Deep in the Heart of Texas


Today (Wednesday) and tomorrow I am in Dallas, Texas, with my Archbishop, DMITRI of Dallas and the South (OCA). I’m here for a small meeting with him and my fellow deans. Probably more social than practical – but time will tell.

The Church in Dallas could have been pulled from the countryside of Russia. Built around 2000, it’s frescoes continue to slowly grow as the entire interior of the Church proclaims the doctrine of Christ.

Such iconography has an effect that small icons cannot have. They are as large (or larger) than life, and, typically have a way of putting the stories of the gospel together such that the whole of the gospel is proclaimed.

According to Archbishop DMITRI, he and the iconographer worked on the layout for the iconography such that the central message would be the dignity of human nature. His Eminence is convinced that the departure from the Orthodox faith that we witness in the modern world is largely an assault on the dignity of man. He thus defends it at every turn, and is determined that his cathedral will do the same with its iconography.

I hope to coaxe a tour out of him tomorrow so that I can have him “read” the iconography to me in its larger context.

I will certainly have a better feel for the cathedral and a sense of how the icons work together. Even as it is, in my ignorance, it feels as though I am standing in the midst of the Bible when I am there and pray.

I am always renewed by a visit to Dallas. Archbishop DMITRI is the age of my father (83) and among the strongest pillars of the Orthodox faith I have ever encountered. His own knowledge is encyclopedic and he enjoys teaching. Thus it is a renewal – I am strengthened by an example I would emulate and taught anew the truth of the Christian faith.

Worth getting on a plane and suffering the insults of American air travel. Glory be to God for all things.

If I get my tour tomorrow, I will write at some length on the cathedral’s icons.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.






7 responses to “Deep in the Heart of Texas”

  1. Mark Avatar

    I’m sure the work has progressed beyond what this link depicts, but here’s a nice, interactive web page that highlight’s the iconography at St. Seraphim’s:

    Click the picture of the iconostasis – the second one down on the right.

    Enjoy your gathering! Christ is Risen!

  2. Barnabas Powell Avatar

    I have such fond memories of the Archbishop. When myself and my best friend, both of us Pentecostal pastors, first met Archbishop DMITRI, we were attending a service at St. Mary of Egypt OCA in Atlanta.

    He graciously gave us over an hour of his time to talk with us about our desire to enter the Church, even though he was visiting his flock at St. Mary’s.

    At the end of the visit he brought Fr. Peter Smith, the rector at St. Mary’s, over to us and said to him “Help these men in any way you can.”

    By God’s grace, Fr. Peter received us and about 20 families from the church I had pastored into the Orthodox Church in Novemebr of 2001.

    The Archbishop’s gentle and gracious demeanor and his “fatherly” instruction made a huge impact on both of us that evening.

    Many years, your Eminence!

  3. Joshua Avatar

    I’d really like to worship at St. Seraphim’s some day. The icons do look wonderful from photos I’ve seen. I’ll be in San Antonio next weekend, and I thought about making the drive down to Dallas – but then thought again and decided that it would be too much to fit into one weekend. Hope your trip is a good one.

  4. Moose Avatar

    Joshua… don’t give up on going to St. Seraphim’s – it is worth the trip!! It might sound like too much for one weekend, but how amazed you will be.

    Make your life extordinary…visit St. Seraphims!

  5. Matt Avatar

    Joshua, Moose, and anyone else –

    I’m a catechumen at St. Seraphim’s. Be happy to show you around if you’re interested in visiting.

    email hidden; JavaScript is required

  6. Kirk Avatar

    Howdy Joshua–

    If you can’t make it to Dallas (and it’s 275 miles from San Antonion to Dallas, one way), then there’s a nice little OCA parish in San Antonio called St. Anthony’s (easy to remember: San Antonio/Saint Anthony). The people there are real friendly and they’ve got a new iconostasis. Oh, and don’t forget to eat at Mi Tierra’s at El Mercado.


  7. Joshua Avatar

    Hey Kirk,
    St. Anthony’s is where the wedding is on Sunday. I have an uncle want to visit with up in Austin on Friday/Saturday – so I’m resigned to stay in the San Antonio area for this trip. Thanks for the tip on Mi Tierra’s at El Mercado – I’ll try to check it out. And thanks Matt and Moose… I do hope to visit St. Seraphim’s sometime – God know when. 🙂

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