Department of Mission Parishes
The Diocesan Department of Mission Parishes is charged with bringing the Gospel message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as practiced by the Armenian Church to our people living in parts of the country where no Armenian Church parish community exists, and who are geographically isolated from other established parishes. The hope also is to assist them in becoming, if possible, full-fledged parishes of the Diocese.
Beginning with the first established community of Worcester, MA, every parish was once a mission parish. Our progressive development over the past 100 years has brought us to where we are able to list 44 established parishes of the Diocese, as well as 15 active mission parishes.
Our Mission Parish communities today are made up primarily of individuals and families who:
• have moved to the southern regions of the United States in their retirement years
• were settled in the U.S. by various charitable relief organizations after the fall of the Soviet Union
• relocated to various regions of the country due to job transfers
Wherever and whenever possible, visitations are scheduled to mission parishes on a monthly basis or, due to the unavailability of clergy or the size of the community, on a less frequent basis, to offer the Divine Liturgy, establish educational programs regarding the Armenian faith, language, and culture, provide leadership and encouragement, and to create a mechanism to bring these communities into full stature as parishes of the Diocesan family.
The primary focus during pastoral visits is the gathering of the faithful for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy since this is the one event that the Church can offer as a unique and essential part of our identity.
In the early and mid-1990s, when many in our mission parishes immigrated to this country from the former Soviet Union, our Diocese and various local parishes opened their hearts and responded with financial and social assistance to see that our brothers and sisters would become productive members of American society and participants and members within our Armenian churches. Today, when we look at a number of our established parishes around the Diocese, we recognize that it has been these individuals who have brought new life to many of them.
Today, we all face many obstacles as Armenian Christians in keeping our faith traditions alive and in being able to pass them on to the next generation. However, being geographically isolated from other Armenians and resources makes it extremely difficult for those in our mission parishes to cope.
Our brothers and sisters are looking for and need help in providing an Armenian education for themselves and their children in our faith, culture, language, history, etc., so that they can remain strong as Armenians in this country.
It is the function of the Department of Mission Parishes to see to those needs.
The director of the department is the Rev. Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian. Click here to read Fr. Abdalian's biography.
Contact the Department of Mission Parishes
Fr. Tateos R. Abdalian
Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America
630 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Office Tel: (212) 686-0710 ext. 144
Cell: (215) 850-0710