Daniel, Abraham P.

1910 - 1976
Priest, Musician

Rev Abraham Paul Daniel, the third resident priest of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Ipoh was one of the most talented priests in Indian music in the diocese.

He was born on September 5, 1910 at Maruthakulam in South India. He began his ministry as a teacher and later became an instructor of Indian music at the Bishop's Sergeant Training School, Palayamkottai, in Tirunelveli, South India. It was here that he responded to God's call to the ordained ministry.

Before entering theological college, he joined the Diocesan Evangelistic Band to meet the diocesan regulation to test his vocation. He trained under a senior minister before he was admitted and spent four years at the Theological Training College at Tirumariyur (i.e. a scripture village) in Nazareth, South India. He was ordained as deacon and priest at Tirunelveli.

He married Ruby Margaret Devadason who was born and brought up in Malaya before World War II. Marriage seemed to have been the reason that he was attracted to Malaya. He was proud of the fact that he was the only clergyman found suitable among 18 who applied to come to this diocese. 

He began his ministry at the Church of the Holy Spirit, Ipoh and had about 27 estates to cover. He was gifted in evangelistic ministry and in Tamil lyrical singing and this attracted many non-Christian Tamils, especially the Hindus. 

In 1957, he was transferred to St. Christopher's Church, Johor Bahru. Although he had served predominantly as a Tamil priest, he was not entirely new to the English ministry. At St. John's Church, Ipoh, he had relieved the English clergy on many occasions. He was one of the first Tamil clergymen to be appointed as a vicar. While serving in Johor Bahru, he went on a scholarship to Australia for further studies.

Rev Daniel also served a term as chairman of the Tamil Board and as an itinerant priest in the diocese after 1962. He had served in Banting, Bahau, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and the diocese of Sabah at the invitation of Bishop Roland Koh. The writer had the opportunity to be trained by him in Banting in 1970. 

After his retirement at age 65, he continued to serve in an honorary capacity until his death on March 27, 1976.


Bishop Datuk Dr S. Batumalai

© CCM-2011. This article from A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A Historical Record of Key Pastors in the Indian Churches in Malaysia and Singapore is reproduced with permission of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, with editing for clarity and brevity.