Cemeteries in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois

Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery

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Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Cemetery, specifically the one known as Cimetière de Liers, as there are two cemeteries in the city, is a Russian Orthodox cemetery, located on Rue Léo Lagrange in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, département Essonne, France.

This local cemetery became Russian Orthodox in 1926 after a group of White Émigres had settled in the Château de la Cossonnerie, originally an 18th-century farm, which had been enlarged at the beginning of the 19th century. It was bought in 1927 by an English benefactress, Dorothy Paget, who set up a retirement home for Russian émigrés there. In 1938-1939 Albert Benois designed the Dormition Church which serves the cemetery.

The cemetery is a burial place for more than 10,000 Russian emigrants, including the Nobel Prize winner Ivan Bunin, the authors Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Zinaida Gippius, Aleksey Remizov, Gaito Gazdanov, Viktor Nekrasov, the painters Konstantin Somov and Zinaida Serebriakova, the dancers Rudolf Nureyev and Serge Lifar, the philosophers Sergei Bulgakov and Nikolai Lossky, the filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, the film actor Ivan Mozzhukhin, the singer Alexander Galich, the politicians Peter Struve and Georgy Lvov, the general Zinovy Peshkov, the courtier Felix Yusupov and his wife Princess Irina of Russia.

Since the 1960s, the municipal authorities have periodically attempted to close the cemetery, claiming that the grounds are needed for public services. There have been reports that some of the graves will be opened and the exhumed remains cremated.[1] As of 2006, the cemetery is not officially considered a landmark and has no legal protection.

As its future remains precarious, several notable Russians — including Anton Denikin, Ivan Ilyin, and Ivan Shmelev — were recently exhumed and reburied in Moscow. The cemetery is closed to new burials. It was only after pressure from the central government that the burial of Nureyev was sanctioned there. His tomb is covered with mosaic decoration to represent a traditional kilim blanket.

References

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  • (Russian) The article in Rossiyskaya Gazeta
  • This article incorporates text translated from as of December 2, 2006.

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9001 Rue Léo Lagrange, 91700 Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, France

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