Fr. Dimitri's life as a priest was one of constant interference with the Soviet authorities, as he once noted no week of his life passed without some interference. Yet, in the atheistic society, he brought many to Christ, baptizing thousands of adult converts. His reputation came, however, from a series of nine sermons that he deliver at St. Nicholas Church in Moscow in late 1973 and early 1974.
In the Soviet State, the churches were not permitted to distribute publications publicly, hold classes. or conduct discussion groups. Sermons were limited to matters of ritual. In this atmosphere Fr. Dimitri framed his sermons in the form of a dialogue in which he addressed written questions that interested his congregation. His candid comments, presented in his strong speaking style, soon caused the church to be overflowing with visitors. But, his success also brought interruptions to his life as the police subjected him to interrogations. In 1973, Fr. Dimitri was told by Patr. Pimen to
stopped his unusual sermons, which he did, only to move the sessions to his home.
In his instructions, Fr. Dimitri tried to make religion less abstract. His words dealt with the pressing problems of everyday life in the Soviet Union, where half the marriages led to divorce and alcoholism and hooliganism were a continuing problem. He stressed that atheism could not answer the moral, domestic, and social disintegration that was occurring.