA is fought this harmful idea that to be open and honest about the serious problems within the church. “Live not by lies,” said Solzhenitsyn, and that includes lying to ourselves and potential converts about the situation in the Church — in the OCA, in the Catholic Church, or any other church.

            The trick is to be careful not to succumb to the lie that corruption is the *only* truth, or the *essential* truth, about the Church.

            • This is the very first time I have ever tried to post anything to a blog so forgive any mistakes.

              I came to this site to see what George Michalopulos had in his heart regarding the death of Archbishop Dmitri. George and I have been personal friends for many years.

              I first met his Eminence about 30 years ago, and developed a great admiration of him. My responsibilities as music director at St. Antony’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Tulsa kept me from making may trips on weekends. However when my wife and I took trips to Dallas to see our family there, we would always worship at St. Seraphim’s Cathedral. We subscribed to The Dawn just so we could be fed spiritually by Archbishop Dmitri. Later in life, when my son was grown, he chose to attend Holy Apostle’s Mission, the OCA mission in Tulsa that George helped found. It is my firm belief that my son is a sub-deacon as a direct result of Archbishop Dmitri’s personal attention and the loving kindness that he showed my son.

              Some of you who know Bishop Mark’s background will recognize that I was music director at the Orthodox Church where Mark Maymon first incountered the Holy Orthodox Church. We have known Bishop Mark since his days at Oral Roberts University.

              Bishop Mark is still my friend. I pray for him, and hope you will join my in praying for him. He still is a child of God, made in His image, and is deserving of prayer.

              It is terrible that so many bad things happened at St. Seraphim’s – such a holy place. I am truly sorry for all who have been hurt. May Christ Jesus, Himself heal the hearts and souls of each one.

              May the servant of God, Archbishop Dmitri rest in holy rest until the Day of Resurrection. And may God have mercy on me, a sinner.

            • I’ve moved on, and at this point, whatever happens to the OCA happens; I have no personal stake in it anymore…I remain Orthodox knowing full well about the problems in the Church.

              Did you hop to another jurisdiction? That’s how I read this.

              What I don’t respect, and don’t respect *at all*, is this idea that we can’t tell the truth, as we see it, about big problems within the OCA because it might discourage potential converts.

              Agreed. “Those seeking truth and beauty,” as Ben puts it, are not well-served by half-truths and concealed blemishes.

              • Jane Rachel says

                “Half-truths and concealed blemishes.” Exactly. It feels like coverup to me, and unless that coverup has been dealt with, all the bishops right now are still responsible and obligated to make it right with the public. You can’t hide behind what has been said already. It’s been said. Deal with it. Deal with the coverup and let us know what we need to know in order to heal properly. Vindicate the innocent. Hold the guilty accountable. King David did the right thing and look at what harm he caused, and then look at how God made the evil be good. King David repented publicly, we pray his prayer every single day. Talk about hypocrisy. We recite Psalm 51 by heart but in our heart, we don’t mean it or understand it at all.

            • I think it was important that you repeated what +Archbishop DMITRI said about +Bishop MARK. He had to know that his words were going to be repeated. Chances are that he said them so that they would be repeated, as a warning to his flock.

            • George Michalopulos says

              Rod, I know this is going to sound self-serving and all (because you mentioned me at the last; if anything, my name tarnished an otherwise brilliant essay) but I can honestly say that your enconium to +Dmitri were spot-on.

              Nor do I think you should have to apologize about what you wrote about +Dmitri’s putative successor. What he did was wrong, immoral if not actually criminal. And his actions did grieve our beloved Vladyka. If I may add, we need to start calling spades spades and stop the pietistic, flower, orthotalk that obscures rather than corrects. Let us go back to the days of the first councils when bishops were not scared to call their brothers to task.

              For this reason I think you were justified in writing what you did about the bishop in question. One cannot perform egregious acts or say intemperate things and believe that there can be no consequences. Even a bishop’s mitre cannot protect the man from his follies.

              As for myself, being a member of the DOS, I can forgive all involved for how they personally scandalized me but I cannot speak for the diocese as a whole or of course +Dmitri. That being said, if true repentance has occurred, then there must be some public manifestation of it by said perpetrators. Otherwise it’s back to the same old same old.

        • George Michalopulos says

          All, even though I don’t live in Dallas, I can vouch for Rod’s claims here about the grievous wonds that people suffered at St Seraphim’s. It broke my heart. (I don’t care about my pride, the fact that I wrote a glowing letter to Bp Mark in which I stated my hopes that he become Vladyka’s successo and thus was shown to be a fool.)

          On a human level I hope that things work out for Bp Mark, however because of what happened, I cannot ever hope that he becomes our bishop. It would be a disaster both for him and for us. We have other dioceses in the OCA.

    • DC Indexman says

      Does anyone know if Metropolitan Herman (Joseph Swako) attended or wanted to attend services in Dallas for the late Archbishop?

      • He certainly wanted to attend, but because of his “exile” and his health, he felt it unwise to attend. Same holds true for Nikolai and Tikhon of the West, who loved His Eminence. I don’t think Seraphim can leave Canada, but if he could, I am sure he would be there. His Eminence was much-loved and respected. 57 years of service to the Lord, the only diocesan bishop of the Diocese of the South. A missionary diocese committed to His Eminence’s vision of bringing the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. Not just a slogan but faith put into action and now witnessed by the all those who surround him at this very moment in Dallas and who surround him in prayer around the world. Well done, good and faithful servant! Thanks for setting the bar so high. The fruit is certainly sweeter because of you.

    • All,
      I’m still trying to no avail to find /any/ info on the Bp Mark issues…and Fr Joseph Fester. I don’t know what happened to both of them (*poof* they were gone) even though I attend a nearby church and parishioners from the Cathedral and our parishioners kind of go back and forth to each others’ churches. I just heard nothing (our parishioners are so good about not gossiping). I don’t want to hear/spread gossip about anyone, I just want to know what in the world happened.

      I had good impressions of both of them from very limited exposure so it was shocking to hear of so many veiled comments about things they might have done. I only saw Bp. Mark twice – once when he ordained our only subdeacon and tonsured one of our readers and then last week at services for Vladika Dmitri. Saw Fr. Fester once only at our church. Never heard anyone say anything negative about either but heard online that there was a terrible problem at the Cathedral related to both of them. Any help appreciated…

      • Lola J. Lee Beno says

        Fr. Joseph is now in the Carpatho-Rusyn jurisdiction and a rector at a parish on Long Island.

        As for info, go over to and go through the archives. There’s quite a bit of stuff here in the archives as well.

      • Matushka Elizabeth says

        There is much more to the issues than you will find at OCA”truth”, Svezda. While some of their articles are fine, most are highly escewed. If you want to get a little clue about at least part of the picture, Fr. Basil B.’s article on leadership is a good start. Insert another name and you may begin to understand. See:

        • Svezda,

          You will not find much/ if any information on Bp. Mark on OCAT. There are numerous reasons for that, but if memory serves, this site (monomakhos) offers some accurate information regarding the situation.

  13. Above Helga asked about Archbishop Dmitri’s sister, and what happened to her. I just found this and thought some might want to know.

    Freestone County, Texas

    Dallas Morning News
    March 30, 1987; Page: 16a

    Services for Dimitra V. Royster, co-founder of St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral,
    will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the cathedral.

    Miss Royster, 64, died Saturday at Gaston Episcopal Hospital after a lengthy

    She was a native of Teague, Freestone County, who received her bachelor’s
    degree in geology from Southern Methodist University. She founded Paleo
    Petroleum Co., an oil exploration firm, in Dallas in the late 1970s and served
    as its president until the early 1980s, relatives said.

    Miss Royster and her brother, Bishop Dimitri Royster, founded the St. Seraphim
    cathedral, an American Orthodox church, in Dallas in 1954. The church now has
    more than 100 members.

    Miss Royster is survived by her brother.

    Memorials may be made to the St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral building fund.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Pat, thanks for digging this up. I always wanted to know more about our beloved late Miss Royster. Based on the bare facts mentioned, she seemed like a remarkable woman: a college graduate, foundress of a an oil-exploration firm, and of course foundress and sustainer of the Jewel of the South, St Seraphim’s.

      Personally, I think she’s in line for sainthood as well. From what little I know about her, she reminds me of Lydia, the ancient Greek businesswoman in Acts who helped Paul found the first churches on the European continent.

    • Thank you so much, Patrick! That is fascinating. It sounds like Dimitra Royster was a formidable woman! I’m so happy to finally know who she was and how she lived. May her memory be eternal.

      (I noticed that there was an established grave next to Archbishop Dmitri’s. Could that be hers?)

      • nicole troon says

        I was told by a longtime parishioner and great friend of Vladika that the grave next to his temporary one is that of a ballerina and parishioner much beloved herself. There was a lovely photo of them both at the Panikhida graveside today.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          The grave is temporary? Where will the permanent grave be?

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says
        • Thank you, Nicole and Lola! That’s fascinating. May Ms. Krassovska’s memory be eternal.

          Lola, I think Vladyka’s grave is temporary because I think St. Seraphim’s intends to put it on a site where they can build a chapel around it, as soon as they can get the relevant permissions from the authorities. In the pictures I saw, they put Vladyka’s coffin in a big white vault before lowering it into the ground, which keeps the dirt from sinking over the grave, but since it’s a temporary grave, I also imagine that it’s to facilitate moving his body when the time comes.

  14. Pravoslavnie says

    A very nice 36-minute audio program about Abp. Dmitri has been posted on Ancient Faith Radio. Fr. John Freeman, Dean of Appalachia (DOS-OCA) recollects.

  15. Forgiveness is not something we can control after we have done so. We give forgiveness to another. How s/he acts afterwards is up to them. What we do by forgiving is let go of our own grasping of the hurtful or illegal deed of the other. For us having forgiven, we can move forward, move into our lives again without the burden of someone else’s sin. By forgiving we say that we want to be free and to allow the other person to deal with his own faults. Whatever spiritual grace he can receive from our forgiving him/her, they can take to heart or not. Often the hardest that we can do is to accept that we are truly and honestly forgiven, whether by the other person or by God.

    Perfection, unfortunately, is rare. I bet Archbishop Dimitri would be the first to agree. What is not so rare is kindness and hope. In reading much of this thread many have been hurt by actions of people who we would like to idolize but should not. Sometimes we substitute respect for adulation. No, none of these men (hierarchy) can match our overly high expectations. We wish they were above pettiness, but none of us are. How many of us are unsettled or even angry that the supermarket line is too long, the car beside us cuts us off, the person we come home to is unable to focus on us and our difficult day. We are fragile albeit very strong people. With the grace which we are given in faith we can be strong and overlook these small things knowing that which is greater is our goal.

    A year from today who knows. I am realistic (?cynical) enough to predict this blog will have lots of posts of problems and difficulties, ranting and accusing that it has now. It is the nature of life to complain. Heck, I may be in the middle of it myself. Take salvation seriously; let the less important be set aside.

    • ah yes complaining. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert because they complained. Maybe we ought to begin to look for better alternatives to resolving our problems.

  16. Sdn Joseph Wynn says

    The Spiritual Father That Wasn’t!

    I suppose it’s a natural thing to find fault in what someone says or does; even at a time such as this, although it’s quite sad to read. This isn’t about +Mark, or Fr. Joseph Fester, or any other person (insert name here). This is about a man who in many ways I love equally to my own father and there is absolutely no room for any other man to be mentioned in the same sentence with Vladika Dmitri.

    Vladika Dmitri wasn’t my Spiritual Father, least not in any formal or officially acknowledged understanding. But he was the most influential Spiritual Father that wasn’t, in my life. To have spent the past 8 years with this man, seeing him every single week (sometimes 3 and 4 times a week) was a blessing that only now am I truly realizing.

    Sometimes our interaction ranged from nothing more than me asking for his blessing, to private talks in his home. And regardless of the time we were together, I always knew that Vladika cared. Vladika made the simplest interaction seem as important as the not so simple.

    Not being a writer, it’s not easy for me to fluently express myself and to describe the relationship we had, but if not for him I wouldn’t be where I am today. In February of 2007 Vladika had just completed our house blessing and I told him that I wanted to speak privately with him. We went into my office and I told him that I feeling a “pull” from the Church. We talked about that for quite a while and in the end Vladika said, “Well, let’s just let this simmer a while and see what God does with it.” Three and a half years later, Met. Jonah ordained me to the Sub-deaconate. And now as I continue my studies, and as Vladika said back then, “…let’s just let this simmer and see what God does with it.”

    We had a private dinner this past Thursday evening, the day Vladika was buried and it’s this thought that I would most like people to remember. We discussed how when Vladika the Archbishop was among us, he was our Shepherd, and under his wing we were protected. He nurtured us in his wisdom and in his character and now he has returned to our Lord. In doing so, he has left us with the understanding that it is now our turn to do as he did. It is our turn to lead, whereas before we only had to follow. It is now our turn to step up and out from under shadow of his wing and live according to the examples he gave to us.

    At Divine Liturgy today, I so much felt Vladika’s spirit with us. I looked out across the Sanctuary and it was filled by a Priest performing his priestly duties, two Deacons leading the service, four Sub-deacons directing the traffic, and a host of servers. The Sanctuary was full and there too was Vladika. The only evidence of last week are leftover flowers scattered around the Nave. Everything was back to as it should be and Vladika is there, praying and watching over his flock in a way that is so much beyond our mortal understanding.

    The last words he spoke to me, the Wednesday before he reposed was “keep on going; never give up.” This was in response to him asking me “how is your Diaconate program going?” This man who was about to give up the spirit to the Father, was more concerned about me than his own situation, but then, that’s who Vladika Dmitri was and forever will be.

    May his Memory be forever Eternal. I love you Vladika!

    Sdn Joseph

    • Matushka Elizabeth says

      That post is beautiful and well spoken, Sdn Joseph. Thank you. May his memory be eternal!

    • Nicole Troon says

      You describe him so well, Sdn Joseph. HIs example of love, warmth, encouragement, respect, forgiveness, tenderness, faith and blessing is truly ours to follow. May we all walk in his path, His path.