Eastern Diocese: ACYOA Sports Weekend Champions

Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Karine Abalyan
Tel: (212) 686-0710; Fax: (212) 779-3558
E-mail: [email protected]

June 8, 2009



Best Overall Team: St. Leon Church, N.J.

Sportsman of the Tournament: Eric Halejian

Basketball: First Place, St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.

Second Place, Holy Martyrs Church, Bayside, N.Y.

Third Place: St. Vartan Cathedral, New York, N.Y.

Volleyball: First Place, St. James Church, Watertown, Mass.

Second Place, St. Leon Church, Fair Lawn, N.J.

Third Place: St. Mary’s Church, Washington, D.C.

Tennis: Women’s, Oksona Manoukian

Doubles, Amy Ishkanian and Scott Herdemian

Chess: Ari Terjanian

Tavloo: Eric Ashbahian

Ping Pong: Hayk Arustamyan



More than 250 participants arrived at the IBM Dolce Palisades Center in
Palisades, N.Y. on the evening of Friday, May 22 for the launch of this
year’s ACYOA Sports Weekend.

In addition to athletic competitions, which were held at the nearby St.
Lawrence Community Center and at the newly-built Education and Recreation
Center at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., the program featured
a film festival, guest speakers, dance workshops conducted by the Antranig
Dance Ensemble, and a virtual athletics tournament using the Wii video-game

On Saturday, May 23, Eric Hachikian spoke to participants about his
documentary, "Voyage to Amasia," which was inspired by the life of his late
grandmother, Helen Shushan. The film tells the story of Hachikian’s family
during the Armenian Genocide and incorporates a piano trio composition
Hachikian performed at Carnegie Hall in 2005.

Linda Yepoyan, executive director of Birthright Armenia, encouraged young
people to volunteer in Armenia, describing the opportunities available at
various business, government, and cultural centers throughout the country.

On Saturday evening, ACYOA members traveled to Manhattan to enjoy the music
of Robert Chilingirian at the Hudson Terrace. A nighttime New York City
scene served as a sparkling backdrop for the reception and dance.

On Sunday, May 24, the Rev. Fr. Stepanos Doudoukjian celebrated the Divine
Liturgy, with Archbishop Khajag Barsamian presiding.

The Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary,
delivered the day’s sermon, reminding participants of Christ’s love and
forgiveness and asking them to help share the Good News with other

"Too many people just have not heard the word of God," Fr. Findikyan said,
stressing that it’s all the more critical to ensure the preservation of the
Armenian Church by training a new generation of young men to serve as
priests in the Armenian-American community.

"We need to be working together to find those people who are going to serve
the church full-time, and especially those young men who are going to take
the courageous step to come forward and do the best job there is in this
world," he said.

As sports competitions drew to a close on Sunday, ACYOA members gathered for
a banquet to honor the weekend’s champions and to applaud the many people
who worked hard to organize this year’s events.

"I’m very pleased with the outcome of this weekend," Archbishop Barsamian
told participants at the banquet.

Following a farewell brunch on Monday, May 25, ACYOA members departed for
their home parishes.

Participant Taleen Kachigyan, of St. Leon Church, said she enjoyed taking
part in the varied activities offered throughout the weekend.

"The ACYOA is really great," she said, "Because it brings all your Armenian
friends closer together."

The weekend was organized by a regional committee, co-chaired by Alex
Derderian and Lydia Kurkjian. Other committee members include Deanna
Cachoian-Schanz, Talar Camcikyan, Michael Givelekian, Jim Ishkhanian, Anita
Jayawant, Alex Lerian, Jon Pelaez, Vrej Pilavdjian, Christine Royland, and
Aleen Tovmasian. The Rev. Fr. Shnork Souin served as the spiritual advisor,
and Maria Derderian as the advisor-at-large.



Photo 9: A basketball game underway at the ACYOA Sports Weekend in
Palisades, NY.

Photo 10: A basketball game underway at the ACYOA Sports Weekend in
Palisades, NY.

Photo 11: Linda Yepoyan, executive director of Birthright Armenia, speaks
about volunteering in Armenia.

Photo 12: A dance workshop conducted by the Antranig Dance Ensemble.

Photo 13: Altar servers assist in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

Photo 16: A chess competition underway at the ACYOA Sports Weekend.

Photo 17: Participants play ping-pong as part of Sports Weekend activities.

Photo 18: A tavloo competition was one of many contests taking place during
the ACYOA Sports Weekend.

Photo 19: The newly-built Education and Recreation Center at St. Leon
Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, N.J., welcomed Sports Weekend participants.

Photo 20: Lydia Kurkjian; Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the
Eastern Diocese; and Alex Derderian pose for a group photo at Sunday’s
banquet. Lydia Kurkjian and Alex Derderian co-chaired the Sports Weekend
regional committee.


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