Association internationale de Papyrologues

International Association of Papyrologists

In memoriam Marjo LEHTINEN


Discours prononcé durant l'Assemblée Générale de l'AIP réunie à Helsinki le 7 août 2004
Speech delivered during the General Assembly of the AIP gathered in Helsinki on August 7th, 2004
par - by: Jaakko FRÖSÉN

Our dear friend and colleague, Marjo Lehtinen, was diagnosed with severe cancer at the end of July last year and was lost after less than three months, on Oct. 17, 2003, at the age of 40. She was born in June 5, 1963, in Muhos, Northern Finland. She studied classics with success at the University of Helsinki, earning the highest grade for her Master's thesis in 2001. Her thesis dealt with the prosopography of the 6th century Petra based on the carbonised papyrus archive found in the Petra church in 1993.

Beginning in 1994, Marjo devoted her life to the conservation and publication of the Petra papyri. As a single, she was able to spend long times in Jordan and she soon became a central figure in the group of Finnish and American papyrologists who struggled to reconstruct and decipher the Byzantine Greek documents. Her expertise with the brittle material and her thorough knowledge of their contents is impossible to replace. She called the carbonised papyri her "babies" and knew their contents almost by heart. She was able to see only the first volume of the Petra Papyri published, but her achievements will be reflected in all the succeeding volumes.

Over the past decade, Marjo spent so much time in Amman that ACOR - American Center of Oriental Research - became her second home. In ACOR, her closest colleagues as well as the broader scholarly community residing there were able to enjoy her company and her wonderful somewhat peculiar sense of humor. Marjo touched the lives of so many scholars from around the world, of papyrologists, archaeologists, anthropologists, and of many others, and she will be greatly missed by all.

Marjo never wanted to take anything for granted, and she had a very private, independent, even perfectionist way of working. She also had a very strong sense of duty and of justice. We shall miss her even more as a friend than as a colleague. All of us in Helsinki feel that the best way to honor Marjo's memory is to bring the publication project of the Petra Papyri to a successful conclusion.