http://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2011/08/31/death_of_the_richest_man_in_dallas.htmlDeath of the Richest Man in Dallas
28 August 2011
By Rod Dreher
We stood at the parsonage door in the rain, worrying that we were at the wrong place -- could this ramshackle house in Oak Lawn really be where the archbishop lives? -- and that we were underdressed for the dinner to which we had been invited.
We had seen Archbishop Dmitri in his church, St. Seraphim's Orthodox Cathedral, on the Sunday we visited, and found the very sight of him -- tall, gaunt, his long white beard resting against his black cassock -- thoroughly impressive, but thoroughly intimidating.
The man looked like an Old Testament prophet. Julie and I didn't dare turn his invitation down.
We knocked. Someone opened the door. The house was jammed with people, food, and conversation. Everyone was there to celebrate the Orthodox Feast of the Dormition, which Julie and I as Catholics knew as the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Seated there in the middle of the scrum was the austere archbishop, laughing and chattering, the happy genius of his household.
We didn't know it then, but Dmitri's party would change our lives. The old man died last weekend in that same house, surrounded by many of the Orthodox Christians we first met on that rainy August evening.
For example, that house. It was a dump. The kitchen roof was leaking. This is how an archbishop lives? Well, yes, it's how this archbishop lived. He cared nothing for comfort. He never forgot that he was a monk first. Vladyka gave his money to his cathedral, to evangelism, to the missions, to the poor.
The day of Vladyka's passing, the Orthodox blogger and Dmitri friend George Michalopoulus wrote that a Greek archbishop once told him after Vladyka's retirement service that the holiness of +Dmitri, and the rarity of such a bishop in the Church, makes the sad divisions among the American Orthodox seem like nothing.
"He was right," Michalopoulus wrote. "In the grand scheme of things, we either know saints, or we don't. Tears were running down both our faces."
I think we knew a saint.
Robert Dmitri Royster left this life in the upper room of a dilapidated cottage, one so frail the faithful worried that the ceiling would collapse from the weight of those praying at his bedside. His razor-sharp mind had been scattered by old age. His once-strong body had been stripped by mortality of all dignity. The elder had barely a penny to his name, having given it all to the service of the Lord and His people. But I believe he died the richest man in Dallas. Blessed are his spiritual children in their inheritance.