By Agnès Vives
ALFORTVILLE, France (Le Parisien) – The name of Saint Mesrop Mashtots has for a long time been associated with a French-Armenian school named after him in Alfortville, a suburb of Paris. On September 19, his visage appeared on the Place de l’Europe (Europe Square). Mayor Luc Carvounas presided over the inauguration of a 2.25 meter bust in bronze of the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. According to municipal councilor for culture Philippe Car, the idea came from a trip of the mayor to Oshagan, Armenia, last year, which had become the twin city to Alfortville. He there discovered that St. Mesrop was buried in the crypt of the church of Oshagan.
The sculptor Arestakes from that city was entrusted with the task of creating the statue. He confided, “It is a great honor, because I am Armenian and because it is my first production here [in France].” Seeing the magnitude of his task, the artist installed himself in his garage in order to work on the 250 kilograms of earth necessary to create the statue. Without any images of the theologian, Arestakes “imagined” a Mesrop with half-European and half-Armenian features, writing on a parchment with Mt. Ararat behind him. The bust was cast at Candide, in the suburb of Vitry.
(Translated from the French)