History of the ACYOA
The Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) is the national youth program of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America. It was created on January 12, 1946 in Providence, Rhode Island. The ACYOA emerged from the foundation of the then many local Junior Leagues and clubs that were formed for the young people of the parishes of the Armenian Church.
World War II interrupted the activities of these local groups, many of which were simply inactive during those difficult years. With the termination of the war, a renewed necessity took place of reorganizing the local parish youth groups. His Eminence Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, the newly-elected Diocesan Primate, wholeheartedly took on the challenge of a problem which was causing the elders of the communities to question the future of the Armenian Church in America. This challenge was carried by Archbishop Tiran to the American-Armenian youth. To all communities, he passed on the informing spark, so important to the creation and continuation of activities for this new organization. The culmination of all this activity and work took place at the "Constitutive Assembly" of Armenian Church youth, held in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 12, 1946.
About our Emblem
The emblem of the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America, adopted at its inception, is to be interpreted as follows:
The radiations from the center of the cross symbolize the truths of the Christian religion that shine forth through the centuries.
The symbols under the horizontal bar of the cross are:
- (right hand side) The double peaks of Mount Ararat, representing the Armenian people and its destiny. Ararat has been the silent witness of the victories as well as defeats of the Armenians through their existence as a people and a nation. Its representation of the A.C.Y.O.A. emblem means that the members of the Organization make the pledge of standing for the ideals for which the Armenian nation has always stood.
- (left hand side) The United States eagle with its wings widespread and star above each wing. The eagle looks proudly into far distances and holds, as usual a batch of arrows. The eagle represents the United States. Its presence on the A.C.Y.O.A. emblem symbolizes the loyalty of the members of the A.C.Y.O.A. to the Constitution of the United States and to its principles of democracy and freedom.
The chain that encircles the cross on the emblem represents solidarity among the members of the A.C.Y.O.A. in their service to God and to people.
These symbols are designed on a shield which stands for the determination with which the objects of the A.C.Y.O.A. are to be carried out. The shield also stands for defense against dangerous encroachments.
It will be noted that the dominating feature of the emblem is the cross. This indicates the fact that Christ is our Lord and that to Him we owe obedience above all.