Priest Panteleimon Samaa

In the first quarter of the XXth century the priest Panteleimon Samaa (Picture №1) served in the wooden church of the Resurrection of Christ in the village of Achandara (Abkhazia, Gudauta district). The church was built in 1869. It was a part of the Abkhazian (since 1885 the Sukhum Eparchy) Eparchy of the Georgian Exarchate, the Russian Orthodox Church.
The priest Panteleimon Samaa began to serve in the Achandara church in 1908. He served there until the church was closed in the Soviet times. In the archives of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Abkhazia books of birth sertificate preserved dated back to 1908-1916. Panteleimon Samaa wrote the notes about sacraments of baptism, marriages and funerals conducted by himself (Picture №2).
Priest P. Samaa was also a member of the Sukhum Diocesan Ecclesiastical Brotherhood of St. Alexander Nevsky. He served as assistant missionary against Muslims of Gudauta and Gumista regions.
On May 11, 1912, he participated in the meeting of the clergy of the first Sukhum district, held in the second-class school, Gudauta. The meeting was headed by bishop Andrew from Sukhum (1911-1913).
At the meeting the clergy discussed the issues connected with building of new churches, restoration of destroyed churches in the villages of Achandara, Otkhara, Dzhirhva and others.
At the meeting the Bishop asked the priests Andrey Bondarenko and Panteleimon Samaa to assist in the construction of the chapel in the village of Aatsy, using the remaining forest in the Achandara temple. Thus, the update of the wooden church of the Resurrection in the village of Achandara happened in 1912 with the participation of the priest P. Samaa. The Achandara church was destroyed in the Soviet Period.
The surname Samaa (Samava) is an old surname, it rarely meets in Abkhazia. Nowadays all people with surname Samaa(Samava) are the descendants of the priest Panteleimon Samaa.
Father of Panteleimon Samaa was married to Anastasia Mukba (Picture №5). They had seven children: Katusha, Daria, Katerina, Tamara, Vera, Konstantin (Kostya) and Michael. Only Tamara and Konstantine were married. According to the resident of Achandara Timur Akhba, Katusha and Katerina (Picture № 6) wore strict and black dresses. Michael had long hair (though in the preserved photo of Michael, he hadn’t long hair) (Picture №7). It is possible that they led a monastic life. Konstantine (Picture №8) had two children, a son and a daughter. His son was born in 1948, i.e the grandson of the priest Samaa got married to Lyudmila Psardiya. They had five children. In 1982, Vova perished in the accident, he was killed by electricity. After this incident, Lyudmila gave all the icons, church utensils and books of the priest Panteleimon Samaa to the church of the Intercession of Theotokos in the town of Gudauta, she gave them to the priest Leonty Zhvania. Some religious and personal things of the priest P. Samaa (the Altar Gospel, photos, etc.) were handed over to the priest Vissarion Apliaa in 1995. The visiting card of the Priest Panteleimon Samaa preserved in the Abkhazian State Museum. The visiting card has the following inscription: “Priest Panteleimon Simonov Samaa of Achandara parish. Assistant Missionary against Muslims in Gudauta and Gumista regions”(Picture №9).
In the center of the village Achandara a small house with a porch preserved. The priest P. Samaa with his family lived in that house (Picture №10). There is also his tomb there (Picture №11). Nowadays the widow of Vova, the grandson of Panteleimon Samaa live in that house (Picture №12). One can see two icons in the house, which belonged to the priest Panteleimon Samaa (Picture №13). A small paper icon with the image of the Savior, which also belonged to the priest, currently kept in the house of the eldest son of Lyudmila in Gudauta (Picture №14). Some photos of the priest P. Samaa also preserved (Picture 1, 15).
The priest P. Samaa was engaged in the educational activities at the pre-revolutionary parochial school. According to Timur Akhba and Lyudmila Psardiya, in the Soviet Period the priest couldn’t serve in the church but the inhabitants of his village appealed to him for help in the preparation of various documents.
On September 16, 201, at a scheduled meeting the Council of the Holy Metropolis of Abkhazia decided to erect a marble cross with inscription over his grave in the village of Achandara in order to perpetuate the memory of the priest Panteleimon Samaa.
The author of an article is Doctor of Divinity,Archimandrite Dorotheos Dbar