Archpriest Fr. Datev Harutyunian Biography
Archpriest Fr. Datev Harutyunian was born on July 21, 1961 in the city of Sukumi in Georgia. His baptismal name was Kartos.
In 1971, his father, Dikran Harutyunian, was ordained into the priesthood and given the name of Fr. Datev. Thereafter, he was sent to Tiblisi, Georgia to become the Parish Priest of St. George Armenian Church (Soorp Kevork).
Kartos received his primary education in Tiblisi and in 1978 he continued his education by attending the Polytechnic Institute Department of Architecture located in Erevan. He received the degree of Engineer Architect in 1983. That same year, his father passed away after which Kartos moved back to Sukumi with his mother, Sirouhi, and sister, Satenig.
Between the years 1983 to 1985, he served in the Russian Army. Upon release from his military duties in 1985, he married Sylva Mafian and worked in a factory until 1987. In that year, he also completed his studies at the Radio Technic School. Three years later in 1988, his son, Dikran, was born.
During this period, Kartos was accepted as a student at the Seminary of Holy Etchmiadzin. In 1989, by the order of His Holiness Vasken I, the class in which Kartos was a student was canceled. Only two students were selected from that class to continue their studies, one of whom was Kartos. In 1989, during the Feast of St. Stephanos, Kartos was ordained a Deacon and in 1990, he graduated from the seminary.
On July 21, 1990, by the order of the Vehapar Vasken I, Archbishop Kevork Sraydarian ordained Kartos to the priesthood and gave him the name of Father Datev, his father’s ordained name.
Immediately after his ordination and the celebration of his first Badarak, Fr. Datev was sent to his birthplace where there was no church and no spiritual leadership. By the grace of God and the help of few good people, he started teaching religion in the local Armenian schools. Within a few months, a small chapel was built in the village of Medzara. In 1992, his daughter, Sirouhie, was born.
Because of the civil war in Georgia throughout 1992 and the dangers of travel, no one was able to attend church services in Medzara. Consequently, it was decided to build a church next to the Armenian School, thus eliminating the travel hazard. This church was consecrated by Bishop Kevork Sraydarian on Easter Sunday and was named Sourp Harutyun.
In the autumn of 1992, fighting erupted again in Georgia causing thousands of Armenians to flee the country. Father Datev migrated with his family to Russia and settled in the city of Sochi where the Armenian Apostolic Church was under the spiritual leadership of Very Rev. Father Yeznig Bedrossian. A new Armenian church was under construction. Upon the arrival of Fr. Datev, the responsibility of the entire project was given to him.
On November 7, 1992, the new church was consecrated by Archbishop Diran Gureghian whereupon Fr. Datev was immediately assigned the parish priest of that church. The Vehapar, Vasken I, further honored Father Datev by bestowing upon him a gift of a honorary cross.
In 1992 and 1993, Fr. Datev directed the program designed for training Deacons. Also, in 1993, Fr. Datev was assigned the task of building the St. John Armenian Church in the Krasnodar. He lived there until the church was completed.
In 1995, Fr. Datev was invited to Etchmiadzin to participate in the election of the Catholicos of All Armenians.
In 1996, by permission of Archbishop Diran Gureghian, the Primate of Russia, Fr. Datev and his family migrated to the United States of America. In April 1996, by the order of the Primate of the Western diocese, His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Fr. Datev was assigned the position of visiting priest throughout the Western Diocese.
On January 1, 1997, by the order of His Eminence Archbishop Vatche Hovsepian, Fr. Datev assumed the title of Assistant to the Primate and has been working in the Diocese since that date.
Since February 27, 2000, Fr. Datev has been assigned as Parish Priest of St. Andrew Armenian Apostolic Church in Cupertino.