Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
On September 24, with the blessing and approval of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Rev. Fr. Datev Hakobian, a Member of the Brotherhood of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and Spiritual pastor of the Armenians in the Netherlands was appointed to serve as the Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Romania. On September 21, Rev. Fr. Datev Hakobian was elected as Primate during the Diocesan Assembly.
Rev. Fr. Datev Hakobian (baptismal name Hrach) was born on July 7, 1966 in Mosul, Iraq. He received his primary education at the secondary school in Baghdad starting in 1972 and graduating in 1979.
From 1979 to 1986 he studied at the Gevorkian Theological Seminary at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. He was ordained to the diaconate on February 14, 1986, by His Eminence Archbishop Husik Santurian. Upon his graduation in 1986, he left for the Armenian Diocese of Iraq to continue his service as a deacon and stayed there until 1987.
On March 10, 1988, he successfully defended his thesis entitled “Eusebius of Caesarea in Armenian bibliography” and received a mark of excellent.
He left Iraq in 1988 to study at the University of Geneva under the sponsorship of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Simultaneously he served as a deacon and secretary in the Church of St. Jacob in Geneva and gave classes in the Sunday school. He also founded the Youth union of the Armenians in Switzerland.
In 1990 he was assigned to serve as the secretary, deacon and consultant of the Church administration in the Church of Holy Spirit of the Netherlands and opened Sunday school.
He was ordained as a celibate priest on February 18, 1993, by His Eminence Archbishop Avag Asatourian in the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator which was located on the grounds of the Diocesan Headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. He remained in Iraw where he served as Pastor and gave lectures on Christian religion in the “Holy Translators” to Diocesan organizations and in the Sunday schools.
He was a contributing journalist for the “Lraber” and “Dzayn” Armenian Monthly in Iraq from 1993 to1996.
From June to October of 1996, he was a member of the “Lraber” Weekly for the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople and was the author of a series of articles.
He returned to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1996, were was invited to work in the Christian Education and Preaching Center of the Armenian Church; he also gave lectures in Etchmiadzin Sunday schools and to religion teachers. He also participated in the programs “Siretseq zmimians” and “Khoran Luso” broadcast by the Armenian Public Channel and radio.
By the Pontifical order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, he was appointed to serve as the Armenian pastor of Saint Etienne, Loire, France in September of 1997. From 1996 until 1998, he studied the French language and literature in the University of Jean Monne in Saint Etienne.
While serving in Saint Etienne, he founded the choir “Translators” in the Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Sunday school, Church Women’s Society, youth symposiums on the Armenian language and the “Hay Luar Magazine” a quarterly magazine. He also ran a radio program about the Armenian Church on the RCF radio station of the Catholic Church of Saint Etienne.
He presented and successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Sacrifice (Matagh) in Armenian Theology” in the department of Armenology, University of Lion in 1999. He received the rank of Archimandrite (Vardapet) at the St. Jacob Church of Leon, by His Grace Bishop Norvan Zargarian on September 12.
By Pontifical order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, he was appointed to serve as the spiritual pastor of Armenians in the Netherlands in April, 2004.
From 2004 to 2010 he founded five ecclesiastical parishes in the Netherlands, in the cities of Arnhem, Dordrecht, Assen, Eindhoven and Maastricht. Father Datev also founded the “Geghard” choir, a Sunday school, the Auditorium of the Holy Scripture and the Armenian Church-loving organization ( VAJA ) of Almelo.
He held the opening ceremony of the Armenian Church Youth Organization of the Netherlands (ACYO) on October 14, 2007.
Under the presidency of the Armenian Pontiff, he reconstructed the historical Church of the Holy Spirit in 2008.
In 2010, under the initiative of the authorities from Amsterdam he erected the Khachkar-Memorial in the Timan sepulcher dedicated to victims of the Armenian Genocide. He published an illustrated Church calendar of the Armenian Spiritual Pastorate of the Netherlands and organized and prepared the translation of the Divine Liturgy into Dutch.
He is the author of several scientific and public articles for the Diasporan press.