In Memoriam: Archbishop Dmitri by Priest Justin Frederick

About a month ago, I was commiserating with Fr Justin Frederick about the fact that it had almost been a year since Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas had fallen asleep in the Lord. As he was a priest in his diocese, I asked him to contribute an essay on what Dmitri meant to him, the South, and the OCA.

Fr Justin sent this for publication to me last week on the Feast of St Dmitri of Rostov. What follows are his eloquent words.

AIn Memoriam: Archbishop Dmitri, Sept 19-21, 2012

By Priest Justin Frederick

We often do not know the true value of something until wehave lost it. This is particularly true with some men, whom we love and delight to honor in life, but only after death are we able to assay their true worth,thereby coming to know how much we took for granted while they were present and how much we have lost when they are gone.

On this feast of the relics of St.Dmitri of Rostov, I essay with fragile words to raise a modest monument to the memory of a priceless man recently departed from us, who had St. Dmitri for his patron and was founder of both a cathedral and a diocese, whose worth proves to have been greater than we knew while he lived.

I knew Archbishop Dmitri for thirteen years. I met him the same weekend I met my future wife at St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas in the summer of 1998. He performed my betrothal. He baptized my first two children.He ordained me a deacon on a week’s notice on the summer feast of St. Maximus,2000. He ordained me a priest on two weeks’ notice on the last day of the millennium.

He sent me to start a new mission in Denton, Texas, home to his alma mater, in June 2001 and appointed the first liturgy to be served on July29. He chose St. Maximus as our patron from a list of six possible names I suggested to him. The first year when we averaged twelve in attendance at the Divine Liturgy, he encouraged me by relating how in the first year of the Dallas cathedral in 1954, they averaged only six.

When minor conflicts arose int he mission and I encouraged those who were dissatisfied to go speak with him,he listened to the disgruntled graciously but supported and encouraged his priest. When I erred, he corrected me—though on one or two occasions, it was so gentle and I so dense that it took me months to realize that his comments were directed at me.

He taught my wife’s catechism class, leading her from a newly-found rudimentary faith in Christ to Baptism in the Church. He gave her much excellent advice in difficult matters requiring discernment. First, when she was preparing become a novice at Our Lady of Kazan Skete in Santa Rosa, he channelled her enthusiasm and carefully guided her to where she was ready to become a novice.

Then, after she met me and was not sure what she should dowith me or her plans to be a nun, he had her go ahead to the monastery anyway for four months, so that if she did choose marriage, she would not in difficult moments look back with regret for not having gone to the monastery. He instructed her to focus her prayers on discerning and accepting God’s will, not on a man or the monastery. (Incidentally, while there, she received the best possible preparation for becoming a priest’s wife under the capable direction of Mother Susanna.)

After the monastery, when we had rocky moments in courtship, his counsel saved us from relational shipwreck. When she sought to know what her role should be as a new priest’s wife, he strongly counselled her to take care of her husband, because no one else would, and to keep out of parish politics, off the council, and away from the annual meeting—advice which has kept our marriage and ministry strong.

And in later years, with a smile he would claim credit for getting us together. He radiated warmth and love to his people, and they reciprocated, delighting to follow his guidance out of their trust and love for him.

He actively worked to get people together to build Christian community,cooking and hosting numerous dinners at his home for parishioners and sundry, conveying deep pleasure in being with his people and in them being together. (I was a guest at one of those gatherings the first weekend I met him, which made a strong positive impression on me.)

After services, he always joined the faithful in the hall for coffee famously strong and robust fellowship. He was gracious to everyone, a true gentleman. Whether he liked you or not, found you engaging or annoying, he always made you feel special and welcome as a desired, honored guest.

Though easily approachable and accessible, he knew how to keep himself from being consumed by minutia and distracted from important work by unwanted interruptions. He kept his telephone unplugged except when expecting a call. To make an appointment with him, you had to go through his secretary or catch him after services. He kept to himself in his house working,where very few dared disturb him, except when he emerged to be with his chancery staff or the parishioners of the cathedral.

Though he was often unavailable to see on a whim, when he was available, he was fully present,engaged, engaging. People crowded around him, drinking in his words and finding nourishment in his presence. He had the ability to carry a conversation graciously without letting you feel like he was dominating it, and if you wanted an appointment with him to talk about a particular matter, you had best come prepared to address your concerns proactively lest you ended up whiling away a pleasant hour in edifying discourse without getting down to business.

So stimulating was it to hear him, you were loath to interrupt him. When in town, he always attended the Russian Liturgy that he had me serve once a month at the cathedral for the Russian-speakers, bolstering the choir by singing bass. A couple times when I could not serve, he served the Russian Liturgy in my place, which he was fully competent to do. Though a proponent of an American Church, he was not afraid to allow services in languages other than English.

Besides the Russian Liturgy, he served a monthly Spanish Liturgy, Spanish being the specialty which he taught for years as a professor at Southern Methodist University. With the Russians, he was careful not to allow two separate, unconnected parishes to develop in one building. He wanted the body of the faithful to be one, to be united, but in wisdom he recognized the need to minister to them in their own tongue as they assimilated to Church life in America.

He prepared and hosted a dinner for the local Orthodox clergy association every Bright Tuesday. He diligently promoted the close cooperation of the Orthodox clergy of all jurisdictions in Dallas and Forth Worth, and towards the end of his life, was most gratified that he had been able to get Metropolitan Isaiah of the Greek Archdiocese, Bishop Basil of theA ntiochian Archdiocese, and himself to serve together on the Sunday of Orthodoxy for several years in a row at their respective cathedrals.

The Orthodox clergy of Dallas and Fort Worth, regardless of jurisdiction, regarded him as their own bishop. He did not belabor the cause of Orthodox unity in North America with words; he built it by his actions.

On Wednesday nights after Vespers, he taught a regular classw hich invariably treated the Scriptures for all who desired to attend. For several years he also taught a special class on Thursday nights for men who might one day serve as readers, sub deacons, deacons, and priests, teaching Greek, Theology, Liturgics and dispensing pastoral wisdom.

He poured himself into those who were receptive, not considering teaching a small group beneath him or the time spent a loss. His great love was the Scriptures and the One to Whom they pointed, Jesus Christ the God-man, always teaching from them in his classes, studying to show himself approved, rightly dividing the word of truth, and always working on writing another biblical commentary.

He burned with desire to share the fullness of the Christian Faith with the people of the South, and the personal witness of his life and words were responsible for many people finding the fullness of Christ in the Orthodox Church.

Another great love of his was language, and he loved to discuss it both in detail and by way of punctuating his discourse with etymological observations about words in English, Greek, Spanish, Russian,Slavonic, and Japanese, this last which he had learned in the navy during the Second World War when he served as an interrogator of Japanese prisoners of war.

He was passionate about good liturgical language and accurate translation.Coming to the Diocese of the South, St. Seraphim’s Cathedral in Dallas in particular,from the Diocese of New York and New Jersey and St. Vladimir’s Seminary, I was initially discomfitted by the difference in translation, as I had nearly memorized the services in the standard OCA translation. But over the years, as I wrestled with Abp. Dmitri’s translation, queried him and even challenged him on it, pondered it again and again, and studied it for myself, I found that in every significant case I investigated, his rendering was preferable for its accuracy.

To take one small but deeply meaningful example: the priest’s exclamation before the Lord’s Prayer. The translation in Divine Liturgy Book of 1967 reads, “And make us worthy, O master, that with boldness and without condemnation we may dare to call on Thee, the heavenly God, as Father,and to say: Our Father…” In response to that translation, which he considered to be a inexcusably sloppy, he released his own Priest’s Service Book in 1973 (which Bishop Basil appears to have followed closely in his own Liturgicon). His translation is the same except that he inserts “vouchsafe” in place of “make us worthy”, “upon” in place of “on”, and more importantly, at the end, he has “the heavenly God and Father”, there being no ‘as’ in the text.

The verbal difference is small, but the theological difference is not.Vladyka’s translation allows us to apprehend more accurately upon whom we call: the Heavenly God who is by nature Father of His only-begotten Son, whom we have no natural right to call “our Father’, and whom to call “Father” is blasphemy.

It is this God who is a Father who has condescend to allow us to address Him as “our Father” by adoption through Baptism. The 1967translation obscures here the eternal fatherhood of God, prematurely focusing on how we address him as father by inserting the word ‘as’.

When I questioned His Eminence about why his translation did not say “as Father”, which to me at the time seemed more emotionally satisfying, he simply smiled and said,“Because the text doesn’t say that.” His faithfulness in conveying the text accurately has made that portion of Liturgy much more profoundly moving than ever it was before.

The Incarnation of Christ was a most important theme for Vladyka in his preaching. Early in his priestly career, a mentor, a bishop, I think, whose name I don’t remember, had told then-Father Dmitri that in every homily, whatever the text, he must somehow, in some way, bring it around to the incarnation of the eternal Son of God. Father and later Bishop Dmitri endeavored to do that, and he passed that counsel on to his clergy. Emmanuel,“God with us,” by becoming incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ, changes everything for the human race: sin and death are overcome, life imparted, God and man reconciled, and man is destined for glory.

The Church proclaims this truth most dramatically at Great Compline when she sings: “God is with us,understand all ye nations and submit yourselves, for God is with us.” Christ presents the world with a decisive choice: be rational and submit to the One who has earned kingship over the human race by His service and self-sacrifice or be irrational and persist in self-destructive rebellion.

Vladyka never tired of this glorious theme, and at our Diocesan Assembly in 2006, he suggested that the real problem of the Protestants was they did not have a full understanding of the Incarnation.

Troubled by the spirit of our times, he warned us repeatedly of two great threats to the Church. The first was secularism, which he defined at the Diocesan Assembly in 2004 as ‘treating this world as an end in itself.’Acknowledging that the Church has always labored in evil times in this fallen world, he contended that in our so-called “post-Christian era”, our task of proclaiming Jesus Christ in whom is eternal life for the world is even more difficult than it was in the past since this secularism now runs rampant.

If we in the Church are effectively to counteract it, we must deepen our faith and our bond of love with one another. The second threat which he perceived was resurgent Islam, which in his assessment was motivated by the spirit of antichrist “which is already in the world” for its explicit denial of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. He did not dwell on this threat, but I heard him mention it many times.

Much as Christ grants man to respond to Him in freedom,Vladyka Dmitri reposed great confidence and trust in his priests. He expected them to act like mature Christian men, to be responsible, and to do their duty faithfully. He assumed the best of them unless they proved otherwise, giving them room to sink or swim on their own.

He might be faulted for not providing more oversight and direction than he did: I certainly wished at times that he would be more forceful and directive. Yet the wide scope he gave us allowed us to take initiative, to exercise our gifts, and to carry out our ministries without being laden with arbitrary demands, excessively detailed instructions,or unnecessary administrative burdens.

Though he never cited the great abbot,he might as well have had the adage of St. Moses of Optina to guide him in his direction of his clergy: in regards to how to carry out the mission entrusted to you, “The job itself will show you”.

Plenty of us learned on the job how to found a mission, not out of a manual. He was a father to us and to his diocese. He was neither heavy handed nor a petty tyrant. He did not micro-manage. He was no mercenary or hireling, but a true shepherd and father whose ministry bore much good fruit.

When he began as the first bishop of the fledgling Diocese of the South in 1978, there were only sixteen parishes in the region that stretched from Virginia to New Mexico. By the time he retired in 2009, there were nearly seventy parishes and missions (now there are seventy-two—and three monasteries). It was a joke that all it took for him to start a mission was“two old ladies and a telephone booth” (congregation and meeting place).

Some missions were attempted and failed, but many others were attempted and succeeded, proving the adage “nothing hazarded, nothing gained.” All this was driven not by love or glory or desire for gain but by his love for Christ and the compulsion he felt to share Christ with those who knew Him not all or only knew caricatures and distortions.

He protected his flock from Church politics and kept us focused on Christ, the Gospel, and the Great Commission. He understood the Church’s true ecclesiology: the bishop rules his diocese and orders its life.He is accountable to the Metropolitan and his brother bishops of the Holy Synod, but they have as little right to interfere in his ‘sovereign diocese’ (a term he used in his publication The Dawn,for which he drew ridicule from some quarters) as he has to interfere in theirs.

He understood the proper function of the chancery office in New York to be the necessary support of the special office and functions of the metropolitan as primate and rejected the notion of a centralized national Church run from a distant headquarters, knowing from experience that the fruit-bearing life of the Church is found in the parish and the diocese and cannot be cultivated by central administrators.

When administrators from Syosset tried to usurp his authority, such as appealing directly to his parishes for money instead of going through him, he politely but firmly pushed back to protect his diocese. While he did not forbid us to take up the collections for the causes of the “national church,” he did not ask us to take them up—in fact, he never mentioned them at all.

He practiced what he preached and led by his example. He preached tithing, but he himself gave his ten percent and more. Far from the highest earner at the Cathedral in Dallas, he was most years among the top three givers. He put his money where his mouth was and stored up treasure inheaven, not on earth.

His “episcopal palace” was a two-story duplex badly in need of repair: he lived upstairs, and entertained downstairs. He drove a old brown bomb of a car from Detroit. When we started the mission in Denton at his direction, we had all of ten adults—including the priest and his wife—only four of whom were gainfully employed. Vladyka appointed me a stipend of $2000 a month, $833 to come from the diocese, $833 from the cathedral in Dallas, the rest from the mission.

He wrote the first check in full for me on his own personal account, demonstrating to the diocesan treasurer his commitment to support the new mission. This arrangement turned out to be an early step in developing the present innovative system of financing missions and parish improvements in the DOS.

Vladyka Dmitri inspired us with love for God, with love for the Church and her services, and with genuine love for him, though the last was not his intent. We trusted him implicitly, and he did not betray our trust. His example, his faith, his love, made us want to be better than we were.

He rarely issued commands, but his very presence and suggestion was more than command for most of us. We followed him out of love and trust, not out of fear, compulsion,or manipulation. He never had to remind anyone, “After all, I’m a bishop and you should respect me and obey me.”

He lived what he preached, and his very presence was a living inspiration. His visits to our parishes filled us with gladness and motivated us to keep doing the work of ministry. He never made demands for payment for those visits, though we gladly offered what honorarium we could.

We in the Diocese of the South have lost a great treasure, a true shepherd and father, and now we acutely sense more fully his value as we cope with a series of losses over the past three and a half years. We lost our auxiliary bishop who was to succeed Vladyka Dmitri in November 2008 to another diocese and to the primacy. We lost Vladyka as ruling bishop to retirement in February 2009, though he remained with us, and as a temporary consolation, we regained Metropolitan Jonah in the capacity of locum tenens. But our beloved locum tenens was then taken from us a second time in February 2011 and replaced.

We suffered loss again when Vladyka Dmitri departed this life on August 28,2011. We are still mourning these losses. But Vladyka Dmitri’s spirit still infuses us, his example remains before us, his faith still inspires us, and though he has gone on to inherit the heavenly treasure he so abundantly storedu p during his life, we have gained an intercessor there for us.

We trust God in His wisdom and might to sort out all that now ails us and to raise up the faithful bishop we need to be our father and shepherd here below.

Serving Matins this morning for the Leave taking of the Cross and the Feast of St. Dmitri of Rostov, I was struck by how many of the hymns sung of the great Russian bishop could justly be sung about our own Vladyka Dmitri. The words generated emotion that would make the words stick in my throat.

“From thy youth thou didst wholly take upon thyself the search for wisdom and the fear of God, which having found, thou didst not hide in the earth like the slothful servant; but teaching and laboring for Him who gave thee the talent,thou didst increase it a hundredfold, and be camest a great merchant, elucidating the Old and New Testaments, and disclosing the depths of the meaning of the divine written books: and thou hast taught us also to conducts uch goodly trade.”

And in the words of the canon, we may most fittingly say:“Even though thou hast passed from us to the heavens, O holy hierarch Dmitri, yet dost thou abide in spirit with those who call upon thee, teaching ands trengthening them, that they may tread the path of the saving commandments of God.”

By his prayers, may we ever faithfully tread that path.

Priest Justin FrederickSt. Maximus the Confessor, Denton, TX DOS OCA

About GShep


  1. Dmitri of Dallas, Archbishop & Wonderworker of the South – truly a Saint who walked among us…

    Pray for us who every remember thee…

  2. Very beautiful statement about a man who I am sure is a saint amongst the saints

  3. have we forgotten that diimitri, nathanael and nikon were knowing about the abuses happening at soyosset yet it was only job who spoke up while the unholy magi kept silent and failed to pony up to the bar – i am sorry but i saw dimitri inaction when he was bishop of boston and was not impressed – as people age and get infirm they become endeared yet we must also not forget the facts for we are all human with human frailities – and to be fair we must look at the total record and not that which we wish to perpeturate. based on the soyosset debacle nathanael, nikon and dimitry should have been retired and put out to pasture for by their action or inaction they did not have the good of the church as a priority yet they allowed job to take all of the heat,

    they were knowing and did not take the ethical high road, as such in my mind they relinquished their positions as bishops and needed to become layment again – just an opinion

    • George Michalopulos says

      Dmitri was not perfect but as a bishop, he was in what could only be called an untenable situtation as far as the Synod is concerned. These people were always laying in wait, ready to throw somebody out at the slightest provocation, while at the same time moving heaven and earth (under the direction of Kishkovsky to bring in questionable characters like Arb Seraphim Storheim, Bp Seraphim Sigrist, and Arb Lazar Puhalo.

      Dmitri did the prudential thing: he kept his head low while physically among his confreres and then went back to the South to the Lord’s work at the drop of the hat, where for some reason the Bohunk elite ignored him (probaby because they thought he was spinning his wheels there). Perhaps he could have and should have called them on the carpet but he kept his eye on the ball, which was the South.

      • Look what they did to His Beatitude and Fr. Zacchaeus in Russia, does anyone know is he still there in hiding? Who is next? Probably the DOS!

        I did not know the Archbishop, by he was my aunt’s bishop years ago in California, and she keeps his picture in her icon corner with a black ribbon on the frame. She says that he was going to be Metropolitan, but they Syosset people ruined it.

      • Roboacolyte says

        You are a questionable person.who are you anyway?

        • George Michalopulos says

          A sinner, indeed the chief of sinners. But one who is willing to sign his name to his opinions. Who are you?

          • M.Vasiliou says


            The interaction between Roboacolyte (RA) and you is really derailing this thread.
            Is it possible to ban this RA troll?

  4. Sdn Joseph Wynn says

    I’m not going to relay to you the circumstances of my day, on the evening I actually read this, but will only say that it was without doubt one of the most difficult days I have had in my 50 years. That said, I relayed to Fr. Justin how truly God loves us. In the wake of the day I had and only just ready for sleep, I read this in the email Fr. Justin sent me. By the time I finished, I was in tears.

    I’m sure that much of my tears was the simple release of the stress I had to deal with in that day, but a much deeper reason was also present. I began to think about Vladyka Dmitri. Thoughts about the DOS and everything that is here because of the efforts, work, and love of one man. Without Vladyka’s care and love, I ask you, what would we have in the south? Would there even be a DOS? Would there be a Cathedral? Would I even know my brothers and sisters? Would I even be Orthodox? Could I even begin to call myself a Christian? I can’t say for sure, but I can surely say that if not for Vladyka’s love for me I fear the answer I would have to give.

    No man of this world is perfect and Vladyka wasn’t perfect either, but he loved us all and he loved the south. I ask you, all of you (myself included) what are we doing right now and willing to do to protect the Fruits that through God and as a result of Vladyka’s efforts we are able to partake of and in today?

    I was one of the blessed that was able to be with Vladyka privately during the last months and days of his time here. I can tell you without a single ounce of reservation that Vladyka was sickened by everything that was happening at the Cathedral and in the south. And while he would quietly state, “I’m no longer the Bishop”, he was no less upset at what was going on.

    There were two very important things that Vladyka said to me in his last days…

    ONE, “You are ALL my children.”
    TWO, “If you are not willing to fight for what you have, you will lose it all.”

    I don’t think there is one among us that would argue that Vladyka treated us all as his children. So therefore, what are we willing to fight to have and keep? To simply say that Vladyka’s not here now so there’s no reason is wrong and I sincerely hope that isn’t the case.

    Me, I want +JONAH in the south where he belongs. I want to see Vladyka’s decision for +JONAH fulfilled. I want to see the good work of +DMITRI continued. I want to see the south continue to grow and prosper in God’s grace.

    If there are those among you who find my desires foolish, so be it…Let me stand foolishly in the shadow of Vladyka Dmitri’s work.

    The Lord Bless You,

    Sdn Joseph Wynn

  5. Thank you, Fr. Justin. Your reminiscences are beautifully presented, and of great value. I am particularly grateful to read this type of honor paid to our beloved Vladika, which is in stark contrast to the dishonoring drivel published earlier by a journalist. Thank you!

  6. This video has been making the rounds. While I understand it is controversial, and “goes against the grain” of a few people I love and respect, I believe it necessary to throw out there. This is the work of many individuals within the OCA, all of whom I love and respect as well. (If you feel compelled to bad-mouth me, the messenger, fine. My skin is unfortunately pretty thick. But know that I love the OCA, our church, our friends, and I think Jonah would make a great bishop in the Diocese of the South. Especially with the help of our laity, our clergy, our chancellor, and our council.)

    The information below is for your reference after you watch the video.

    Contact your bishops TODAY. By phone, email, and mail. And contact or cc: Metropolitan Hilarion. (See contact information below)

    Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk
    Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
    22 Danilovsky val.
    Danilov monastery DECR MP,
    115191 Moscow,

    The Right Reverend Alexander
    Bishop of of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese
    Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington
    7124 River Rd
    Bethesda, MD 20817

    Albanian Archdiocese
    The Most Reverend Nikon
    Archbishop of Boston, New England,
    and the Albanian Archdiocese
    Locum tenens of the Diocese of the South
    523 E. Broadway
    South Boston, MA 02127-4415

    Archdiocese of Canada
    The Right Reverend Irénée
    Bishop of Québec City
    Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canada
    31 LeBreton Street North
    Ottawa, ON
    K1R 7H1 CANADA

    Archdiocese of Western Pennsylvania
    The Right Reverend Melchisedek
    Bishop of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania
    PO Box 1769
    Cranberry Township, PA

    Bulgarian Diocese
    The Right Reverend Alexander
    Bishop of of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese
    Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington
    286 E Woodsdale Ave.
    Akron, OH 44301

    Diocese of Alaska
    The Most Reverend Benjamin
    Archbishop of San Francisco and the West
    Locum tenens of the Diocese of Alaska
    PO Box 210569
    Anchorage, AK 99521-0569

    Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania
    The Most Reverend Tikhon
    Archbishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania
    144 St. Tikhon’s Rd.
    Waymart, PA 18472

    Diocese of Mexico
    The Most Reverend Alejo
    Archbishop of Mexico City and Mexico
    Río Consulado e Irapuato
    Col. Peñón de los Baños
    15520 México D.F

    Diocese of New England
    The Most Reverend Nikon
    Archbishop of Boston, New England,
    and the Albanian Archdiocese
    Locum tenens of the Diocese of the South
    PO Box 149
    Southbridge, MA 01550

    Diocese of New York and New Jersey
    The Right Reverend Michael
    Bishop of New York
    and New York and New Jersey
    Administrator of the Orthodox Church in America
    33 Hewitt Avenue
    Bronxville, NY 10708
    Diocese of the Midwest
    [The Right Reverend Matthias
    Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest
    on Leave of Absence]

    V. Rev. John Zdinak
    927-933 N LaSalle Blvd
    Chicago, IL 60610
    Diocese of the South
    The Most Reverend Nikon
    Archbishop of Boston, New England,
    and the Albanian Archdiocese
    Locum tenens of the Diocese of the South
    PO Box 191109
    Dallas, TX 75219-1109

    Diocese of the West
    The Most Reverend Benjamin
    Archbishop of San Francisco and the West
    Locum tenens of the Diocese of Alaska
    1520 Green St
    San Francisco, CA 94123

    Romanian Episcopate
    The Most Reverend Nathaniel
    Archbishop of Detroit and the Romanian Episcopate
    Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See
    PO Box 309
    Grass Lake, MI 49240-0309

    Address letters: “Your Grace,”

    • I think well of Metropolitan Jonah. I do not, however, like that my son appears in one of the photos used for the video, without his express permission having been obtained. This courtesy toward any living person whose image is included should have been remembered and exercised by whoever made the video. Including his photograph implies a support which may, or may not, exist. (Does the video constructor know his thoughts?) Expressing his viewpoints concerning our chief hierarch is my son’s prerogative. I simply am speaking out against the manner in which this seems to have been done. As for my reaction to the merits of the video, in concept, I guess I am noncommital.

      • Antonia, people have a right to use photographs taken in public places without the subjects’ permission.

        If you object to the photograph’s use, contact the photographer and request he or she withdraw consent to use his or her photograph.

        • Lola J. Lee Beno says

          Antonia, Helga is quite right about photographs taken in public places. Churches are public places that generally are open to anybody and everybody. There are photos taken at St. Nicholas in which I show up, and some of these catch me at moments where I may not look very polished, but I can’t do anything about that.

          If, however, it was a picture in a private house, in a closed event and the picture was posted without me knowing, then I would have more of a cause to complain to the person posting my picture.

          • Dear Lola,

            Not everything that is legal is right. Please reread my posts to understand the “why” of my displeasure. Somehow you have missed the point.



            • Antonia, i did not see any pictures of children amongst those on the video. Did I miss something?
              I only saw adults. If one of them felt misused, I would expect to hear it from that person directly.
              Does he object?

      • Dear Antonia,
        We do not know each other, nor do I know you son, but if my beloved son were to appear in a photo with Metropolitan Jonah, I would be so overwhelmed with gratitude, I would be speechless with thanksgiving, praising God with my whole heart.
        Perhaps this can give you a slightly different perspective on the matter. Please pray for my son, David.
        is His love,

        • Dear Pelagia and Helga,

          Thank you for your replies. They were respectful, which I greatly appreciate!

          Pelagia, we are pleased to have more than one photograph among our family’s personal photograph collection which includes our son with Metropolitan Jonah. (As you request it, I shall be glad to pray for your son, David.)

          Helga, I seriously doubt that “fair use” with regard to photographs includes harvesting photographs from a parish website and inserting them into a political advertisement — (which the slideshow indisputably is) — without attempting to secure permission from the people so included. I wonder that you did not recognize this obvious problem. At any rate, one cannot approach a photographer who hides behind a made-up label. I think it likely that the compiler is a member of the Dallas cathedral.

          Regards to you both,

          In Christ,


          • pelagiaeast says

            Dear Antonia,
            Thank you for your prayers for my son. IF he were in a photo with Metropolitan Jonah, that would probably mean he had returned to his Christian roots and was Orthodox. In my heart and mind I hold a vision of him before icons with his hands upraised. May that someday be fulfilled.
            Give thanks for your son’s faith and involvement. May it be always so! May it fill your heart with joy.

    • Michael says:
      September 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      This video has been making the rounds. While I understand it is controversial, and “goes against the grain” of a few people I love and respect, I believe it necessary to throw out there. This is the work of many individuals within the OCA, all of whom I love and respect as well. (If you feel compelled to bad-mouth me, the messenger, fine. My skin is unfortunately pretty thick. But know that I love the OCA, our church, our friends, and I think Jonah would make a great bishop in the Diocese of the South. Especially with the help of our laity, our clergy, our chancellor, and our council.)

      I saw the video. Have you discussed the making of this video with the Metropolitan? Have you discussed the use of the music for the video with Apostolos Hill of the GOARCH?

      I think the Metropolitan should be restored to being Metropolitan of the OCA and however nice you think it was to have him for a short while on his road to Metropolitan as the Bp. of the South, he would have to approve the demotion.

      The information below is for your reference after you watch the video.

      Contact your bishops TODAY. By phone, email, and mail. And contact or cc: Metropolitan Hilarion. (See contact information below)

      Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk
      Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate
      22 Danilovsky val.
      Danilov monastery DECR MP,
      115191 Moscow,

      The Right Reverend Alexander
      Bishop of of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese
      Locum Tenens of the Archdiocese of Washington
      7124 River Rd
      Bethesda, MD 20817

      I shortened your list of things to do. First, although we are in close communion to the point where we can commune in each others’ churches, Metropolitan Hilarion is not the OCA head and we do not address him with OCA matters because we are an autocephalous church. In order to address him, we would have to wait until the OCA Synod of Bishops, at the Metropolitan’s request, released him after a resignation from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. to the ROCOR to allow his reassignment there, wait for his reassignment and then, and only then, address a different Metropolitan Hilarion because at that point the Metropolitan would no longer be in the OCA but rather would then be in the ROCOR. Then, we would address the Metropolitan of the ROCOR, and only copy the correspondence, should we wish to do so, to the bishop of the MP.

      The next on your list of contacts replicates an injustice done to our Metropolitan, to wit an addressing of the Bulgarian Archbishop of the OCA with the title locum tenens. I am sorry that you approve of this title, just as I am sorry that Bishop Alexander has not yet seen fit to address this title himself. He remains part of the silent approval of acts against our Metropolitan Jonah.

      To give tacit approval to these titles and to the Metropolitan’s deposition is to make a person complicit. Rather, we should be addressing these bishops, who have yet to be clear and transparent about the Metropolitan’s dismissal, by their previous titles, no locum tenenses or other false and temporary titles attached to anyone.

      • Lola,

        I whole-heartedly agree with your last point about titles and not giving them to persons that shouldn’t have them, however (and I may have misunderstood you) but we have been invited to let Met. Hilarion MP know our protest. He specifically said “he’s heard no protest from the laity”. So please write him! Let him hear us along with our Bishops. . . . Let them all hear our cry’s of protest!

    • Roboacolyte says


  7. Defend the Faith. says

    Fr. Justin,

    I can’t think of a better opportunity to contrast the sometimes exasperating patience and hope in love of the late Archbishop Dmitri with the current members of the OCA Synod who approved this:

    Again we pray You, O Lord our God, in Your holy and providential care for us, call forth for a Metropolitan of wisdom, understanding, sanctity to cooperate in working with the Holy Synod, the pastors and faithful of our Holy Church, so that together we may be that light on the lampstand and the salt of the earth working together in loving service to Christ our God and thus to one another, we pray You, hear us and have mercy.

    This “petition” foisted upon the OCA as an appropriate prayer to offer to Almighty God is so transparent in its continued abuse of the former Metropolitan and another example of how this Synod is an angry bitter group of men. I cannot imagine that His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri would approve of the petition in his diocese. No way. He would have instructed his clergy to not offer that petition. The fact that no other bishop on the Synod has done so leads me to conclude that this scared that somebody will wake up, maybe in Parma and call them to account.

    When the Gospel or the prayers of the Church are used as a weapon to injure and not heal, we have no obligation to follow such leadership or offer such prayers.

    The OCA Synod has again embarrassed and disappointed. REMOVE THAT PETITION.

    • I just read all 4 of the special petitions that have been
      “approved by the Holy Synod of Bishops and are to be included in the Litany of Fervent Supplication at all Divine Services, beginning immediately”
      as given at
      I don’t read in any one of those prayers even a hint of acknowledgement and repentance for the sins that have brought about the need for the coming special Electoral Council.

      • George Michalopulos says

        Nor will you PdnNJ. They don’t believe they’ve done anything wrong. This is a sympton of an institution which is in terminal decline. The person that wrote these petitions probably has no fear of God.

        • In my opinion, those petitions show a complete absence of “a humble and contrite heart,” the necessary and essential characteristics of any authentic Orthodox Christian prayer, whether ecclesial or personal, addressed to our All Holy God. And so, they should never have been approved by the Synod for inclusion in the divine services of our Church.

  8. A wonderful post, Fr. Justin. I pray and hope the next round of OCA bishops (if there is a next round) will be in the mold of Vladyka Dmitri, as bishops who concern themselves more with their own dioceses, and less with Machiavellian power plays on the national level. Lord, have mercy on the OCA.

  9. Brian (the first) says

    He practiced what he preached and led by his example….

    He rarely issued commands, but his very presence and suggestion was more than command for most of us. We followed him out of love and trust, not out of fear, compulsion,or manipulation. He never had to remind anyone, “After all, I’m a bishop and you should respect me and obey me.”

    This is true authority in the Church. How I wish I had known him!

  10. M. Stankovich says

    Mr. Michalopulos,

    At Vladyka Dmitri’s repose and now at the first anniversary of his repose, the thread is again hijacked by those misguided enough to imagine his memory is worth more in a sales pitch than a blessed recollection of his life and works.

    Michael, your skin is hardly thick enough to exonerate yourself with a truly pitiful, “Don’t blame the messenger.” You could have posted this crap anywhere and in any thread. But you deliberately chose to post it in what was purposely intended to be a memorial to a greatly missed and beloved Bishop of the Church. My letter to you and those people whom you love so dearly begins, “Dear self-serving jackasses.”

    Perhaps, Mr. Michalopulos, you would consider culling and segregating the true memoria from the two threads that at least are “titled” in Vladyka’s honor, and moderating them against the shameless. I would be happy to assist.

    • Stankovich, you do Vladyka Dmitri no honor with these bitter and insulting remarks directed at other people.

  11. Sdn Joseph Wynn says

    Perhaps it’s just me, I’m sometimes not the sharpest stick in the pile, and with that said…

    What is all the hostility toward the video and addresses, Hilarion included? I’m sorry, but am I missing something? This is suppose to be a “call to action” and instead there are some of you that want to focus on your personal concerns, or worse yet, your concerns for all of us.

    If you DON’T want +JONAH back (by back I mean to the DOS) then please do sit there to yourselves and do nothing and please don’t put down those of us who feel differently. I don’t care who’s in the photos or who’s a “jackass.” WHO CARES?! Such petty will do nothing.

    Hilarion’s contact info is included, as I understand it, because he stated that everyone must be okay with this situation as no one has complained. Let him hear out complaints about this situation, but please, I beg you, please knock off those things that have nothing to do with the intention of those who are simply trying to do something worthwhile.

    The Lord Bless You,

    Sdn Joseph