Remembering Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921–1983)


On this 30th Anniversary of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann’s death, our Seminary remembers his life, his work, and his influence on the Church in America.


Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983)Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983)As Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary from 1962–1983, Fr. Alexander formed hundreds of students, providing themFr. Alexander's class notes from "Mary and the Church"Fr. Alexander's class notes from "Mary and the Church" with an understanding of what he termed “liturgical theology”—the study of liturgy as a theological discipline, rather than as a historical or archeological discipline or a mere adherence to the letter of the ecclesiastical Typikon (ordo). Father Alexander approached liturgy as a life-giving source of grace and the knowledge of God, and the many seminarians studying under him subsequently imparted his teaching to thousands of Orthodox Christians in the United States and abroad.

Perhaps the greatest tribute we can offer Fr. Alexander as we remember him on this day of his repose is to make available once again his voice, which still captures and edifies his listeners. We invite you to listen to an audio clip from his lecture, “Mary and Church,” which was part of his Mariology course here at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. In this excerpt, Fr. Alexander is discussing the subject of the Temple in the Old Testament, and in particular, the concept of “Temple” as it developed from Moses to the Prophets. We also invite you to view a PDF of Fr. Alexander’s lecture notes for the same course, written in his own hand and dated October 31, 1977.

This audio file, with its accompanying notes, comprises just a small segment of the numerous books, recordings, and archival materials authored by Fr. Alexander that are held in the seminary library. (Questions on the library’s archives may be directed to Librarian and Archivist Matthew Garklavs: mgarklavs@svots.edu, or 914–961–8313 x334.)

A Memorial Service for Fr. Alexander is scheduled on our campus in Three Hierarchs Chapel, after the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 15, which begins at 9 a.m., and the public is invited. Memory Eternal!

Memorial Service in Three Hierarchs ChapelMemorial Service in Three Hierarchs ChapelRelated Posts and Links

Save the Date! 31st Annual Father Alexander Schmemann Memorial Lecture, January 31, 2014, with The Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, "The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church"

oca.org: The 30th Anniversary of the Repose of Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

Memorial Service, St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields, Moscow, Russia

View the photo gallery of the Memorial Service for Fr. Alexander

schmemann.org: In Memoriam, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

CBS documentary, "The Spirit of St. Vladimir's"