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
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
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
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.