Lucy Daghlian Personifies Armenian Mother

WASHINGTON—In this year of the Armenian mother, as proposed by the Armenian Apostolic Church, one individual stood out among the rest during the National Representative Assembly (NRA) Convention held during the week of May 12 in our nation’s capital.

Yeretskin Lucy Daghlian is surrounded by family members after a presentation by His Grace Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. (Tom Vartabedian photo)
Yeretskin Lucy Daghlian is surrounded by family members after a presentation by His Grace Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan. (Tom Vartabedian photo)

Throughout her life as a devout yeretskin, Lucy Daghlian served her church and beloved Der Arshag with uncompromising loyalty. She brought five children into the world, all of them college-educated and ethnic strong. She cultivated the world around her with passion.

In every regard, Yeretskin Lucy not only fit the mold, but broke it.

At the NRA banquet, she was toasted as Woman of the Year before a crowd of some 300 guests that filled the hall at Soorp Khatch Church in nearby Bethesda, Md.

The well-guarded secret was revealed when Lucy observed her grandsons scurrying about the premises. “Odd that they might be here,” she thought.

A very touching introduction was rendered by the honoree’s son, John, himself a member of the Prelacy’s Executive Council and an ordained deacon, aside from his years as a trustee at St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown.

“Everything we’ve ever accomplished in life can be traced back to our parents,” said John Daghlian. “Our mother kept us all together with her spirit and strong devotion to God.”

Anyone who knows Lucy Daghlian can attest to her role as matriarch and church yeretskin. Well into their marriage with a family living in Beirut, she was met with the news one day that her mechanic-wise husband had chosen a life of God.

Little did she know at the time that such a venerable service would cover five decades of deep-rooted conviction.

“There was a shortage of priests,” Lucy recalled. “I was amazed but not surprised totally by his decision. I could see the happiness in his eyes.”

Every trial and tribulation of priesthood was exercised as a tandem, along with every joy and celebration.

A stickler for high education, she and Der Hayr weathered many a storm in putting their children through Merrimack College, the same school where Der Arshag also secured a degree while pastoring St. Gregory Church.

The Daghlians never left North Andover, even after Der Arshag’s pastorship there ended after 15 years. She was there another 20 years as her husband maintained a dutiful role as “traveling priest.” One Sunday, Worcester. Another Sunday, Waukegan.

Airports became a way of life for them. Whenever possible, she would accompany her husband to a distant church. Der Arshag wound up serving 19 different congregations for the Eastern Prelacy as far south as Florida and as far west as Illinois and Wisconsin.

Airport food was a fry cry from the delicious Armenian cuisine Lucy would prepare each day for her family. Her sanctuary at home has served as a haven with its abundant horticulture and the many feathered friends and other wildlife at their beckoning call.

These days, it’s not only her own children that bring her pride and joy, but seven grandchildren as well. Both John and Nora (Sarajian) became civil engineers. Houry is a doctor of pharmacy and NRA delegate from St. Stephen’s. Sonia works as an ICU nurse. A fourth daughter Aida Chareth died in 2000 after working as a technical writer.

In accepting her award from Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, you could cut the emotion with a knife as the crowd rose in applause.

Yeretskin Lucy looked over her grateful audience with a gleam in her eye. “It’s all about God and family,” she said. “I’ve been blessed with the greatest gifts of all.”

A token of appreciation was also paid to Mary Garabadian for her active support in the church, along with the youth who have played a prominent role.

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.
Tom Vartabedian

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1 Comment

  1. There could be no better choice for this award and what better year to do it than this which has been proclaimed “Year of the Armenian Mother!”

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