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"There is no age to be an orphan": memories and tributes at the funeral of Hélène Carrère d'Encausse

2023-08-11T15:26:18.130Z

Highlights: The funeral of Hélène Carrère was held in Paris on August 11. She was the first woman to be elected to the French Academy. Her family and friends gathered to pay tribute to the woman they called their mother. The funeral took place in the courtyard of the St. Paul's Cathedral in central Paris. The service was attended by members of the public, as well as the family of the deceased. It was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the first French Academy member.


Friday, August 11, in the morning, took place the funeral of the perpetual secretary of the French Academy. Relatives and academicians were present to pay tribute to an "exceptional woman".


It was at the end of an ecumenical mass celebrated in the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris, that an elegant tribute was paid to him. Friday morning, relatives and faithful of Hélène Carrère d'Encausse gathered for the funeral of the perpetual secretary of the French Academy, who died on Saturday, August 5 at the age of 94. Many immortals, including Erik Orsenna, Dominique Bona, Dany Laferrière, François Sureau, Andreï Makine, and other members of the France Institute, made the trip to pay tribute to his memory. Alongside her husband Louis, her grandchildren, and children, the writer Emmanuel Carrère, the doctor Marina Carrère d'Encausse and her sister Nathalie, lawyer.

The religious ceremony was celebrated by Bishop Benoist de Sinety and Father Alexis Struve, representative of the Orthodox Church, familiar to the historian specializing in Russia and the Slavic world. Born stateless to a Georgian father and a mother of German-Russian origin, the young Helene Zourabichvili took Russian language and literature classes at St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the 8th district of the capital. Shortly before taking French nationality in 1950. She heard the songs that resonated in the Catholic building on Friday. It is this story, that of a woman attached to her roots, that her children wanted to tell. All three took the floor, they evoked, among other things, the memory of a mother who, seeing them curling up in one bed when they were little, described with them this organization in the form of a common shelter the kolkhoz. So many anecdotes that misted the eyes of their storytellers and the assembly.

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An exceptional woman

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And how can we not talk about Cardinal Richelieu, the one who was at the origin of the institution headed by Hélène Carrère d'Encausse since 1990? It was in front of her portrait that she was solemnly photographed until recently. And it was in front of this photo that the academicians present, dressed in their green coats, bowed. During the ceremony, Frédéric Vitoux showed his respect for the first woman elected perpetual secretary. With her, he shared this love of the French language and the idea that defending it is today, more than ever, necessary. This, wind standing against the recurrent attacks vis-à-vis the positions taken by the Academy, on inclusive writing or anglicization of the language for example, but also the age of its members. "There is no age to be an orphan," he said.

It was, finally, with the words of the Orthodox choir, "Holy God, Strong God, Immortal God, have mercy on us", that a handful of admirers - including Eduardo Pisani, 19 times candidate for the French Academy - applauded the exit of the coffin. Since 10:30 am, under a blazing sun, they evoked among themselves the memory of the one they had met at least once in their lives. With whom they had engaged even a little conversation. And the observation is collective: "Hélène Carrère d'Encausse was an exceptional woman, of great erudition." A national tribute ceremony, presided over by Emmanuel Macron, will be held in the courtyard of the Invalides at the end of the summer. More will they be able to give thanks to the "great" lady of Quai Conti.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2023-08-11

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