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It's not quite a ten-gallon hat; the soft, tall cap of black cloth could hardly cover a one-gallon milk jug. Fronted by a gold metal cross, the hat tops a Dallas clergy leader who looks more like a mountain man than a televangelist. Archbishop Dmitri Royster, 78, has a deeply lined face, and a full white beard spills over his black cassock. He has done the work of the Lord all over the country, and now he's back where he started, in the great state of Texas.

When the archbishop was just a teenager in the small town of Teague, near Dallas, he was known as Robert Royster. He and his older sister were "strong Bible-believing Baptists, and very involved in our church," he says. That church fostered in them a deep love of Jesus Christ and a hunger to study the Scriptures. In fact, Archbishop Dmitri says they wanted even more Bible than they were getting. Although Dallas is surely one of the most Bible-centered communities in the nation, the Royster kids still "felt they were leaving half of it out." These were not typical teens.

The siblings began researching the original scriptural community and the roots of the early church. Eventually they showed up at the door of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, the only Orthodox church in Dallas at the time. Within those icon-covered walls, the worship was chanted, swathed with incense, lit with candles, and entirely in Greek. If the Royster kids were confused, so was the immigrant congregation, which didn't often have American-born teenagers drop in to ask questions. The kids felt they'd come home, however, and soon both became members of the church.

The Global Texan


Robert, then 18, adopted the name Dmitri, after a young soldier (martyred by the Emperor Maximian), whose courage and faith ...

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In the Magazine

May 21, 2002

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