Serge Schmemann reflects on Fr Alexander’s life

Serge Schmemann joins St Nicholas Cathedral participants online

December 13 marked thirty-eight years since the repose in the Lord of St. Vladimir’s Seminary’s former dean and renowned theologian Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (September 13, 1921–December 13, 1983), and 2021 marks 100 years since his birth. In remembrance of Fr. Alexander, St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral in Washington, D.C. invited his son, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Serge Schmemann, to speak about Fr. Alexander’s life and work.

Serge Schmemann began by recounting his last moments with his father and reflecting on a question Fr. Alexander raises in his journals. Noting in his opening entry that he had been a priest and theologian for more than a quarter of a century, Fr. Alexander asked, "What does it all mean?"

"The question is a spiritual one,” Serge remarked, “…but to me, as someone who shared part of his life, there's also the challenge of melding, of combining that question that he raises with a life that really went an incredible long journey, from the poverty and statelessness of an exile and ended up helping shape the new Orthodox Church in the new world.”

Serge Schmemann’s entire reflection on Fr. Alexander may be watched below, courtesy of St. Nicholas Cathedral and Archpriest George Kokhno. The talk was part of the Primatial Cathedral Adult Education program. Serge also spoke for the program last year.

May the memory of Protopresbyter Alexander be eternal!