Obituary of Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Griffith
Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Daniel Griffith, Son of Daniel T. and Grace G. Griffith, Fr. Daniel was born in Nanticoke, PA, April 11, 1946, and grew up in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania. Baptized in a local Protestant church on June 7, 1957, he diligently sought the true Church. While a college student, shocked by the heretical teachings of James Pike, then Episcopal bishop of San Francisco, and even more so by the total doctrinal capitulation of the Episcopal bishops and realizing that that body, which he had believed to be the living continuity of the ancient Catholic Church, in no way upheld the apostolic faith, he began to study Holy Orthodoxy and by God’ grace was received into the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by Chrismation at St. John the Baptist, Russian Orthodox Church (OCA), in Nanticoke, December 23, 1967. Following graduation from Wilkes College (now Wilkes University), Wilkes-Barre, PA, in June, 1968 with a BA in Sociology (minors in Philosophy-Religion and French), he entered St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY. Graduating with an M.Div. in 1971, 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 Certificat 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 (near Lyons). Returning to the States in 1972, he did further studies at St. Vladimir’s. He is fluent in English, Greek, and French.
In 1973, with the encouragement of fellow students, especially Fr. Thomas (then Issam Bitar, now abbot of the Monastety 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, October 7, 1973, and presbyter at St. Mary’s, Wilkes-Barre, PA, October 21, 1973. Between 1975-1985, he pastored the following parishes: St. George, Albany, NY (1973-1979), Ss. Constantine and Helen, Dallas, TX (1979-1982) and St. George, Lowell, MA (1982-1986). During his last two years in Albany, he was dean of the Up-State New York Deanery. In Lowell, he was instructor in Liturgical Theology in the St. Stephen’s Course. 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 very difficult but spiritually fruitful year in Thessalonica, he moved to Athens in 1987, where, with the blessing of His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius and, with the support of Dr. Constantine Scoutaris, professor of Symbolics and the History of Dogma, Theological School of the University of Athens, 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 in 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. He also served as supply-priest in the Church of St. George, Karitzi (the church of the former royal court), in Athens. 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. He served as dean of the Can-Am Deanery, Can-Am Region (1997-2002); Regional Spiritual Advisor for the Antiochian Women (1999-2000) and Regional Spiritual Advisor for the Fellowship of St. John the Divine (2000-2002). In 2002, he was assigned to the pastorate of All Saint’s, Salina, KS, and its daughter-mission of St. Mary Magdalene, Manhattan, KS.
Fr. Daniel is fully conversant in Modern Greek and has a sound knowledge of New Testament Greek. His knowledge of French has slipped a bit over the years. He is still a proficient reader. He has studied Latin.
Fr. Daniel’s interests lie mainly in the fields of the History of Liturgy and Sacramental Theology, Byzantine and Eastern Church History, Patristics, Canon and Moral Theology and Comparative Religion.
Interment, St. Tikhon's Cemetery, Waymart, PA.
Arrangements are entrusted to Jenkins-Howell Funeral Home, Inc. Edward R. Howell, Funeral Director, 269 Belmont St. Waymart, PA 18472. www.JenkinsHowellFuneralHome.com