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04 December 2018

Celebrations for Saint Barbara's Day

©Direction de la Communication/Michael Alesi

On 4 December, a day of celebration was held by the Monaco Fire and Emergency Service, in honour of Saint Barbara, its patron saint.

A religious ceremony was celebrated at the Parish Church of Saint Nicolas, presided over by Father Penzo, chaplain of the Military Force, by Monsignor Barsi, Archbishop of Monaco, Monsignor Paris, Vicar General, Fabrice Gallo, Chancellor and Canon Di Leo, the parish priest, in the presence of the Authorities. The organist Franck Barbut provided the accompaniment for this service, with singers Manuela Zulberti (soprano) and Massimo Laguardia (tenor). During the service, a new wooden carving of Saint Barbara was blessed by Monsignor Barsi.

In the presence of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and, notably, the Minister of State and the Ambassador of France to Monaco, a bronze statue, created in honour of firefighters from the Principality's Fire and Emergency Service who died in action during the First World War, was unveiled in the Place du Campanin, in the immediate vicinity of the Fontvieille fire station.

On the initiative of Colonel Tony Varo, former Chief of the Fire and Emergency Service, now Supreme Commander of the Military Force, with the support of the SOciété pour la GEstion des Droits d'Auteurs (SOGEDA) (Society for the Management of Authors' Rights) and the Department of Urban Amenities, this statue was commissioned from the Monegasque sculptor Blaise Devissi, who gave it to his country.

The statue was created on a human scale and depicts a firefighter leaving for the front. With a last glance at the barracks, he reaches France, holding his rifle in his left hand, and lays down his jacket and firefighter's helmet with his right hand. On the ground lie his axe and a fire hose.

A plaque bearing the names of the fourteen firefighters who gave their lives for France in the First World War, which was once affixed in the courtyard of the Condamine barracks, was placed next to this statue.

Following a speech by the Chief of the Fire and Emergency Service, Lieutenant-Colonel Norbert Fassiaux, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince was presented with a "Little Firefighter Leon," in memory of this day.

In the late afternoon, Colonel Fringant, who ceased his duties as Supreme Commander of the Military Force in September 2018 and was appointed First Aide-de-Camp to H.S.H. the Prince, presented his souvenir book, "L'ultime salut du Colonel Luc Fringant" ("Colonel Luc Fringant's Last Salute"), to non-commissioned officers of the Fire and Emergency Service. The Service's traditional meal was held during the day, in the presence of former members.

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