Sermons and Messages

Primate's Message Reflections on the 1700th anniversary

Primate's Address to the ACYOC

This is the 12th ACYOC Sports Weekend that I have had the privilege of attending, first as youth Director and, since 1990, as Diocesan Primate and President of ACYOC.

Since 1988, much has changed. I remember the first SW organized by a handful of people here in Toronto. That SW was even called the mini-SW. However, over the past years, the organization grew in the number of chapters and members and also in undertakings. All of these have given me the basic understanding that the church needs you.

Yesterday, during the Delegates' Meeting, I was reviewing the list of past Central Council members. It was inspiring to see the names of so many who have established families with Christian values, and who will be the pillars of our church in Canada, for her future development.

During the past two days, I have had the chance to talk to almost each of you and I can see the same qualities in every one here, as I have witnessed in previous years.

Sports Weekends are celebrations; a celebration of friendship, a celebration of sharing of gifts given by God: leadership, sacrifice, service, and teamwork, and it's a celebration for achieving the success of the event, and forming bonds between participants.

So as you can see, the ACYOC SW is very important to me, and that is why I flew back from Armenia this week, especially to be here with you.

A few months ago, His Holiness Karekin II entrusted me with a very important duty: to lead the Organizing Committee of the 1700th Anniversary celebrations of the proclamation of the Christian faith as state religion. The magnitude of the celebration is not limited to the Armenian Church. This event is a landmark for all Christianity, including the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and many other established churches, as well as international organizations such as the UN and UNESCO.

It gives me great pride, as an Armenian, to see such important organizations, churches and Embassies of foreign countries ready and willing to participate in the celebrations of this historic event in the life of our Church.

Amongst the many celebrations, the most important will be the Youth Rally planned for July 2001. This event will be unique, for it targets the youth. It will be a youth pilgrimage uniting over 50,000 young people from Armenia and Diaspora.

This Youth Rally will have two accomplish two aims:

a) The people in Armenia will see their faith in Christ re-energized by the enthusiasm of the Diasporan participants, and

b) The Diasporans will see their ethnic identity reinforced by their visit to the Homeland.

The Youth Rally will provide the impetus for the creation of youth organizations like ACYOC in every Diocese around the world. It will also lead to the creation of a permanent structure for the youth movement in the Armenian Church around the world.

All of this will not be possible without the active participation of Armenian Youth from around the world. The ACYOC must take a leadership role in this new youth movement.

We now have the target of bringing 300 young Armenian - Canadians to the Youth Rally next July. We must concentrate our efforts on this important mission. For this reason, the 2001 General Assembly will be held in Armenia next July.

The group coordinating this mission for ACYOC will be the new ACYOC Central Council.

  • Mourad Tek
  • Sero Andonian
  • Greg Gulesserian
  • Shoushan Aroyan
  • André Kutyan
  • Taline Arzoumanian
  • Hagop Missakian

With this new team, we embark upon a new mission in a new millennium, a mission that will unite the Armenian Youth in Canada, and bind it to the Motherland and to Holy Etchmiadzin.

I also want to thank the host chapter of the 2000 SW: the ACYOC of Toronto, its president Der Zareh, the chairperson by Alik Farra, and the rest of her team:

  • Rev. Fr. Zareh Zargarian, President
  • Alik Farra, Chairperson
  • Roger Madjelikian, Treasurer
  • Annie Orfali, Secretary
  • Arlene Kombiyikyan, Advisor
  • Shogher Menengichian, Advisor
  • Anet Ayvazyan, Advisor

I also want to thank the members of the Central Council chaired by George Doramajian and especially the outgoing members Armen Baltayan, Steven Karan and Nairy Artinian.

Thanks also to all of the delegates who devoted their time in order to strengthen ACYOC, especially Jean-Philippe Tachjian, who has been with me since 1988, always an active presence, contributing to the development of the organization. Over the past 12 years, his input in the making of the By-laws and establishing traditions in the life of ACYOC is undeniable.

Finally, in the life of the Church there are certain individuals who make special contributions; during the last few years, we have established a special award to recognize an ACYOC member who has greatly contributed not only to ACYOC but to the Church as a whole. Tonight, I announce that the new bearer of the Cross of St. Nareg will be George Doramajian.

George, whom I have known for 11 years, has shown readiness and willingness to serve in our church, not only as an ACYOC member but also as a Sunday School teacher. He has served the Christian Faith in many ways, with his commitment to the Lord, his perseverance and his enthusiasm in the ACYOC and especially as an unofficial, non-ordained preacher.

Archbishop Hovnan Derderian

Primate, Diocese of Canada
Reflections on the 1700th anniversary by
His Eminence
Abp. Hovnan Derderian
Gold Bird
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