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PHOTOS: Personal Testimony to Archbishop Dimitri's Incorrupt Relics

Source: Facebook

March 7, 2016

Vladika's hands five days after his departure in 2011. There was 105F outside - normal Texas summer. His body was not embalmed. Vladika's hands five days after his departure in 2011. There was 105F outside - normal Texas summer. His body was not embalmed.

Vladimir Grigorenko was the iconographer of St. Seraphim's Orthodox cathedral in Dallas and a close friend of Archbishop Dimitri's. He was present both at his funeral and the five days until his burial, and at his exhumation and reinterment on Friday.

* * *

Yesterday we put Archbishop Dmitri in his final resting place in St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas.

I was blessed to be a part of a team, which uncovered Vladika’s earthly remains and transferred them into new coffin to be buried in the crypt of the Resurrection Chapel and probably should offer some comments about these events.

It was Archbishop Dmitri wish and our deep desire that he would be buried on the premises of St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas. We started to plan that next morning after his departure in August 2011.

The Cross on Vladika's grave at Restland. We used to celebrate Liturgy over his grave at Radonitsa and on his birthday. During the last few months several gravestones appeared around his grave, making this quite difficult. The Cross on Vladika's grave at Restland. We used to celebrate Liturgy over his grave at Radonitsa and on his birthday. During the last few months several gravestones appeared around his grave, making this quite difficult.

Unfortunately, we had not enough time to satisfy all the requirements of the city code, which is why the parish decided to bury our beloved pastor at the Restland Cemetery, on the plot owned by the cathedral. The idea was that we would bring his earthly remains to cathedral as soon as a proper burial place would be built.

Due to lack of space under the cathedral's foundation, we had to build a memorial chapel adjusted to the cathedral with an underground burial chamber in it. This building process, together with filing all the necessary paperwork and acquiring all the permits, took us a little over four years. We scheduled Vladika’s re-internment for the closest available date.

In accordance with federal law as it had been presented to us by the Restland Cemetery Funeral Director, in order to be moved to the new place, the body of the deceased person has to be transferred to a new sealed coffin by Cemetery employees, who will deliver the body to the Church site.

I personally negotiated with the Funeral Director that Church representatives must be allowed to oversee this transition. I have to admit, during this negotiation the Funeral Director (with 25 years of experience) explained to us in details what horrific picture we would see if we chose to be present.

Several people, clergy and laity from different parishes throughout the diocese, including myself, were chosen to participate. Dr. Ron Rodriguez, MD, Vladika’s primary physician, was one of them.

In the early morning of March 4, when Restland employees opened the concrete vault that contained Vladika’s wooden coffin, I was ready to see all these horrible things I was told about.

To our amazement, Vladika’s coffin was found intact amidst the wet atmosphere of the sealed vault and was easily opened.

The Funeral Director, who was present there in a complete haz-mat mask, stated that she had never seen a non-embalmed body in such a condition after 5 years in the grave, and that she believes it is a miracle.

From that moment on, Restland employees stepped aside and allowed us to do everything we needed.

Vladika's body was found incorrupt and covered with several layers of soaking wet vestments. I will not go into much detail here - you can tell a lot from the few pictures attached.

His skin was dry but covered with condensed water, his pectoral cross and Panagia are tarnished, and the enamel images are peeling off and destroyed by harsh conditions.

Since we were obliged to transfer the archbishop to a new coffin and the condition of his body allowed it, it was decided on the spot to remove the old vestments and to cover him with a new set. It was done with great reverence, and without any damage to the body.

Vladika Dmitri's new coffin was then sealed and transferred to St. Seraphim Cathedral, where a memorial service was served by the OCA's Metropolitan Tikhon and Bishop Alejo of Mexico, with over 20 priests and a few hundred lay people from all around the USA and Mexico.

The next day, after the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Archbishop Dmitri's relics were placed for eternal rest in a closed underground chamber in the Resurrection Chapel of St. Seraphim's Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas.

A few personal notes:

Obviously, I was glad to see Vladika's body incorrupt, but had it been otherwise, it would not affect my opinion about his sanctity at all.

The body of St. Seraphim of Sarov, the patron of our cathedral, was corrupted, but it does not change the fact that he is one of the most beloved saints around the world.

We all know that an incorrupt body alone is not a reason for glorification.

Having known Vladika for 11 years and seeing the fruits of his life in the Lord, I am personally convinced that he is a saint. I believe that there are many more people all over the country who share that conviction.

No decision of any group of people, respected (or not) would be able to change that. If his body will corrupt in two, 20 or 200 years (as some may wish), or will start to stream myrrh (as others may desire), my opinion will not change.

No one can stop me or anyone else from addressing Vladika Dmitri in prayer, and feeling his response and intercession; the same as many others all around the US feel his love and help.

All the pictures I took during the transfer of Archbishop Dmitri's body will be forwarded to the proper Church authorities together with my written statement for consideration.

Vladimir Grigorenko
Edited by OrthoChristian.com

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07 / 03 / 2016

See also:
2017-03-14
06:45
Karen:
Brooks, I encourage you to research online what the normal corruption process is for an unenbalmed body in normal burial conditions. It's not hard to find this information online. Basically, there is typically nothing left at the end of the first year but bones. I don't know what your belief system is, but I believe there is no natural explanation for how Bp. Dimitri's body is this unchanged from the time he was buried five years previous to this. I have been deeply encouraged by his life story and the testimony of those who knew him, and, yes, I believe he is a Saint because of how his life so obviously for those who knew him best and even for many of us who only knew him by reputation shone forth Christ.
2016-03-22
13:44
Thomas:
Technically Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim Rose of Platina was born in America and he died before Archbishop Dmitri. So he would be the first American born Saint. His relics are incorrupt too.

Archbishop Dmitri Royster nd Blessed Seraphim of Platina pray to God for us!
2016-03-10
09:59
Editor:
Anastasia--An answer from Vladimir Grigorenko: "Well, we expected that his vestments would be ruined so was asked to pick up another set just in case we would need to re-vest him. In fact, the Archbishop had just a few sets of different colors - one for every liturgical color. Since the gold-and-white set he liked the most had been used (and destroyed), we needed to change the color. I picked up the red set because it is the color of Resurrection, an he used it for Pascha. That was the main reason for it. Besides, it has matching Miter, which was hand-made for his Episcopal ordination."
2016-03-10
00:54
another Orthodox:
to Anastasia,

Vladika Dmitri was buried in 2011 in gold vestments. When his body was transferred to the new casket,( a requirement of the authorities for interring him i the Cathedral) the team from the Diocese of the South revested him in the red vestments. To my knowledge, there is no significance to this with respect to being a Saint, he was clothed in another set of vestments that were his in life.

To John Hanning,

Vladimir Grygorenko would be the person I would commission to write an icon of Vladyka Dmitri. He knew him well and has been given an immense gift in his art. He single handedly adorned the entire cathedral in Dallas, including the chapel in which the Archbishop now rests.
You will find he has a website with his work online, just google his name.
2016-03-09
14:43
Castrese Tipaldi:
Should God really reveal Archbishop Dmitri as one of His saints through His Church, he would be the first American (born) saint.

That would be a great joy and a great blessing for that land, which has been and is being literally devoured by strangers, a great help for its people to be delivered.

In all truth, it would also be the first case of a saint uncritically writing in the Church hierarchies two individual from schismatic denominations, a capitulation which has been at the basis of the horrific scandals sadly shattering the OCA credibility in a not so distant past.

Of course, even the saints do mistakes. Yet it would be the first time a saint would do a mistake of that kind, if memory doesn't fail me.

May His will be done!
2016-03-08
23:34
Dessera Stansbury:
I have been very blessed to have known Vladika for over 25 years. He was my Bishop when Myself and my children converted to Orthodoxy and will always hold a most beautiful place in my heart. I have always known him to be a Saint. He covered his children's sins and always prayed for us. The world now has a most beautiful intercessor. I have asked for his prayers for some very difficult decisions I am facing and I am at peace that God's will, will be done in my life. He is present with me now and I beg that he never stops praying for my wretched soul.
2016-03-08
07:03
Brooks:
The photographs look like a decaying corpse to me. Trust me, I know what dead bodies looks like. Haven't you people seen corruption before? Besides that, what did it smell like? Dead bodies have a smell.
2016-03-08
01:36
Anastasia:
Wonderful news! What a blessing to have known him in our lifetime. Just a quick question based on the photos shown above. Can you please explain why the change of vestments? One photo shows Vladika Dimitry buried in "gold" vestments and another photo shows him in "red". Was it changed from gold to red, because he is being proclaimed a Saint? Or was he buried in red and now is in gold? I'm wanting to explain this appropriately to others in my community.
Thanks!
2016-03-08
00:41
John Hanning All Saints Church Victoria Tx [OCA]:
I was present at Vladika's re-internment. I felt in my heart, even though I never met him, he is a saint. My belief was based on the testimony of a cloud witnesses, just as is my faith in Christ. His great love for children encouraged my recommending to others that they turn to Vladika for the healing of their children. My faith in his intercession for them was only amplified by his incorruption. May his memory and his intercession be eternal. Can you tell me if you, or can you recommend someone I can commission to paint an icon of Vladika
2016-03-07
21:46
Constantin Ardeleanu :
What a great Blessing! Dear Vladyka, pray for us!
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