Armenian Church of Jacksonville


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Reverend Father Tateos Abdalian


Rev. Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian

The Rev. Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian was born Richard Daniel in Watertown, MA on October 26, 1947, the son of Manoog and Virginia (Avakian) Abdalian.
After working in the banking sector and at the St. James Armenian Church of Watertown, MA as its Administrative Director from 1972-77, Richard entered St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary for the 1977-78 school year.
In 1978, as St. Nersess Seminary found itself in a period of reorganization, it became the decision of the then Primate, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, to send the remaining three students to institutions elsewhere. As such, Richard was sent to the Seminary in Holy Etchmiadzin for one year of study. Prior to his departure, Richard was ordained a Sub-Deacon by the Primate at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge, NH, having as sponsor Rev. Fr. Papken Maksoudian. Upon his return, he entered Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in Boston, MA to continue his theological studies towards his Masters of Divinity as well as his Armenian studies with Fr. Oshagan Minasian, Fr. Dajad Davidian, Dr. (later Fr.) Krikor Maksoudian, Dr. James Etmekjian, and Ara Kaylajian.
In 1981, Richard was ordained to the diaconate at St. James, Watertown. Soon after, he was invited to begin work at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, MA by the Pastor, Fr. Mampre Kouzouian, as the parish Youth Director, Sunday School Superintendent, and as an assistant to the Pastor. It was also during this time that Dn. Richard was asked by community members living on Cape Cod to conduct religious services there. Through this effort, the Mission Church of Cape Cod, MA was established and Dn. Richard served as its spiritual head from 1980 to 1984.
Dn. Richard was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Torkom Manoogian on June 23-24,1984 at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, MA on the Feast of Holy Etchmiadzin and given the name of Tateos. He was the first American-born Priest of our Diocese ordained having been married and with children prior to his ordination. Serving as sponsor was Fr. Mampre Kouzouian.
It was a bittersweet time for Der Hayr and his family, for although both his parents were present for the ordination, his father Manoog was at the time, under hospice care. Managing to be present and witness the ordination of his son, Manoog however entered his eternal rest shortly thereafter, one week before the celebration of Der Hayr's first Badarak.
Fr. Tateos was assigned to St. John the Baptist Church in Greenfield, WI in August 1984. The parish, previously located in West Allis, WI, had sold their former church building and purchased land in Greenfield, WI with the hope of building a new church sanctuary and cultural hall within a short period of time. Sixteen years following the building of the hall, the community was still waiting for their sanctuary to be built. Upon arriving in the community, Fr. Tateos made it priority-one to have a new sanctuary built.
Working with the community members, groundbreaking took place in June 1985 for the new church sanctuary. The following June saw the cornerstone laying and in November 1986, the much anticipated consecration. Also during his pastorate, five individuals were ordained as deacon, sub-deacon, and tibirs and the membership of the parish grew over 50%.
In 1988, with the devastating earthquake in Armenia, Fr. Tateos became the representative and spokesperson for the Wisconsin Armenians. Having been invited to meet with the Governor of the state and given complete cooperation for whatever was needed, Fr. Tateos through the office of the Wisconsin National Guard was coordinating relief cargo planes of the Minnesota National Guard to Armenia, the collection of tons of clothing, as well as fundraising efforts in the state.
In September 1989, Fr. Tateos was assigned to St. Peter Church in Watervliet, NY serving there until November of 1993 when he became the Pastor of St. George Church in Hartford, CT.
While in Hartford, Fr. Tateos felt it important that our clergy begin to go outside of their inner circle and serve the community at large. He began to serve as an on-call Chaplain at Hartford Hospital and was selected as a member of their Pastoral Services Advisory Committee, which oversaw the Clinical-Pastoral Educational program of the hospital. In honor of his son David becoming a Los Angeles Police Officer, Fr. Tateos began to serve as a Police Chaplain with the Hartford Police Department. In that capacity, he also was a member of the department's Crisis Intervention Team that dealt with police shootings, major incidents, and injuries to officers.
Fr. Tateos became Pastor at Sts. Sahag and Mesrob Armenian Church in Providence, RI in August 1999, serving until his appointment in September 2001 to the position of Special Projects Coordinator for the Diocese's Department of Youth Ministry. The duties included the conducting of regional conferences and retreats; writing pamphlets for teens dealing with various social and ethical issues; coordinating youth pilgrimages to Armenia and Jerusalem; and in the planning of our diocesan summer camps. During this same time, Fr. Tateos served as an assistant to Fr. Simeon Odabashian as visiting priest to various Mission Parish communities of the Diocese. With budgetary difficulties being experienced at the Diocese, Fr. Tateos (as well as Fr. Simeon) was forced to leave his position and was assigned to Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cheltenham, PA on July 1, 2003.
In September 2007, Fr. Tateos once again returned to his first love – that of serving the Mission Parish communities of the Diocese - with his appointment as Director of the Department by His Eminence, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate. Responsible for overseeing approximately 15 communities, Der Hayr has zealously brought a new resurgence to the communities with innovative concepts creating new opportunities for growth and expansion.
Der Tateos serves on various Diocesan committees and in other roles. One of his most memorable moments came in 2006, when he represented the Armenian Church and addressed the 1500-2000 people, who had gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the Genocide in Darfur, on our history and the evils of genocide. As the son and son-in-law of survivors of the 1915 Genocide, nothing could be more meaningful to their memory and to the memory of all our martyrs.
Der Hayr is a member of the Oriental Orthodox/Roman Catholic Dialogue; a member of the Standing Committee of Oriental Orthodox Churches in America; a teacher since 1991 at St. Vartan Camp, and at St. Nersess Summer Programs since 1981; founding organizer and Police Chaplain of the Cheltenham Police Dept., a member of their SWAT intervention Team and an instructor of their Citizen's police Academy; a Member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.
He has been published in various journals and magazines and currently produces the eTsayn publication as part of the Dept. of Mission Parishes communications.
On the occasion of his 25th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood, Fr. Tateos was elevated to the rank of Avak Kahana by His Holiness, Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.
Der Tateos has been married since 1969 to Yeretzgin Margaret Meranian of Methuen, MA. They have one son, David; one daughter, Alicia; and two grandchildren.