The news of the retirement of our precious Archbishop Dmitri, is bittersweet for me. I, like so many, have such wonderful memories of my time with Vladyka.
When I was becoming Orthodox and had read enough that I wanted to visit an Orthodox Church, I called my friend Timothy in California to ask which one I should visit. He said, that I should visit them all to experience how each jurisdiction (Greek, Antiochian, OCA, ROCOR, etc.) worships, but there would be only only one place I should settle, and that is at the feet of Archbishop Dmitri. He continued to say that he had never met him, but had heard nothing but great things about him. He was, and still is, right.
When I became Orthodox, Vladyka Dmitri catechized me. At the time, I had no idea what a blessing I was receiving. When I was received into the church, both he and Fr. John baptized and chrismated me. When my father was gravely ill in the hospital and had no desire to meet with anyone "spiritual", Vladyka went and ministered to my father. When Fr. Justin and I were courting, Vladyka and I had many conversations about "this man" and didn't give his blessing for our marriage until he had met and spoke with Fr. Justin-several times. When Fr. Justin and I decided to get married, he was unable to attend our wedding due to travel. He did, however, insist on betrothing us early so that he could be a part of our wedding. He baptized two of our three children.
He has been an important part of everything I live for. He has helped me make the most important decisions in my life. I am so thankful.
I am only one of so many who has been, and will continue to be, touched by this humble servant of our Lord. May God grant him many, many more years of good health and a peaceful retirement.