Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas, who died in 2011, was disinterred on March 4 to be transferred to a new tomb prepared for him in St. Seraphim Orthodox Cathedral in Dallas. The opening of his coffin revealed something amazing.
Author Rod Dreher, a convert to Orthodoxy, writes about the discovery:
When the cemetery personnel opened his coffin, they found Vladyka Dmitri incorrupt.
That is to say, his body had not decayed. He has been buried for four and a half years under the Texas ground, and his body looks like it did the day he died.
This is a miracle. In Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, it is seen as a sign that the deceased was, and is, a saint.
Incorruptible bodies and modern saints are a new concept for me, and one that I have had trouble embracing as a former Protestant. The veneration of icons came easier, as it pointed to holy men and women of a distant past that seemed to me to exist outside of history.
Now I am confronted with a saint that lived during my lifetime.
It seems easier to look at holiness as a desirable, but unobtainable goal. We can be forgiven for not hitting the mark, because sainthood is the province of those ethereal images on the walls of our church.
Yet here is a man who lived a life of holiness during the age of the Internet and the War on Terror. It’s hard to for me to grasp that a man who lived a few states over and died only a few years ago would be the object of a miracle from God.
My wife, as usual, was able to hear my doubts and wonderment and confusion, and respond with comforting simplicity.
“I sure hope there are still saints in this world.”
Dimitri of Dallas, help me to have faith that there is hope for us all to be saints.