In Memoriam: Hieromonk David (Griffith)

1 June 2020 • In Memoriam 

With faith in Christ and hope in the Resurrection, we share news of the repose of Hieromonk David (formerly Archimandrite Daniel Griffith), who fell asleep in the Lord on May 31, 2020. He was 74 years old. Hieromonk David graduated from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1971 with a Master of Divinity degree. 

Hieromonk David was baptized a Protestant and grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. After being shocked by the teachings of a Protestant bishop and by the teachings as a whole of that particular denomination, Hieromonk David began to study Holy Orthodoxy and by God’s grace was received into the Orthodox Church by Chrismation at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Church (OCA) in Nanticoke on December 23, 1967. Following graduation from Wilkes College in 1968 with a BA in Sociology, he entered St. Vladimir’s Seminary. 

With the encouragement of his spiritual father, Fr. John Meyendorff, he entered the Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies of the Ecumenical Institute (Celigny, Switzerland) of the World Council of Churches, receiving a certificate in ecumenical studies from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. As part of the year-long program, he did three months of field work, researching monastic communities in France while a resident of Le Centre S. Dominique (a retreat house of the Dominican Province of Lyons), in Eveux sur l’Arbesle. Returning to the States in 1972, he did further studies at St. Vladimir’s. He was fluent in English, Greek, and French.

In 1973, with the encouragement of Fr. Thomas Bitar (now abbot of the Monastery of St. Michael, Mount Lebanon) and of Fr. Paul Schneirla, he approached Metropolitan Philip and was received into the Antiochian Archdiocese and ordained a celibate by His Eminence, deacon at St. Mary’s, Cambridge, MA in 1973, and presbyter at St. Mary’s, Wilkes-Barre in 1973. Between 1975 and 1985, he pastored the following parishes: St. George, Albany, NY, Ss. Constantine and Helen, Dallas, TX and St. George, Lowell, MA. In Lowell, he was instructor in liturgical theology in the St. Stephen’s studies program. On Pentecost, 1986, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite by Metropolitan Philip. 

In October 1986, with the blessing of His Eminence, he went to Greece to gain a better knowledge of Greek and to understand more deeply the Orthodox Church in context. After a spiritually fruitful year in Thessalonica, he moved to Athens in 1987, where, with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius, he was appointed assistant priest in the parish of St. Anne, Chalandri, in the archdiocese of Athens, a position which he held until returning to the US. While studying Modern Greek and working as a Th.D. candidate at the University of Athens, he resided at and was celebrant of daily services at the Metochian of the Ascension, a dependency in Athens of Simonopetra Monastery, Mount Athos.

Feeling constrained to return to active service within the Antiochian Archdiocese, he returned to the US in 1994. After a brief pastorate at St. George, Utica, NY, in 1995 he became pastor of St. Michael’s, Geneva, NY. In 2002, he was assigned to the pastorate of All Saint’s, Salina, KS, and its daughter-mission of St. Mary Magdalene, Manhattan, KS.

May his memory be eternal!

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[Sections of this article have been reprinted from Antiochian.org]