Alexander Schmemann

Alexander Schmemann

Overview
Alexander Schmemann was a prominent 20th century Orthodox Christian priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, teacher
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, and writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

.

Schmemann was born in Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 (Reval) Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 to an aristocratic
Russian nobility
The Russian nobility arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the October Revolution of 1917.The Russian word for nobility, Dvoryanstvo , derives from the Russian word dvor , meaning the Court of a prince or duke and later, of the tsar. A nobleman is called dvoryanin...

 family of Russian White émigrés. His family moved to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where he received his university education. He married Juliana Osorguine in 1943, before completing his theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris (where he studied with the noted Russian theologian, Father Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

, amongst others) and was ordained a priest in 1946.

From 1946-51, Fr Schmemann taught church history at St.
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Encyclopedia
Alexander Schmemann was a prominent 20th century Orthodox Christian priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

, teacher
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, and writer
Writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

.

Early life


Schmemann was born in Tallinn
Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 (Reval) Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

 to an aristocratic
Russian nobility
The Russian nobility arose in the 14th century and essentially governed Russia until the October Revolution of 1917.The Russian word for nobility, Dvoryanstvo , derives from the Russian word dvor , meaning the Court of a prince or duke and later, of the tsar. A nobleman is called dvoryanin...

 family of Russian White émigrés. His family moved to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, where he received his university education. He married Juliana Osorguine in 1943, before completing his theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris (where he studied with the noted Russian theologian, Father Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Bulgakov
Fr. Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher and economist. Until 1922 he worked in Russia; afterwards in Paris.-Early life:...

, amongst others) and was ordained a priest in 1946.

Career


From 1946-51, Fr Schmemann taught church history at St. Sergius. He was invited to join the faculty of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, then in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, where he taught from 1951 onwards. When the seminary moved to its present campus in Crestwood, New York in 1962, Fr Schmemann assumed the post of dean, which he would hold until his death. He also served as adjunct professor at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

, Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York is a preeminent independent graduate school of theology, located in Manhattan between Claremont Avenue and Broadway, 120th to 122nd Streets. The seminary was founded in 1836 under the Presbyterian Church, and is affiliated with nearby Columbia...

 and General Theological Seminary
General Theological Seminary
The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church is a seminary of the Episcopal Church in the United States and is located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in New York....

 in New York. Much of his focus at St Vladimir's was on liturgical theology, which emphasizes the liturgical tradition of the Church as a major sign and expression of the Christian faith.

Fr Schmemann was accorded the title of protopresbyter, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a married Orthodox priest. He held honorary degrees from Butler University
Butler University
Butler University is a private university located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Founded in 1855 and named after founder Ovid Butler, the university offers 60 degree programs to 4,400 students through six colleges: business, communication, education, liberal Arts and sciences, pharmacy and health...

, General Theological Seminary, Lafayette College
Lafayette College
Lafayette College is a private coeducational liberal arts and engineering college located in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. The school, founded in 1826 by James Madison Porter,son of General Andrew Porter of Norristown and citizens of Easton, first began holding classes in 1832...

, Iona College
Iona College (New York)
Iona College is located in New Rochelle, New York, 20 miles north of Manhattan in suburban Westchester County. The college occupies 35 acres on North Ave. The college also operates a Graduate Center in Pearl River, Rockland County, New York....

, and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Activities


He was an Orthodox observer for the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 from 1962 to 1965.

He was active in the establishment of the Orthodox Church in America
Orthodox Church in America
The Orthodox Church in America is an autocephalous Eastern Orthodox church in North America. Its primate is Metropolitan Jonah , who was elected on November 12, 2008, and was formally installed on December 28, 2008...

 and in its being granted autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 in 1970.

His sermons were broadcast in Russian on Radio Liberty for 30 years. He gained a broad following of listeners across the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

, who became his friend after emigrating to the West.

Works


Fr Schmemann published many books and articles. For the Life of the World, a popular volume on Christian faith as reflected in liturgy, has been translated into eleven languages. Originally prepared as study guide for the National Student Christian Federation in 1963, it even had an anonymous version published by the underground samizdat
Samizdat
Samizdat was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet bloc in which individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader...

 in the Soviet Union. The Eucharist was finished just before his death. This and several collections of his writings were published posthumously.
  • Great Lent: Journey to Pascha (1969)
  • For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (1970)
  • Liturgy and Life: Christian Development Through Liturgical Experience (1974)
  • Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism (1974)
  • Introduction to Liturgical Theology (1975)
  • The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy (1977)
  • Ultimate Questions: An Anthology of Modern Russian Religious Thought (1977)
  • Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West (1979)
  • The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom (1988)
  • Celebration of Faith: I Believe... (1991)
  • Celebration of Faith: The Church Year (1994)
  • Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary (1995)
  • The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983 (2000)

See also



  • Serge Schmemann
    Serge Schmemann
    -References:...

    , son of Alexander Schmemann
  • Hesychasm
    Hesychasm
    Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, such as the Byzantine Rite, practised by the Hesychast Hesychasm is an eremitic tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and some of the Eastern Catholic Churches,...

  • Essence-Energies distinction
    Essence-Energies distinction
    A real distinction between the essence and the energies of God is a central principle of Eastern Orthodox theology. Eastern Orthodox theology regards this distinction as more than a mere conceptual distinction...

  • Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
    Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite
    Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, also known as Pseudo-Denys, was a Christian theologian and philosopher of the late 5th to early 6th century, the author of the Corpus Areopagiticum . The author is identified as "Dionysos" in the corpus, which later incorrectly came to be attributed to Dionysius...

  • Apotheosis
    Apotheosis
    Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.In theology, the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual has been raised to godlike stature...

  • Theophany
    Theophany
    Theophany, from the Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being, or to a divine disclosure....

  • Michael Pomazansky
    Michael Pomazansky
    Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky was a Russian theologian.He was born in the village of Korist, in the province of Volhynia. His father was Archpriest Ioann Pomazansky who was the son of Father Ioann Ambrosievich. Fr. Michael's mother, Vera Grigorievna, was the daughter of a protodeacon and later...

  • John S. Romanides
    John S. Romanides
    John Savvas Romanides was a Greek Orthodox priest, author and professor who, for a long time, represented the Greek Church to the World Council of Churches. He was born in Piraeus, Greece, on 2 March 1928 but his parents emigrated to the United States when he was only two months old. He grew up in...


  • John Meyendorff
    John Meyendorff
    John Meyendorff was a modern Orthodox scholar, writer and teacher. He was born into the Russian nobility as Ivan Feofilovich Baron von Meyendorff , but was known as Jean Meyendorff during his life in France.Fr John Meyendorff retired as Dean of St Vladimir's Seminary on June 30, 1992...

  • Vladimir Lossky
    Vladimir Lossky
    Vladimir Nikolayevich Lossky was an influential Eastern Orthodox theologian in exile from Russia. He emphasized theosis as the main principle of Orthodox Christianity....

  • sobornost
    Sobornost
    Sobornost is a term coined by the early Slavophiles, Ivan Kireevsky and Aleksey Khomyakov, to underline the need for cooperation between people at the expense of individualism on the basis that the opposing groups focus on what is common between them. Khomyakov believed the West was progressively...

  • Philokalia
    Philokalia
    The Philokalia is a collection of texts written between the 4th and 15th centuries by spiritual masters of the Eastern Orthodox hesychast tradition. They were originally written for the guidance and instruction of monks in "the practise of the contemplative life". The collection was compiled in...

  • Phronema
    Phronema
    Phronema is a transliteration of the Greek word φρόνημα, which has the meanings of "mind", "spirit", "thought", "purpose", "will", and can have either a positive meaning or a bad sense ....

  • Praxis
  • Archimandrite Sophrony
    Archimandrite Sophrony
    Archimandrite Sophrony , also Elder Sophrony, was best known as the disciple and biographer of St Silouan the Athonite and compiler of St Silouan's works, and as the founder of the Patriarchal Stavropegic Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Tolleshunt Knights, Maldon, Essex, England...

  • Symeon the New Theologian
    Symeon the New Theologian
    Symeon the New Theologian was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet who was the last of three saints canonized by the Eastern Orthodox church and given the title of "Theologian"...



External links