Monthly Archives: May 2011

Armenian Church Mission Parishes Director Visits Jacksonville Community

Armenian Church Mission Parishes Director Visits Jacksonville Community

May 24, 2011

The mission parish of Jacksonville, Florida, gathered earlier this month to welcome the Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, director of the Armenian Church Diocese’s Department of Mission Parishes.

On Saturday evening May 7, over 25 people took part in Bible study sessions led by Fr. Abdalian in the homes of various parishioners. Fr. Abdalian focused on Sunday’s Gospel passage, offering an explanation of its meaning and on how it relates to the traditions of the Armenian Church. The Bible study was followed by a meal prepared by the participants.

Fr. Abdalian Leads Parish in Jashagetsuk Prayer

“Fr. Abdalian is a great asset to our community, training the next generation of faithful Armenian community leaders,” stated Elmira Grigoryan, Chairwoman of the Jacksonville Mission Parish. “He has a unique relationship with our community and our youth; we all love him,” Grigoryan told FLArmenians.

On Sunday May 8, following the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, the community celebrated Mother’s Day. Also, as has become the custom in Jacksonville, all those who are celebrating birthdays during the month of May were recognized, including a young high school graduate. Parish children presented a program of recitations, singing, and a fashion show.

Rev. Fr. Abdalian spoke on the Diocese’s theme of lay ministry, and stressed that all faithful are called to take an active part in the life of the Armenian Church.

In March of this year, Fr. Abdalian visited the Armenian Church of Southwest Florida, in Naples.

“Being with the people is truly a blessing for me,” Rev. Fr. Abdalian told FLArmenians. “The Armenian community in Florida has a deep appreciation for the Armenian Church, as many immigrated to the United States from the former Soviet Union. We have wonderful people down there,” stated Fr. Abdalian.

In addition to the three Armenian Churches in Florida (Boca Raton, Tampa/St. Petersburg, and Hollywood), communities in Jacksonville, Naples, Ocala and Orlando each have mission parishes. Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian conducts religious services in the Jacksonville mission parish monthly, while he visits the other mission parishes three to four times a year.


South Florida Armenian American Community Commemorates 96th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide


Boca Raton, FL – Last week, hundreds of members, friends and human rights activists from the South Florida Armenian American community commemorated the 96th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

This year’s observance culminated the month long display of the 21-panel Armenian Genocide exhibition on loan to FAU Libraries from the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The exhibition displayed the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I. The panels showcased photographs, quotes from witnesses and the history and legacy of the genocide.

“It was truly inspirational to see South Florida Armenians from three generations come together to honor their fallen ancestors of the 1915 Armenian Genocide,” stated Arsine Kaloustian-Rosenthal, Public Affairs Director. “The importance of remembering, sharing of stories between families, and of course the FAU exhibit itself, stands in the face of genocide denial and advances the cause of genocide prevention,” stated Kaloustian-Rosenthal.

Armenians around the world commemorate the genocide on April 24, when in 1915 Ottoman Turkish authorities rounded up, arrested and murdered over 200 Armenian intellectuals in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey. Over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children perished in 1915-1923 in what historians recognize as the Armenian Genocide.

Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, Dr. Mary Johnson, Dr. Rose Gatens, Very Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian

Dr. Mary Johnson, Senior Historian with Facing History & Ourselves, and curator of the Armenian Genocide exhibit, served as master of ceremonies. Dr. Johnson opened the program with special thanks to Dr. Rose Gatens, Director of the FAU Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. Dr. Johnson spoke about her experiences teaching the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of its denial.

“The response of the Armenian community to the exhibition on the Armenian Genocide at Florida Atlantic University was incredible,” Dr. Johnson told “Visitors not only examined the panels and the narrative of the history but talked about the exhibition and its implications for today – this ensures that the historical event will be remembered and future generations will continue to tell the story,” concluded Dr. Johnson.

On behalf of St. David Armenian Church, Garen Kalender, Rita Vartanian and Kaliana Maronian presented traditional Armenian poetry. Mr. Albert Mazmanian offered remarks while his daughter Natalie recited her self composed poetry. A musical interlude was offered by local talents from St. Mary’s Armenian Church, Sage McBride (violin) and Marineh Alikhnyn (piano) who performed the famous Armenian composition Groung by Komitas. A short screening from the upcoming film “Orphans of The Genocide” was also presented by south Florida film producers Bared Maronian, Bedo Der-Bedrosian and Paul Andonian.

“Having the commemoration program and exhibition at FAU Library was a wonderful opportunity to teach others about the origins and the history of the Armenian Genocide, a major crime against humanity committed by Ottoman Turks at the dawn of the 20th Century,” stated V. Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian. “We pray that the time will come when justice will be served and Turkey will acknowledge its history,” stated Fr. Berberian.

V. Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian of St. David Armenian Church and Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan of St. Mary Armenian Church offered the memorial service for the victims of the Armenian genocide. The South Florida Armenian Genocide Commemoration was held under the auspices of St. David Armenian Church of Boca Raton, St. Mary Armenian Church of Hollywood, the Armenian Assembly of America, the Armenian National Committee and the Knights of Vartan.


NR: 2011-001

Photo Caption (L-R): Rev. Fr. Vartan Joulfayan, Dr. Mary Johnson, Dr. Rose Gatens, V. Rev. Fr. Nareg Berberian

Article: Tallahasse Democrat: Foreign Journalists Spending Time at Democrat

The Tallahassee Democrat

Foreign Journalists Spending Time at Democrat


Published: May 04. 2011 2:00AM

On April 22, two journalists from halfway across the world walked into the newsroom of the Tallahassee Democrat.

Ofelya Kamavosyan and Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu, both first-time visitors to the United States, are here for three weeks through the International Center for Journalist’s program, New Media, New Challenges: Turkish-Armenian-American Journalist Exchange Program.

Kamavosyan, who hails from Armenia, and Oztarsu, who is from Turkey, will be working as reporters at the Democrat.

ICJ’s program aims to develop professional skills and relationships between media professionals that will foster understanding, effective communication and collaboration between the three countries.

Kamavosyan and Oztarsu are hosted by Democrat staff for the duration of their stay, and at the end of three weeks their hosts will go to conferences in Turkey and Armenia to watch Kamavosyan and Oztarsu present on what they have learned. They are also working on a joint project for their presentation. Kamavosyan and Oztarsu are two out of 12 who were paired to participate in the program.

Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu, left, and Ofelya Kamavosyan are foreign journalists spending three weeks with the Tallahassee Democrat. (Photo by Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu)

Executive Editor Bob Gabordi said he is glad to have the Democrat participating in this partnership.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with ICFJ and have hosted journalists through the years from several former Soviet republics and Africa,” he said. “And now this is among the more interesting situations: two journalists from neighboring nations with a long history of distrust are here working together as a team.

“Their countries share a border that is closed to each other, and they have not had normal diplomatic relations for a very long time. Through their shared journalism and mutual respect, perhaps Mehmet and Ofelya can inspire progress. If we can be helpful by providing a common working environment, we are glad to do so.”

Ofelya Kamavosyan

I am an Armenian journalist working for the online daily I also have worked for the daily Hayastani Hanrapetutyun (Republic of Armenia) for six years.

I have a bachelor’s in International Relations from Yerevan State University and a master’s in political science from Public Administration Academy of Armenia.

I previously worked at Armenpress News Agency as a correspondent. I cover both political and legal issues and events in Armenia.

I am 30 years old and this is my first time in the United States. During my first week with the Tallahassee Democrat, I have been impressed by the professional approach of the news staff and the extensive technical equipment available to the staff here.

This program is a good opportunity for us to learn how the American media operate, what are the differences and difficulties of our colleagues’ work. Everything is new for me here: the lifestyle, people, culture, nature and even English.

Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu

I am from Malatya, Turkey. I graduated from Baku Caucasus University with a focus on International Relations. I live in Yerevan and cover international politics for Turkish and Armenian media outlets.

I’m a co-author of “Nagorno Karabakh Conflict for 100 Questions,” an academic book for Qafqaz University. I have written another book, “Armenian Chronicles,” about my observations as a Turkish journalist working in Armenia. I am one of few Turks living in Armenia.

I am 25 years old and this is also my first time in the United States. It is a good experience for me. The style of journalism here, especially the business ethics, is very different from what I grew up with in Turkey.

I have found some Armenian people in Tallahassee and look forward to adding their observations to my book, “Armenian Chronicles.” It is scheduled to be published in the fall.