Jacksonville, FL – Over the Veterans Day weekend, Rev. Fr. Tateos Abdalian, the Diocese’s director of Mission Parishes, visited the mission parish of Jacksonville, Florida, where parishioners are continuing the work of renovating a new property that the parish purchased in the summer of 2011. The two-story, 3,600-square-foot building, located on two acres of land, will serve as a community center where local Armenians can gather for worship and for cultural and social programs.
Sooren Vardanian and members of the Parish Council are overseeing the team of volunteers who are dedicating their time to the project. Fr. Abdalian met with Mr. Vardanian to discuss the project’s progress.
On Saturday evening, Fr. Abdalian led a Bible study session focusing on Sunday’s Gospel reading. During services the next day, the reading was given in Armenian, English, and Russian. Following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, the community enjoyed a Thanksgiving celebration, and honored its veterans as well as members who are celebrating birthdays and anniversaries this month.
By Janna Mosinyan
FLArmenians Guest Contributor
Jacksonville, FL – The community here has grown to the point that, last year, our mission parish purchased a new property, which will serve as the epicenter of the Armenian-American community of Jacksonville. The new parish location will play an important role in the development of our community. It will be a place where local Armenians will be able to come together for worship, celebrations, and cultural and social events. This will enable the dream of Armenians living in northern Florida to manage their own institution, plan for bible studies, Sunday school and more, to become reality. The Jacksonville community has been working together to reform the building, as construction work takes place every Sunday with the help of dedicated community leaders. While church construction is in progress, the Armenian community of Jacksonville, Florida gathers each month for the monthly “Badarak,” or Divine Liturgy. The women’s choir is performing with the participation of Janna Mosinyan, Elen Mosinyan, Olivia Arslanian, Silva Baboyan, and male members Rafael Grigoryan, Aleksandr Shafiyev, Nicolas Yedigarov and Erik Mirzoyev are all active participants of the service as well.
This summer has been especially productive for the young members of our community. Aleksandr Shafiyev recently represented the Armenian Community of Jacksonville on his pilgrimage to the Holly Land. Shafiyev was excited to discover that out of all the Christian nations, Armenians are one of two that have a special quarter in Jerusalem to practice their religion. “Now, that I have had an up-close experience of the Armenian traditions, I am eager to go back to my roots,” said Shafiyev. Hearing an Armenian who has never been to Armenia talk about his heritage with such a great pride is a delightful feeling. On July 11, 2012, The Eastern Diocese announced the recipients of the Diocesan Academic Scholarship for 2012-13. The Armenian community of Jacksonville is proud to announce that two of our students, Rafael Gregoryan and Erik Mirzoyev, have earned the scholarship by committing tremendous time and dedication to our community. Since 2008, I have been an active member of the Armenian-American community of Jacksonville, and it is evident that our local parish has been crucial for the success and development of young Armenians here. As an Armenian who arrived to United States only four years ago, I have found a little Armenia, here in north Florida, thousands of miles away from home.
Janna Mosinyan is an active member of the Jacksonville Armenian-American community, and sings in the parish choir. She is currently studying Political Science at the University of North Florida.