Primate Fr. Daniel Findikyan and former Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian with award recipients

ACYOA Gathers at St. Vartan Cathedral for 2018 Assembly and Sports Weekend


By Arsen Yelegen

NEW YORK — Youth and clergy from across the Eastern Diocese gathered in New York City over Memorial Day weekend (May 24-28) for the 72nd annual ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend.

Newly elected Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, the Very Rev. Daniel Findikyan, presided over the gathering.

Events took place in and around the Diocesan Center, to honor the 50th anniversary year of the St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral. The weekend was hosted by a Regional Host Committee, chaired by Liana Kurkjian of White Plains, NY.

ACYOA’s General Assembly was held Friday, May 25, in Haik and Alice Kavookjian Auditorium. It was chaired by Daniel Zalinov of St. Sarkis Church of Charlotte, NC, and vice-chaired by Michael Demirchian of the Hye Pointe Church of Bradford, MA.

Assembly and Awards

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The assembly began with a morning service in the cathedral sanctuary. Following the service, the 2018 General Assembly and Sports Weekend Regional Host Committee welcomed the delegates and clergy. Reports of the Central Council report and the Diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries were presented. The report by the 2017 General Assembly and Sports Weekend Host Committee was presented as well.

Findkyan addressed the General Assembly for the first time as the new Primate, welcoming the participants to the weekend. After presenting a piece of literature from “The Teaching of St. Gregory,” the Primate opened the floor for a Q&A session with the delegates.

Members of the Central Council presented the annual ACYOA awards during the Primate’s luncheon on Friday afternoon. The “Chapter ‘A’ Award” was presented to the Hye Pointe Church.

The “Rev. Fr. Haroutiun and Yn. Patricia Dagley Award” was presented to Yn. LuAnn Sabounjian of the Holy Translators Church of Framingham, MA, for her dedication and continued service to the youth of the Armenian Church.

The “Very Rev. Fr. Haigazoun Melkonian Award” was presented to the former Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, for his exemplary service, devotion, and leadership on behalf of the youth of the Armenian Church for the past 28 years.

The “Sam Nersesian Award” — given to individuals who display Christian values of love, patience, humility, and understanding — was presented to Sandra Hovsepian of Holy Trinity Church of Cambridge, Mass.

Topics: ACYOA

The “Gregory Arpajian Leadership Award” was presented to Jonathan Pelaez of St. Mary Church of Livingston, NJ, for his leadership and service to the Armenian Church and community.

Sporting Events

Following the Primate’s luncheon, delegates broke into small groups for a “Diving Deep” discussion session about the 1968 Williams Bay Manifesto, led by the ACYOA Central Council.

Elections were held to fill three vacancies on the ACYOA Central Council, one of which that was left by outgoing member Danielle Malconian. Nora Knadjian and Arsen Yelegen were both re-elected for a second term. Nicholas Tashjian of St. Leon Church of Fair Lawn, NJ, was newly elected to the Central Council.

Following General Assembly on Friday evening, delegates and observers socialized at a reception.

On Saturday, sports competitions for basketball and volleyball were held at John Jay College. That evening, the participants gathered at the Royalton Park Avenue in Manhattan to enjoy music, dancing, and catching up with old friends.

On Sunday morning, the Very Rev. Mamigon Kiledjian, cathedral dean, celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Vartan Cathedral. Fr. Findikyan gave the sermon at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, and he formally installed the new ACYOA Central Council.

Later on Sunday, the sports finals took place. On Sunday evening, participants gathered again in Kavookjian Auditorium for the sports competition awards ceremony. Following the ceremony, participants, ACYOA alumni, family, and friends enjoyed a night of music and dancing featuring the Yerakouyn Band. The weekend concluded on Monday morning.

2018-2019 ACYOA Central Council

Chair: Nora Knadjian (St. Gregory the Illuminator Church, Chicago, IL)

Vice Chair: Sona Dagley (Armenian Church of the Holy Translators, Framingham, MA)

Secretary: Mallory Maslar (St. Hagop Church, Pinellas Park, FL)

Treasurer: Ronnie Malconian (Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Cambridge, MA)

Programming: Melissa Mardoian (Sts. Joachim and Anne Church, Palos Heights, IL)

Public Relations: Arsen Yelegen (St. Gregory the Enlightener Church, White Plains, NY)

Chapter Relations: Nicholas Tashjian (St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ)

Sports Winners

Overall: St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ

Co-ed Volleyball 1st Place: Holy Trinity, Cambridge, MA

Co-ed Volleyball 2nd Place: St. Mary, Washington, DC

Women’s Basketball 1st Place: St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ

Women’s Basketball 2nd Place: Regional Team

Men’s Basketball 1st Place: St. Garabed, Hollywood, CA

Men’s Basketball 2nd Place: St. Vartan, New York, NY

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