David Scott Klajic, USA, 2015 – Scott’s journey took him from Orthodoxy to the “Church of Christ”, to Presbyterianism, to Eastern (Byzantine) Catholicism, to Roman Catholicism right back into the arms of the Eastern Orthodox Church

https://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

http://romancatholicsmetorthodoxy.wordpress.com

http://americaofmyheart.wordpress.com

USA OF MY HEART

ROMAN CATHOLICS MET ORTHODOXY

AMERICA OF MY HEART

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Arkansas, USA

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From the “Church of Christ” to the Eastern Orthodox Church

by David Scott Klajic

Part 1-5

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.comHERE

Scott’s journey took him from Orthodoxy to the Church of Christ, to Presbyterianism, to Eastern (Byzantine) Catholicism, to Roman Catholicism right back into the arms of the Orthodox Church.

David Scott Klajic, USA:

In 2015, I “converted” to Orthodoxy, at 43 years old.

At the time, I had recently returned from my second deployment (I am an army officer) and had reached the final step in a journey that took, I guess, the entire previous 43 years. I was married, had 4 children, and a basically stable life. How did I get here?

Background

My father was a Yugoslavian national of Serbian descent who defected from the Tito regime in 1958. He was Serbian Orthodox, but by the time I was born, his association with the church was nominal at best. I never had the opportunity to speak with him about that, because he died before I started turning towards Orthodoxy. In fact, his death had quite a bit to do with it.

In the United States, he married another Serb, and they had 2 boys—my half-brothers. They eventually divorced and my father was then remarried to my mom, an Arkansas native. They were living in California at the time. My mother was raised in the distinctly American faith tradition known as the Church of Christ, which is an offshoot of the Continue reading “David Scott Klajic, USA, 2015 – Scott’s journey took him from Orthodoxy to the “Church of Christ”, to Presbyterianism, to Eastern (Byzantine) Catholicism, to Roman Catholicism right back into the arms of the Eastern Orthodox Church”

Link: Orthodox Arkansas, USA

http://linksjourney.wordpress.com

http://americaofmyheart.wordpress.com

https://usaofmyheart.wordpress.com

LINKS JOURNEY

AMERICA OF MY HEART

USA OF MY HEART

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http://www.orthodoxarkansas.com

Orthodox Arkansas

THE CHURCH NEVER APOSTATIZED – EXPLORER OF THE TRUTH, MANOLIS KALOMIRIS

http://orthodoxyislove.wordpress.com

ORTHODOXY IS LOVE

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The Church NEVER apostatized

Manolis Kalomiris

Republished from the magazine:

“Explorer of the Truth”

Edition Νο. 30.

http://ex2x2lettersfromgreece.wordpress.com

EX 2×2 LETTERS

 Protestant assertions

We shall present some of the assertions of these religious groups:  “The devil began to introduce dogmatic changes, as of Emperor Constantine’s time, deceiving quite a few of the bishops… So, they developed a different theology to that of the Bible, because they embraced too much of Plato’s philosophy…. Eventually, a complete deterioration set in…  With the passing years and centuries, historical Christianity became a religion that had completely distanced itself from the apostolic simplicity and spirituality, so that today, it appears entirely mutated…. During the fifth century, Christianity appeared to have conquered idolatry, however, idolatry had already corrupted Christianity.” (Evangelical magazine RESEARCH AND FAITH, March-April 1992, page 8)

“However, after the demise of the Apostles, a gradual change came over the Church. During the 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries, many in the Church distorted and even rejected the truths that Christ and the Apostles had taught. (Adventist magazine “HERALD”, July-September 2004, page 19)

“Because the Church, with its careless stance, altered its God-founded constitution, thus upsetting everything.”  (The book “THE REVERSALS OF RELIGION” by S. Charalambakis, page 26) This same author asserts that the church that “the Disciples of the Divine Savior delivered to us, was preserved to the 3rd century”, hence, he proposes, “this is the Church that we must return to: the roots” (RETURN TO THE GENUINE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ROOTS, page 9). In another of his texts, he maintains that the apostasy took place later on:  “Based on biblical and historical facts, we know that the Church retained its Apostolic guidelines up to about 500 A.D.”  (pamphlet “THE ORTHODOX CHURCH AND ITS HISTORY”)

As we can see, there is no agreement as to when the Church apostatized; others place it in the 2nd century, others in the 3rd and others in the 4th or 5th.  So, where is the truth?  Did the Church of Christ really fall into apostasy?  What does the Holy Bible teach on this matter?  If apostasy did occur, when did it occur historically and which teachings did it affect?

One, huge contradiction

If however, the Ancient Church did not remain within the truth – as various protestant groups and heresies maintain – then they have a serious problem.  They place themselves in the predicament of acknowledging the authority of an apostate Church that ruled on the Canon of the New Testament!  How can they trust the Canon of the 27 books of the New Testament, if it was composed by alleged apostates of the truth?  How can they be certain that those involved had made the correct choice as to which books are divinely inspired or not, if they had apostatized from the divine truth?  If the Church had apostatized, how can they be sure that those people hadn’t chosen the books that were considered expedient and rejected those that weren’t to their advantage?  If, on the other hand, they trust the Canon of the New Testament, then they –unwittingly- also trust the Church that created that Canon!

The oldest, complete catalogue of the 27 books of the New Testament did not exist until 367 A.D., when Athanasios the Great wrote his 39th commemorative epistle[1]!!  The Canon that we have, was finalized in 397 A.D., in the Council (Synod) of Carthage.  At least that Church – which gave us the Canon for the New Testament – was surely “a pillar and foundation of the truth” (Timothy I, 3:15).  If the Church had indeed preserved apostolic tradition, then it certainly was capable of deciding on the Canon of valid books for the New Testament; if, however, it had become corrupt and apostate, it would obviously not have preserved apostolic tradition and subsequently any decision that it may have reached for this Canon would have been erroneous!  To quote the Holy Bible: “Who can extract the clean from the unclean? No-one” (Job, 14:4 – Vamvas Translation). But, if we accept that apostolic tradition was properly preserved by that Church, qualifying it to decide on the Canon, then it could not have been in apostasy!

Consequently, those who maintain that the Church had apostatized, have only two choices:

  • Either to reject the Canon on the 27 books of the New Testament ruled by that “apostate” Church and commence their own councils (synods) and discussions in order to instate a new Canon for the New Testament, or:
  • Admit that they have made a mistake and that the Canon on the New Testament that they acknowledge could not have been created by an “apostate” Church.

[1] The Emergence of the New Testament Canon- Daniel Lieuwen

Objections with ‘evidential’ verses

Various Protestants invoke certain passages, in order to support the alleged apostasy of the Church.  They assert that what the Apostle Paul prophesied in his Epistle I to Timothy has been fulfilled, i.e., ‘in later times, some will apostatize from the Faith, paying attention to spirits of deception and to demonic teachings etc.’.[2]. But this passage of Timothy I, 4:1 doesn’t imply that the entire Church was supposedly going to apostatize. The verse clearly says that ‘…….. some will apostatize from the Faith….’, not the entire Church!  The Holy Bible speaks of those who will apostatize, in other verses also:  “…. With faith and an innocent conscience, which some – after discarding it – became shipwrecked in their faith” (Timothy I, 1:19); “which some, in professing it, strayed from the faith” (Timothy I, 6:21).  Furthermore, in Acts 20:28-30, there is no inference that the entire Church is going to apostatize; it only says that “some men will appear, who will teach the truth falsified” (Evangelic translation “Logos”).

The Holy Bible says: “They came forth from among you, but they weren’t one of your kind; for if they were one of your kind, they would have stayed with you. But they came forth so that it might be revealed, that not all of them are one of your kind.” (John I, 2:19).  It is obvious that this verse proves that those individuals who apostatize from the true faith DO NOT remain in the Church, but move out of it, thus allowing the Church to preserve its dogmatic teaching unadulterated!

[2] From letter of some reader of Researcher

The Church cannot apostatize!

According to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church cannot apostatize: “… the portals of the underworld shall not overpower her (the Church)”  (Matthew, 16:18). The Holy Bible also clearly states that the truth shall remain in the Church forever: “…for the truth, which resides in you, and shall be with you for all time” (John II, 2); just as Jesus Christ Himself likewise promises that He shall continuously be with the Church, from the 1st century to the end of time, unfailingly: “I am with you, for all days, until the end of time” (Matthew, 28:80). The Holy Spirit also eternally resides in the Church, continuously, from the 1st century: “And I shall ask the Father, and He shall send you another Paraclete, to remain with you to the end of time” (John 14:16).

Therefore, the Church cannot ever apostatize, because Christ – the head of the Church – remains forever joined to His Body, just as the Holy Spirit remains continuously within it, to guide it throughout the truth (John 14:26), hence the truth must also perpetually reside within the Church!  If the Church had indeed apostatized, as various teachers of deception claim, it would mean that Christ had given false promises, which He didn’t keep!  But, isn’t that a blasphemous conjecture?

However, some protestants maintain that those promises do apply, but not to the visible Church, only the invisible one!  But the Holy Bible doesn’t say that the Church founded by Christ was an invisible one! Quite the opposite, it very clearly talks about a visible Church: “ ….and if someone disobeys them, tell this to the Church; but, if he disobeys the Church also, then you should treat him as a gentile and a tax-collector” (Matthew 18:17).  If the Church is invisible, then how does someone speak to the Church, and how does an…. invisible Church reprimand the one who has sinned?

“For I am the least of the apostles, who is unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God” (Corinthians I, 15:9).  If the Church were invisible, then how did Paul manage to persecute it?

“For if one does not know how to govern his own home, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (Timothy I, 3:5).  How does a bishop take care of an ….. invisible Church?”

These are just a few of the verses that prove that the Church founded by Christ is definitely visible, and not invisible. Consequently, in this visible Church, the promises that it cannot apostatize hold true, and the truth, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will remain inside it eternally!

An amazing admission by a Bible scholar

The biblical theologian Rick Wade mentions in his article “Scripture and Tradition in the Early Church” (www.probe.org/docs/tradition.html) that occasionally, someone will find references to the idea of a “decline” of the Church after the conversion of the emperor Constantine during the 4th century. Some believe that under Constantine, the Church began to slip, into a state religion that became corrupted by power and riches…. This threw a heavy cloak over the whole of ecclesiastic history, up to the era of Reform. Tradition was considered to be an element of a corrupt and institutionalized church. While it is true that the newly-acquired freedom that the Church enjoyed under Constantine had its negative points, it doesn’t mean that the Church “declined” as some say. During all of its history, the Church may have made mistakes in its dealings with secular society and its during its discovering how to appropriately handle the freedom and power that it had acquired, but, the idea that the Church rapidly became corrupt and that the councils (synods) that were convened during his reign were merely the emperor’s pawns, is too naïve a notion.  The Church continued to be faithful to its duty of clarifying and spreading the apostolic tradition. “The faith that was confessed and practiced by the ancient churches was not defined by the political intrigues of emperors and the hierarchies of the prelates” Williams said.[3].

“The essential form and structure of the Christian identity was something that the fourth century inherited and continued to expand, through biblical explanation and the liturgical life as expressed in the tradition of the Symbols of the Faith.”

Let’s take a look at what ensued after Constantine’s reign. Williams says: “…The theology that developed after Constantine did not reflect a radically subversive shift in the Holy Bible and apostolic tradition. On the contrary, the most important Symbols of the Faith (Creed) and official dogmatic discussions were the conscious expansion of a precedent Tradition and teaching of the New Testament, in an attempt to formulate the Christian understanding of God and salvation in the light of new challenges. The reason this is important for our study, is that some have allowed this idea (of the Church’s decline towards the end of the Patristic period) to influence them to the point of rejecting the whole of that period. This is wrong.  There was good and there was bad for the Church under Constantine’s reign. Nevertheless, the Church continued to develop itself in its understanding of the apostolic Tradition. We should not ignore the ancient church because of unfortunate setbacks.”

[3] D.H.Williams, Retrieving the Tradition, and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants (Eerdmans, 1999).

Is a political power’s favor, proof of apostasy?

Most Greek (*) Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons etc. believe that the Church apostatized because Constantine the Great ended the persecutions and swayed the Empire’s favor towards Christians. But does the Holy Bible agree with this?

Let’s take a look at the Persian Emperor Cyrus as an example. The Holy Bible says that God spurred Cyrus’ heart (an idolatrous king!) into rebuilding the destroyed temple of God in Jerusalem, and to even return the sacred vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had stolen from it (Ezra, chapter 1). Was the favor of the idolatrous king towards the Judeans (especially his initiative to rebuild the Temple of God) proof that Israel had apostatized from the truth at the time? The Holy Bible replies with a resounding NO, because God stated the following about the idolatrous king Cyrus:  “He is my shepherd, and he will perform all my errands; and I say unto Jerusalem: “You shall be rebuilt” and to the temple: “your foundations shall be planted” (Isaiah 44:28, Translation “PERGAMOS”). So, the Holy Bible clearly indicates that God can use even worldly potentates in order for His will to be done (Proverbs 21:1).  The same happened with Constantine the Great: God swayed the favor of the idolatrous Emperor to the benefit of the Christians, using him as His instrument in order to terminate the state’s persecutions of the Church and allow the unhindered spreading of the Gospel throughout the Empire.

Consequently, the assertion of many contemporary movements that the Church apostatized opposes the Holy Bible as well as common logic, because if their assertion is accepted, then the Canon of the New Testament that they hold in their hands loses its validity!  In closing, we submit something that the familiar Protestant Hank Hanegraaf said to the Mormons (although the same applies to every religious group that stresses the same argument: “In reply to this teaching (of the church’s apostasy), we should ask the Mormons exactly how would the Church be able to praise God ‘in every generation, for ever and ever’, if – as the Apostle Paul clearly wrote in Ephesians 3:21- it had declined into complete apostasy?” (www.equip.org/free/CP0306.htm).

(*). The original article was written in Greek.

Text: Manolis Kalomiris

Magazine: “Explorer of the Truth” Edition Νο. 30.

Source:

Manolis Kalomiris

http://www.diakrisis.gr/index.php?lng=gr

Diakrisis – Explorer of the Truth

DALLAS HAS A SAINT: ARCHBISHOP DMITRI ROYSTER OF TEXAS & SOUTH USA (+2011)

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USA OF MY HEART

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Texas, USA

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A Saint of our days:

Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas & South USA

August 28, +2011

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Diocese of Dallas & the South:

Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida,

South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico,

Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas & Virginia

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Above is an image taken today of the incorrupt body of Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas. He died in the summer of 2011, and was buried unembalmed, according to Orthodox tradition. On Friday his body was disinterred for transferral to his new tomb in St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas, which was his own. When the cemetery personnel opened his coffin, they found Vladyka Dmitri incorrupt.

That is to say, his body had not decayed. He has been buried for four and a half years under the Texas ground, and his body looks like it did the day he died.

This is a miracle. In Orthodox Christianity, it is seen as a sign that the deceased was, and is, a saint. If you read The Brothers Karamazov, you may remember that whether or not the deceased Elder Zosima was incorruptible was a feature of the narrative.

In Dallas today, they found their incorruptible. I don’t suppose a soul who knew Vladyka Dmitri is surprised. I knew him in the last five years of his life. What a dear and holy man he was. He had an important part in my own coming to Orthodoxy. In the summer of 2005, broken and grieving over years of scandal and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church, my wife and I began attending St. Seraphim Cathedral. We did not intend to convert to Orthodoxy; we simply wanted to be in a place where we could be confident the real presence of Christ was in the Eucharist (Roman Catholic doctrine recognizes the validity of Orthodox sacraments), the liturgy was reverent and beautiful, and we could worship without being so overwhelmed by anger.

After a couple of visits, we received an invitation to a party at the Archbishop’s house, after the Dormition feast. I felt divided about this. For one, I didn’t want to go to a fancy archbishop’s house. For another, I had had enough of bishops and archbishops, men who had wrecked the Roman Catholic Church. I didn’t want to get mixed up with an Orthodox one.

But we went anyway, showing up on a rainy August afternoon at the address on the card. It turned out to be not a palatial residence, but the modest two-story woodframe house behind the cathedral. Could this house, with the paint peeling, really be where the Archbishop of Dallas and the South lives? I knocked on the door, and in we walked, with our kids.

The house was jammed with people from the congregation. There were Russians and other Slavs, and Americans too. You could hardly move for all the people. Every inch of counter space in the kitchen was filled with dishes bearing up Russian food. At the far end of one counter was a gorgeous flan, made by Vladyka Dmitri himself. He loved to cook.

There he was, sitting at the table, his long, Gandalf beard resting on his black cassock. His eyes twinkled. He greeted us kindly. Later, we watched him remove himself to a side room where kids were playing, sit down on a low couch, and talk to them like they were his own children. He was 82 years old then, and was to those children a kindly grandfather figure.

“Come see this,” Julie said, pointing to Dmitri among the children. That’s not something we were used to seeing.

A short while later, in the kitchen, a Russian and a Ukrainian poured vodka shots for themselves and for me, and raised a toast to the Archbishop. “To Vladyka!” we said, then downed the vodka. Meanwhile, the ceiling began to leak in the poor old house. We chose to ignore it, because it was time to bless the food. Everybody became quiet as Vladyka turned toward the icon and began to pray.

It was a family dinner. That’s how it struck us. Archbishop Dmitri, born Robert Royster in Teague, Texas, was the opposite of everything I had come to expect in a bishop. He was humble and kind and gentle. He loved his people, and his people loved him. I remember thinking how good it would be to be led by such a man.

One day a few years later, after had become Orthodox, we were at Forgiveness Vespers, the pre-Lenten ritual that all Orthodox parishes do in which each parishioner must ask each other for forgiveness, and then offer it in return. Watching that tall, elderly archbishop bow before our three year old daughter Nora and ask her forgiveness — it took my breath away.

Nora did not know it at the time, but it was a saint of God who did her that honor.

Here’s what will happen today in Dallas:

On Saturday morning, March 5th, 2016 His Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON, will preside at the Divine Liturgy in St Seraphim Cathedral at 9:30 AM. Following the Divine Liturgy a Pannikhida will be served, after which we will solemnly process around the cathedral carrying the coffin of Archbishop Dmitri and place it over the prepared crypt in the Memorial Chapel. After the final litany, we will lower the coffin containing the body of Archbishop Dmitri into his final earthly resting place.

Holy Dmitri of Dallas, pray for us. I am sure that official canonization procedureswill soon be underway. What a blessing he was to all of us who knew him.

A saint. Our Vladyka. What a gift.

Rod Dreher

The American Conservative

05 / 03 / 2016

Source:

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/91243.htm

ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY

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A Saint of our days: Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas & South USA (+2011)

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FROM TEXAS BAPTIST TO ORTHODOX SAINT? – BY TERRY MATTINGLY

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USA OF MY HEART

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Texas, USA

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A Saint of our days:

Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas & South USA

August 28, +2011

╰⊰¸¸.•¨*

Diocese of Dallas & the South:

Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida,

South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico,

Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas & Virginia

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The incorrupt body of Archbishop Dmitri Royster of Dallas

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From Texas Baptist to Orthodox Saint?

by Terry Mattingly

Source:

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2011/08/from-texas-baptist-to-orthodox-saint/

JOURNEY TO ORTHODOXY

Wherever bishops travel, churches plan lavish banquets and other solemn tributes to honor their hierarchs.

Visitations by Archbishop Dmitri Royster of the Orthodox Church in America were different, since the faithful in the 14-state Diocese of the South knew that one memorable event would take care of itself. All they had to do was take their leader to a children’s Sunday-school class and let him answer questions.

During a 1999 visit to Knoxville, Tenn., the lanky Texan folded down onto a kid-sized chair and faced a circle of preschool and elementary children. With his long white hair and flowing white beard, he resembled an icon of St. Nicholas — as in St. Nicholas, the monk and fourth-century bishop of Myra.

As snacks were served, a child asked if Dmitri liked his doughnuts plain or with sprinkles. With a straight face, the scholarly archbishop explained that he had theological reasons — based on centuries of church tradition — for preferring doughnuts with icing and sprinkles.

A parent in the back of the room whispered:

“Here we go.”

Some of the children giggled, amused at the sight of the bemused bishop holding up a colorful pastry as if he were performing a ritual.

“In Orthodoxy, there are seasons in which we fast from many of the foods we love,” he said. “When we fast, we should fast. But when we feast, we should truly feast and be thankful.”

Thus, he reasoned, with a smile, that doughnuts with sprinkles and icing were “more Orthodox” than plain doughnuts.

Dmitri made that Knoxville trip to ordain yet another priest in his diocese, which grew from a dozen parishes to 70 during his three decades. The 87-year-old missionary died last Sunday (Aug. 28) in Dallas, in his simple bungalow — complete with leaky kitchen roof — next to Saint Seraphim Cathedral, the parish he founded in 1954.

Parishioners were worried the upstairs floor might buckle under the weight of those praying around his deathbed.

The future archbishop was raised Southern Baptist in the town of Teague, Texas, before moving to Dallas. As teens, Royster and his sister became intrigued with the history of the major Christian holidays and began visiting a variety of churches, including an Orthodox parish. The services were completely in Greek, but they joined anyway — decades before evangelical-to-Orthodox conversions became common.

During World War II, the young Texan learned Japanese in order to interrogate prisoners of war, while serving on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff. A gifted linguist, he later taught Greek and Spanish classes on the campus of Southern Methodist University. While training to serve in the OCA, which has Russian roots, he learned Old Russian and some modern Russian.

Early in his priesthood, the Dallas parish was so small that Dmitri helped his sister operate a restaurant to support the ministry, thus becoming a skilled chef who was become famous for his hospitality and love of cooking for his flocks. During his years as a missionary bishop, driving back and forth from Dallas to Miami, monks in New Orleans saved him packages of his favorite chicory coffee and Hispanic parishioners offered bottles of homemade hot sauce, which he stashed in special compartments in his Byzantine mitre’s traveling case.

A pivotal moment in his career came just before the creation of the Diocese of the South. In 1970, then-Bishop Dmitri was elected — in a landslide — as the OCA metropolitan, to lead the national hierarchy in Syosset, N.Y. But the ethnic Slavic core in the synod of bishops ignored the clergy vote and appointed one of its own.

Decades later, the Orthodox theologian Father Thomas Hopko described the impact of that election this way:

“One could have gone to Syosset and become a metropolitan, or go to Dallas and become a saint.”

The priest ordained in Tennessee on that Sunday back in 1999 shared this judgment, when reacting to the death of “Vladika” (in English, “master”) Dmitri.

“There are a number of saints within Orthodox history who are given the title ‘Equal to the Apostles,’ ” noted Father J. Stephen Freeman of Oak Ridge. “I cannot rush beyond the church and declare a saint where the church has not done so, but I can think of no better description of the life and ministry of Vladika Dmitri here in the South than ‘Equal to the Apostles.’ “

(Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Contact him at tmattingly(at)cccu.org or http://www.tmatt.net.)

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CHURCHES IN NORTH AMERICA – FIND THE PARISH NEAREST YOU

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USA & CANADA OF MY HEART

AMERICA OF MY HEART

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http://oca.org/directories/na-churches

Churches in North America – Find the parish nearest you

Canonical Orthodox jurisdictions represented in North America

Eastern Orthodox Church

LINK: ASSEMBLY OF CANONICAL ORTHODOX BISHOPS OF THE USA

photography - 1http://www.assemblyofbishops.org

Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the USA