BY LORD ARA DARZI
It is with great sadness that we announce that at the age of 82, one of our beloved community members, Mrs Dikranouhi Darzi, has passed away. The funeral service took place on 16th February at St Sarkis Church where Darzi was an active member of the congregation.
Members, friends and relatives of the Darzi family were present to give their last tributes and respects in memory of the late Dikranouhi Darzi, among them the Armenian Ambassador Dr Armen Sarkissian, and Mrs Nune Sarkissian.
The prayer service was led by Bishop Armash Nalbandian, the visiting Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Damascus. Anais Heghoyan, Aris Nadirian and Sipan Hakopyan sang Armenian sharagans (hymns) during the service accompanied on the organ by Deacon Artur Bobikyan.
During the service Mrs Darzi’s grandchildren Tania, Freddie and Nina assisted the clergy reading Psalms and the Epistles.
Bishop Hovakim Manukyan read a letter of condolence letter from His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, addressed to Lord Ara Darzi and his family on the sad occasion of the passing of their beloved mother. After the final prayer, the eulogy was read by Lord Ara Darzi. Sharing his thoughts, Lord Darzi said: “As I stand here today, I know that no words can do justice to the fullness of my mum’s life. In these few words, I simply hope that I can capture something of the essence of a woman whose force was so powerful in all our lives. Mum was the strongest woman I’ve ever known. A great, strong, proudly Armenian lady. The essence of who she was continued to shine through even in these last months. Her tender charm, her unwavering resolve and her gracious pride never faltered. … She kept all of us going, always looking forward, as our family moved from Iraq and finally settled here in London in the 1970s. No matter where our family were to be found, our heart and soul will always remain Armenian.
Mum’s own strength was drawn from the deep well of Armenia’s ancient history and vibrant culture. How she loved to visit Yerevan! With every trip she was filled with excitement at seeing the friends and the country that she loved so dearly. She showed her commitment in her dedicated attendance at church. It was her one great regret in this past year that she was too physically frail to travel to Yerevan and take the Holy Communion with her friends. We are grateful, however, to His Grace for his caring support in bringing this to her at home. Mum was determined that her children would show no less commitment either to church or to culture than she did. She made sure I was a choir boy, and that Vilma and I had Armenian tutors to maintain our language and our deep knowledge of Armenia.”
Dikranouhi Samuel Hagopian Darzi was born in Baghdad on 8th October 1934. She was the second youngest out of six children. Her grandparents and parents emigrated from Armenia to Persia, and then onto Baghdad, where Dicky was born. As a young girl she developed a love for Armenian poetry and enjoyed reciting it at her Armenian school functions. Singing was another of her talents. She particularly enjoyed all the old Armenian troubadour songs.
In Baghdad, Dicky led a very active life promoting the role of Armenian women in local communities and society. She was president of the Armenian Women’s Society, and a prominent committee member of the Regina Nursing Home. She was actively involved in charitable work and fundraising helping the Armenian community and its church. On arrival in England she became a member of the Armenian Relief Society. She married Vartkes in 1959 and had two children, Ara and Vilma, and three grandchildren. On arrival in London she developed a variety of newfound hobbies. She was a talented porcelain painter with a special interest in painting religious icons. She also had a passion for playing bridge, which became a central part of her life. May God rest her soul.