Sunday, August 28, 2011

In Memoriam: Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas

Retired Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) of Dallas of the American Orthodox Church (OCA) has fallen asleep in the Lord. Archbishop Dmitri, who was eighty-seven at the time of his repose, was born into a Baptist family in Texas, later converting to Orthodox Christianity as a teenager along with his sister and joining a parish under the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America.

After serving in the US Armed Forces the future archbishop went on to undertake undergraduate and graduate studies before returning to Dallas in 1954, where he worked to translate the divine services of the Byzantine Rite into Spanish for a Mexican Orthodox mission in the city under Bishop Bohdan of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Later that year he received Bishop Bohdan's blessing to found what became St. Seraphim's Cathedral as an English-language mission, being ordained by Bishop Bohdan that same year to the holy priesthood to serve the new mission.

In 1958 Fr. Dmitri and St. Seraphim's were received into the Russian Orthodox Metropolia of North America (now the OCA). In 1969 Fr. Dmitri was elected Bishop of Berkley and auxiliary of the Metropolia's Diocese of San Francisco, becoming the second convert to be consecrated to the episcopacy in North America. A year later he was elected Bishop of Washington and assigned as auxiliary to the First Hierarch of the OCA, Metropolitan Irenaeus (Bekish) of New York.

After serving in New England and as the OCA's exarch for the Mexican Orthodox missions under its care Bishop Dmitri was elected to the newly created Diocese of Dallas, where he served faithfully until 2009, being elevated to the rank of archbishop in 1993. Under Archbishop Dmitri's care the young diocese grew from a handful of communities to a flourishing diocese of over seventy parishes, missions, and monastic communities.

More on Archbishop Dmitri's life as well as information about the upcoming funeral services, which will be served by Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) of the OCA, can be found here. May his memory be eternal!

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