The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann: 1973–1983
translated by Juliana Schmemann
Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000
(351 pages; $19.95, paper)
reviewed by L. Joseph Letendre
Between his 1951 arrival in New York and his death in 1983, Fr. Alexander Schmemann emerged as one of the best-known Orthodox Christian figures in this country. As dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, he was pivotal in developing that school into a world-class center of Orthodox studies. His scholarly work made him a pioneer in the field of Orthodox liturgical theology and the father of a eucharistic revival within the Orthodox Church. His books and essays, most notably For the Life of the World, drew praise from a wide range of readers, including Thomas Merton. For 30 years, Fr. Schmemann recorded weekly sermons that were broadcast to Russia by Radio Liberty. Most controversially, he was involved in the negotiations that resulted in the “Russian Metropolia” being declared an autocephalous (self-governing) church by the patriarch of Moscow.
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L. Joseph Letendre is the author of the recently published primer When You Pray: A Practical Guide to an Orthodox Life of Prayer. His writing has also appeared in The Reformation and Revival Journal and St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly. He holds an M.Div. from St. Vladimir's Seminary and is a parishioner at All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago.
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