Word Magazine June 1978 Page 13
Lest We Forget . . .
A series of articles on personalities of the past who have profoundly influenced Orthodoxy in America.
METROPOLITAN SAMUEL DAVID
of Toledo, Ohio
Metropolitan Samuel was born as John David Husson, on August 26, 1893, to David and Gazaly Haddad of Aita, Lebanon. The youngest of four brothers and one sister, he was chosen for the priesthood from an early age. He studied at the Balamand Seminary of the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate and was soon recognized for unusual musical talents and a magnificent voice. Ordained Deacon on November 11, 1908, he was tutored by both Patriarch Gregory IV and Metropolitan Zacarias of Hauran, and excelled in Byzantine chanting as his Professor Mitry El-Murr had predicted. On June 17, 1920, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite and came to America that same year. He was appointed as pastor of St. George Orthodox Cathedral, the only Orthodox Church in Toledo, Ohio, then. On April 19, 1936, he was consecrated Archbishop of Toledo, Ohio and Dependencies. He traveled far and near and worked hard for Antiochian Orthodoxy in this land. His humility, gentle nature, golden voice and generosity won him many friends and followers. His popularity among the clergy was tremendous. He extended much help to many theological students both in Lebanon and Athens and Halki of Constantinople. He brought to America several deacons at his own expense and sponsored their education for the priesthood. He also led the campaign for rebuilding the St. George Church in Aita, Lebanon. In 1955 during his visit to Lebanon he donated the cost of a room at the St. George Hospital in Beirut, in order to care for the needy patients of his home village. At the famous shrine of the Virgin Mary at Saidnaya, he donated complete new quarters that stand as a memorial to his good deeds to this day. At the Patriarchal Church in Damascus, he built and completely furnished special quarters for our Patriarch. These are only a few of the many charitable and noble causes which this true man of God fulfilled. Between the years 1945 and 1953 he published many prayer books and distributed them free to all Arabic speaking churches in the world. Most notable among these are:
The Book of Epistles
The Book of Need
The Complete Service of Holy Easter
Prayers and Laudations for our Most Blessed Lady the Theotokos
The great services of the Eulogies of Christ (sung usually on Great Friday evening).
The Prayer of the Holy Unction
The last book he published was the Divine Liturgy of Sts. John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, complete for use of priests and choirs. (Many books were compiled and edited by the Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Ananias Kassab.)
On October 29, 1953 the Holy Synod of Antioch under Patriarch Alexander the III considered him a full member of the Holy Synod. He made a pilgrimage to the Mother Church of Antioch for the first time since he left his fatherland, in the summer of 1955. He was received with love, and many honors both civil and ecclesiastical were showered upon him. The Holy Synod took this opportunity to confer upon him the title of Metropolitan, September 6, 1955. Archbishop Samuel David was the recipient of numerous citations of honor including the Order of St. Mark, conferred by the Patriarch of Alexandria, the Order of the Holy Sepulcher from the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and the Order of SS Peter and Paul from the Patriarch of Antioch. The Academy of Music in Egypt conferred upon him highest honors for his great musical achievements that are evident in the two beautiful albums he recorded. Again the proceeds from the sale of all his records were turned over to the charitable causes of the Mother Church. It is no wonder that when God chose the Thrice-Blessed and deeply-lamented Archbishop on August 12, 1958, thousands everywhere shed sincere tears of sorrow. He slept away peacefully in a chair beside his bed, with the Gospel in his hand. His funeral services were the largest ever held in the city of Toledo. The entire area of the city near the Cathedral was blocked off as multitudes of admirers and friends came to pay their respects. The service was presided over by three bishops of the Greek and Serbian Archdiocese, with numerous priests assisting. Metropolitan Samuel David will long and forever live in the hearts of countless people who dearly loved him. May his blessed memory serve as an inspiration to all of us.