Archbishop Anoushavan and the Religious and Executive Councils learned with sorrow of the passing of businessman and philanthropist Haig Didizian on January 17 in London.
Haig Didizian was born in 1930 in Jerusalem to a family of Armenian Genocide survivors. After attending Sts. Tarkmanchatz School, he went on to St. George’s British School in the Holy City. In 1947 he attended the American University of Beirut, a city where a few months later he was joined by his family.
In 1952, Mr. Didizian joined his father in the recycled clothing business. By the mid-1960s he had expanded the business into military clothing and footwear, which were supplied to various governments. It was around this time that he also ventured into other fields, including manufacturing and distribution of food.
He married Elza Azirian in 1964 and they had three children. With the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon, they moved to Switzerland in 1975 and then to London, which became their permanent home thereafter.
Mr. Didizian generously gave back to the community since very early into his career as a businessman, helping orphans, poor children, and poor families. He made important contributions to the Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia and to the Eastern Prelacy. Haig and Elza Didizian commissioned and sponsored the multi-volume “Karekin I Theological and Armenological Studies Series,” edited by Dr. Vazken Ghougassian (Armenian version) and Iris Papazian (English version). They also undertook the building of two theological centers aimed at furthering the education of the clergy in Holy Echmiadzin and at the St. Nersess Seminary campus in Armonk, New York, the safekeeping of St. Gregory Armenian Church in Singapore, and with other fellow Armenians, the Armenian Church of Holy Resurrection (built in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1781) and the Armenian Church of St. John the Baptist (built in Yangon, Myanmar, in 1862. They also sponsored the construction of a Scout Association House for young Armenians in Buenos Aires, Argentina, among many other achievements.
On behalf of the Religious and Executive Councils, Archbishop Anoushavan had a telephone call with Mrs. Didizian and extended condolences to the Didizian family, praying for Haig Didizian. May God illuminate his soul.