Dmitri Royster

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Archbishop Dmitri

Archbishop Dmitri (November 2, 1923 – August 28, 2011) was a hierarch of the Orthodox Church in America. He served as archbishop of the church's Diocese of the South from 1978 to 2009 and was the ruling bishop of the Mexican Exarchate from 1972 to 2008. The territory of the diocese covered fourteen states in the United StatesAlabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

Birth[edit]

Archbishop Dmitri was born as Robert Royster in Teague, Texas on November 2, 1923 and was raised as a Southern Baptist, converting to Orthodoxy in 1941.

Priesthood and episcopacy[edit]

He entered North Texas State University but left in 1943 to join the Army. While in the Army he served as a Japanese language interpreter on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippines and Japan.

After leaving the Army he resumed his studies, eventually becoming a Spanish language instructor at Southern Methodist University. He received his Master of Arts in Spanish and became a Spanish literature professor.[1]

In 1954, Royster was ordained to the priesthood, and served as the rector of St. Seraphim Orthodox Church in Dallas from then until 1969.[1] On June 29, 1969, he was consecrated as Bishop of Berkeley, vicar of the Diocese of San Francisco and the West. In 1970, Bishop Dmitri was assigned as Bishop of Washington, auxiliary bishop to Metropolitan Irenaeus (Bekish). On October 19, 1971, Bishop Dmitri was elected Bishop of Hartford and New England.

In 1978, Bishop Dmitri became the first ruling bishop of the newly created Diocese of the South.

He was elevated to the rank of archbishop in 1993.

Being a senior bishop in his church, Dmitri was the locum tenens of the Metropolitan's see and temporary head of the OCA from September 4, 2008 until the election of a new primate, Metropolitan Jonah on November 12, 2008.

On March 31, 2009 the then 85-year old archbishop was granted retirement from active pastoral duties by the Holy Synod of the OCA.

Death[edit]

Archbishop Dmitri died in Dallas on August 28, 2011, on the Julian calendar feast of the Dormition, which was his favorite feast day.

Bibliography[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Preceded by
Diocese created
Archbishop of Dallas and the South
1978–2009
Succeeded by
Metropolitan Jonah as locum tenens
Preceded by
Exarchate created
Exarch of Mexico
1972–2008
Succeeded by
Exarchate Elevated to Diocese under Bishop Alejo (Pacheco y Vera)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Archbishop to visit St. Anne Orthodox Church". The Oak Ridger. Retrieved 2006-12-28. [dead link]