Protopresbyter Alexander and Matushka Juliana Schmemann

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Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983)


Matushka Juliana Schmemann (born Ossorguine) (1923-2017)

Alexander may be spelt Aleksander, Aleksandr, Alexandr.

Juliana may be spelt Julianna.

Together with his twin brother Andrei Dimitrievitch, Alexander Dimitrievitch Schmemann was born on 13 September, 1921, in Tallinn (Reval), Estonia, into a family of German ancestry whose members had previously been in the service of the Russian Empire in Saint Petersburg. His grandfather had been a senator and a member of the State Council of the Russian Empire, and his father had been an officer of the Imperial Life-Guards, in Saint Petersburg. When he was a child, at the age of seven, his family moved to Paris, France. There, he attended church at the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on the rue Daru, and he served in the Altar under Metropolitan Evlogii (Georgiyevsky). It was certainly at this time that he began seriously to love the solemnity, dignity and mystery of Orthodox worship.

In Paris, Alexander Dimitrievitch was educated in the Russian Military School, the “Lycée Carnot” and the “Gymnase Russe”. During his days in Paris, poverty and primitive living conditions were the characteristics of his life : throughout his student years, after marriage, and during his early teaching years.


Father Alexander and Matushka Juliana

Alexander attended church services at the Saint Alexander Nevsky cathedral on the rue Daru, and he served in the Altar under Metropolitan Evlogii (Georgievsky). It is quite certain that it was at this time that he began more maturely to love the solemnity, dignity and mystery of Orthodox worship. Already by the age of 15, he had heard Father Sergius Bulgakov preach and lecture, and with the beginning of the World War II, he entered Saint Sergius Theological Institute of Paris (1940-1945). He stayed for the next 12 years, first as a student and later as a lecturer. The years of World War II and the German occupation of France were very difficult years, to say the least. Conditions during and after the war were abysmal in the seminary, and the students and staff were frequently cold and hungry. However, Alexander was providentially sheltered to some extent from the tragedies of war. Nevertheless, the teaching was of the highest order, and the teachers amongst the finest the Orthodox world had known for many years. There was Father Sergius Bulgakov, whom Alexander deeply loved and admired, although he never shared in his sophiological speculations. There was also Professor A V Kartashev, who inspired him with his first love of church history. He also supervised him in his master’s degree thesis on Byzantine theocracy, and also in his research into the Council of Florence and Saint Mark of Ephesus.

Amongst his other teachers was Father Cyprian Kern who, as well as introducing him to the idea of liturgical theology, was his spiritual father. It was in Father Cyprian’s parish church of Clamart that Alexander was to serve after his ordination to the Holy Priesthood. Father Nicholas Afanas’ev was another teacher to whom Alexander always felt a debt of gratitude for his application of a eucharistic approach to theology.


In 1943, Alexander D Schmemann married Juliana Sergeevna Ossorguine, then a student in classics at the Sorbonne and a member of a traditional, Church-oriented Russian family. Her grandfather was Archpriest Michael Osorgin (1861—1939) who ministered to Russian exiles at the home church of Saints Constantine and Helen in Clamart, near Paris. Juliana S Ossorguine had been born on 6 October, 1923, in Baden-Baden, Germany, where her family, the Ossorguines, found themselves after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. She is a descendant of Saint Juliana of Lazarevo who lived in Murom, in the Vladimir province, and who reposed in 1604. Her family had previously lived to the south of Moscow. From Baden-Baden, her family soon moved to Paris. There, she she attended and graduated from the “Collège Sainte-Marie-de-Neuilly” (founded by Madeleine Daniélou), in the western suburbs of Paris. Afterwards, she earned a licence ès lettres degree in classics at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. As she said :

 Both of us had been brought up on the one hand in the enduring idealistic structures of Old Russia, 
 with the whole of life patterned on the rhythms of the Church, her feast days, on that Russian 
 heritage and tradition which implied obligations of loyalty and of service; while, on the other 
 hand, we lived in the world of Voltaire, of Verlaine and Proust, of Parisian beauty and the phantom 
 past of Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  And in the midst of these varied influences came my meeting 
 on the church steps, at the age of seventeen, with a nineteen-year-old seminarist, the very day he 
 entered the St Sergius Theological Institute: ‘Pleased to meet you ... and do bear in mind that I 
 have no intention of becoming a monk!’  The same evening he remarked to someone that he had just 
 met his future wife.  

Wedding S.jpg Arriving for the blessing of the marriage

It became quite clear in those years, to all his friends and acquaintances, that Alexander had found his true vocation, and also that God had blessed him with a successful marriage and family life. The inspiration and joy that he knew in his life contributed much to the power with which, in all later years, he was able to communicate to others.

The "Institut Saint-Serge" in Paris had gathered a somewhat heterogeneous but remarkable faculty, which included representatives of the old theological establishment of pre-Revolutionary Russia (Anton V Kartashev), intellectuals who came to Orthodoxy during the revolution (V V Zenkovsky) and former students from Belgrade (Father Cyprian Kern, Father Nicolas Afanassieff). The school was still dominated by the personality of Father Sergius Bulgakov, a former Russian seminarian, then a Marxist philosopher and finally (through the influence of Vladimir Soloviev and Paul Florensky) a priest and a theologian. During the war years at Saint-Serge, the students were few, but the enthusiasm and the hopes for an Orthodox revival remained strong.

Never attracted by the "sophiological" speculations of Bulgakov (for whom he nevertheless had the greatest personal respect), Alexander Schmemann was primarily seeking specialisation in the area of Church history. He became a pupil of A V Kartashev, whose brilliant lectures and skeptical mind matched Alexander Schmemann’s own tendency to critical analysis of reality around him. The result was a "candidate’s thesis" (equivalent to an MDiv) on Byzantine theocracy. Having completed the 5-year programme of studies at Saint-Serge in 1945, Alexander Schmemann became an instructor in Church History, first as a layman, then as a priest.

Ordinations ; pastoral service

In 1946, he was ordained to the Holy Diaconate, and then to the Holy Priesthood by Archbishop Vladimir (Tikhonitsky), who was heading the Russian Exarchate of Western Europe under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

At-saint-serge S.jpg Early days after ordination to the Holy Priesthood

The Priest Alexander Schmemann was assigned to serve in the Russian parish in Clamart, a suburb of Paris. Besides his pastoral duties there, from 1946–1951, he taught Church History at the “Institut Saint-Serge” in Paris. He was already recognised as a leading exponent of Orthodox liturgical theology, which sees the liturgical tradition of the Church as a major sign and expression of the Christian Faith.

In his teachings and writings, he sought to demonstrate (amongst other things) the close links amongst Christian theology, Christian liturgy, and Christian living.

Transfer to the USA ; teaching ; pastoral service

After Father Georges Florovsky had gone to be the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 1949, Father Alexander was invited 2 years later to join the faculty of this seminary, which was at that time situated in cramped quarters in several apartments near Columbia University in New York City (Manhattan). He began to teach there from 1951 onwards. He was joined soon by Professor Serge S Verhovskoy (1952, +1986), and later Father John Meyendorff (1959, +1992), who moved from Paris to New York to teach at Saint Vladimir's.

Upon moving to New York City, Father Alexander and his family also began to visit the summer-home of Prince Serge Troubetzkoy and his family north of Montréal, at Lac Labelle, Québec. There, during the summer, he began serving in the newly-constructed chapel next to the Troubetzkoy home. He was, therefore, the first rector of the Chapel of Saint Sergius in Labelle (1951-1983). There, also, the Schmemann family established a permanent summer residence nearby the Troubetzkoy home. Besides his service in Labelle, Father Alexander was often asked to speak in various parishes and institutions and at retreats across Canada. Always, there was good fruit that developed from these personal encounters with him.

Almost from the time of his arrival in the USA, Father Alexander became involved with the ecclesiastical administration of the Russian Greek Orthodox Church in North America ("Metropolia", as it was popularly known). This involvement was natural, and completely in harmony both with the practical needs of the time, and with his theological understanding.

Upon their arrival, Matushka Juliana began a long teaching career at the Chapin School, the Spence School, and the Brearley School.

Dean of Saint Vladimir's

When the seminary moved to its present campus in Crestwood, New York, in 1962, Father Alexander was assigned to be the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, a responsibility which he would fulfil until the day of his repose in Christ. When the seminary moved from Manhattan to Tuckahoe-Crestwood, Father Alexander and his family moved to a house on Hollywood Avenue, within walking-distance of the seminary. Father Alexander took every aspect of his service seriously. He cared for the seminary as for his family. The words following this are concerned with his academic recognition and with his writings. However, at the same time that he was writing and teaching, Father Alexander was very much concerned with the personal situation of each student, and with the condition of the buildings in which the students lived, prayed and studied. He would say words to the effect that people may consider it very prestigious that he is the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s, but in fact, every time he turned around, it seemed that he was confronted with trouble with the plumbing in the buildings.

SVS faculty in 1950s.jpg Early days at Saint Vladimir's Seminary with faculty

With-children-in-ny S.jpg Matushka Juliana with the children in the 1950s in New York

In addition to his responsibility as the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s, Father Alexander served as adjunct professor at Columbia University, at New York University, at Union Theological Seminary and at General Theological Seminary in New York. Much of his focus in teaching at Saint Vladimir’s was on liturgical theology, as well as Church history. As part of his service to the Central Church Administration, Father Alexander was active as a representative of the Orthodox Church in the so-called ecumenical movement, in that he held positions in the Youth Department and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

Father Schmemann was given honourary doctoral degrees from Butler University, General Theological Seminary, Lafayette College, Iona College, and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

Father Alexander was sent by the Holy Synod of Bishops to be an Orthodox observer for sessions of the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church from 1962 to 1965.


Father Schmemann was active in the establishment of The Orthodox Church in America and in its being granted autocephaly by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1970. He was also instrumental (together with Father John Meyendorff and others) in helping the Church develop an operating structure that reflected first the normal Orthodox Christian ecclesiology and canonical tradition, and then also the necessary elements required by civil law for corporate entities. He served as an advisor to the Holy Synod of Bishops and to the Metropolitan Council of the OCA. Likewise, his wife Juliana served for very many years as an elected member of the Metropolitan Council.

Father Schmemann was elevated to the dignity of protopresbyter, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a married Orthodox priest in The Orthodox Church in America. This title is conferred upon only a very few clergy in the OCA.


Archpriest Alexander Schmemann serving in the old chapel

Father Schmemann always remained concerned with the fate of believers in the Soviet Union. Father Alexander’s sermons were broadcast weekly in Russian on Radio Liberty for 30 years. He gained a broad following of listeners across the Soviet Union. Amongst these was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who became his friend after he emigrated to the West in 1974.

In 1975, Father Alexander Schmemann wrote an article regarding the celebration of the bicentennial of the arrival in Alaska of the first missionary monks from Valaam Monastery. This article was entitled “To Love is to Remember”. The opening words of this article serve as a vehicle to help to describe him personally. He wrote :

 To love is to remember.  And to remember with love is truly to understand that which one loves and 
 remembers, to appropriate it as God’s gift.   

Matushka Juliana Schmemann spent her whole married life with Father Alexander in supporting his work and service. She, herself, gave a clear example of how a Christian lives a life of service. It is true that how she served and serves has a distinct character from that of her husband, but her service is and was completely complementary to his service. As they walked hand-in-hand through life, as they prayed hand-in-hand (as it were) through life, they worked hand-in-hand as well. They nurtured their own family. They nurtured the administration of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary. They nurtured the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood amongst the members of the faculty and staff. They nurtured the sense of family and community amongst the students and their families. They built a living Christian family in the seminary. As with the wives of other faculty members, it was necessary that Juliana work outside the home for the sake of the family economy. Juliana was a competent teacher.

So much was this so that in 1977, Matushka Juliana became the 9th Headmistress of the Spence School (for girls) on East 91st Street in New York City. She served in this capacity only from 1977-1981. This service could have been for a rather longer time ; but by 1981, Matushka Juliana had contracted a very serious illness which caused her to withdraw from this work because of the treatments for the illness. She recovered, by God’s mercy, but it would not be long before she would be left widowed. She, however, has never ceased regarding herself as married to her husband, and she continues to mark every anniversary of their marriage more than 70 years ago. However, once she had recovered, Matushka Juliana joined the faculty of Brearley, where she remained until her retirement. Matushka Juliana was warmly remembered by many generations of women to whom she taught French and Russian, and to whom she was always “Madame Schmemann”. The French government awarded Matushka Juliana the Palme d’Argent medal for service to French culture.

Father Alexander Schmemann was a gifted teacher. He was able to inspire love for Jesus Christ and for the Church in his hearers, no matter how young or how old they might be. Everything that he did in his life of service in Christ’s Church was inspired by and founded in the love and joy that flowed from Christ to him and through him. As a young man in Paris, he would teach young people, and rooms would overflow with youth who were eager to hear him. The same reaction was expressed by others who heard him in North America and elsewhere. This was the case in catechetical classes for children near the Troubetzkoy home by Lac Labelle, Québec. This was the case in classes of seminary students. This was also the case in the hungry listeners to Radio Liberty broadcasts in the Soviet Union. The love and joy of Jesus Christ showed. It showed in his care for the bishops he served on different occasions, and in his pastoral care for the many students who would telephone him to ask for help and advice after their graduation.

Alexander, Juliana Schmemann and Solzhenitsyn

Father Alexander Schmamann, Matushka Juliana, Alexander Sozhenitsyyn

Father Alexander had a particular insight into the ways in which Orthodox Christian influences can be seen in the writings of great Russian authors. He loved to show his students such evidence in writers such as Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and how it was different in each. Our Orthodox Faith influences our whole life. Father Alexander’s personal formation and attitude towards life was rather similar to that of his wife, as may be seen in this following interview (in "St. Nina Quarterly", 1998) with Matushka Juliana, conducted by her daughter, Matushka Mary (Masha) Tkachuk :

 Joy, Gratitude, Freedom
 Masha Tkachuk: Although you have spent more than half your life in North America, your childhood 
 and youth were spent in Paris, where you grew up and were educated.  How did your life as an 
 Orthodox Christian mix with your secular education?  Were the two completely separate, or did your 
 Orthodoxy influence the direction that your education took?
 Juliana Schmemann: My education was anything but secular.  I was educated in a prominent 
 Catholic boarding school, headed by the mother of (later) Cardinal Jean Daniélou.  The school had 
 been founded as a very liberal, yet thoroughly Catholic center for women.  From an early age we 
 were made to realize the strength and potential influence of women in society, in the Church, in 
 the world of culture.  This Catholic upbringing did nothing to undermine my Orthodox faith.  On the 
 contrary, it enforced the universal character of the Orthodox faith in contrast to the strictly 
 ethnic and often parochial character of my home parish in the suburbs of Paris.  It gave me, at an 
 early age, a detailed knowledge of Church history and liturgics and an intense desire to continue, 
 in my own Church, the great teachings of Eucharist-centredness, tolerance, questioning, and total 
 M.T.: Your education led you to become an educator.  For a number of years you were the head of a 
 very large girls’ private school in New York City.  Did you feel free to make use of your beliefs 
 as an Orthodox Christian in your leadership of a large secular educational institution? 
 J.S.: Feel free? I was always free to be myself and never felt the need to compromise with my 
 girls.  Had I lied, they would have known it! Joy of life, respect for life, to live rather than 
 cope with life, life as a gift – these were the things that I talked about with my agnostic, 
 atheistic, falsely liberal students.  I remember so many conversations with older girls trying 
 to pull them to a higher way of thinking, having very little in common with them as far as dogmas, 
 rites, traditions were concerned.  But I felt completely at ease in taking them from love, poetry, 
 history, real joy, a respect for truth, to the evidence of eternal life, the evidence of a Lord, 
 the Lord, the open-ended striving for a simpler, better life, for what is real and true.  
 M.T.: Since the death of Father Alexander Schmemann, you have travelled extensively, addressing 
 the concerns of Orthodox Christian women in this troubled secular world.  What concerns have you 
 encountered most often, and how did you attempt to address these concerns? 
 J.S.: Most of the time women wanted to know what should be their role in the Church.  That question 
 troubled me, since I think that playing a role is not a Christian way of looking at one’s life.  
 Did Mary think of her ‘role’, her ‘rights’, her ‘privileges’? Women are often quite confused about 
 the way the Church views them.  In fact, in the Church’s tradition, beginning with the Virgin Mary, 
 women have a unique and most beautiful place.  There are the Myrrhbearers with their total 
 dedication, love, and faithfulness; Martha and Mary who knew the one thing needed and chose it; the 
 Samaritan woman who experienced the joy of faith at her encounter with Jesus.  The Church is us – 
 now.  The ethos of the world changes, evolves, so do ways of dressing, appearances, but the total 
 gift of self by women, as well as by men, is where it starts.  Dedicating one’s talents and 
 faithful service to the Lord are the responsibility of all.  
 Whatever the needs of the Church are, or the demands of the job, or of the family, or of the 
 parish, that is where the woman (as well as the man!) serves, in whatever capacity that she is 
 called to serve.  Since ordination [to the priesthood] is not an option, there are so many other 
 ways to use one’s talents, not by playing a role, but by being a role model, by giving oneself.  
 What should be nurtured is the unique gift of womanhood, of a woman who follows Mary’s living 
 M.T.: What do you feel has been your contribution to Orthodox Christians today?
 J.S.: What I wish that my contribution may have been, is to have given women a feeling of 
 intense joy in being women, without rancour, comparisons, needless speculations, but with a sense 
 of gratitude in being themselves and in giving, endlessly giving . . . . 
 M.T.: Gratitude! How well I know that word! 
 J.S.: Indeed, gratitude is the only possible answer to God’s gift to us: the gift of His Son, of 
 life, of the world.  “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good”.  
 Whatever our life is like, our occupation, our beliefs, how can there be anything but an 
 enormous surge of gratitude? Yes, I know: suffering, inadequacies, unfairness, et cetera; but also 
 a firm belief that essentially the world is good, very good . . . and that the Lord is good, and 
 that it is good to be here . . . . 
 M.T.: Hanging on your kitchen bulletin board is J. W. Krutch’s quotation, ‘Joy comes easier the 
 more often one is joyous.’  Can you expand on that beautiful thought? 
 J.S.: Joy is not light-hearted laughter – it is an effort, a daily exercise of seeing the beauty 
 of one’s life, through thick and thin; of singing ‘Alleluia!’ on a happy day as well as on one’s 
 dying day.  And then truly ‘joy comes easier the more often one is joyous!’ Joy then becomes a 
 habit, an attitude, a state of being.  
 M.T.: Joy and gratitude are certainly two words that I have heard from your lips throughout the 
 years.  Another word is freedom.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on freedom to conclude our 
 dialogue today. 
 J.S.:  Freedom.  The world advocates freedom for women, total freedom.  Christ advocated freedom 
 of the spirit: ‘“For freedom Christ has set us free.  Stand fast, therefore, and do not submit 
 again to a yoke of slavery”’ (Galatians 5:1).  Among many other goals, I hope for women to 
 possess a free vision of their life, of the Church, of their allegiance to Christ – through total 
 freedom of choice, of love, of free acceptance, of humble obedience.  
 Freedom in choosing the kind of job that would not interfere with one’s beliefs.  Freedom in 
 having a partner/husband, with whom one would share one’s convictions and faith, with whom one 
 would find respect, love, and communion.  Freedom instilled in children, along with respect and 
 trust for authority.  Freedom: much more difficult than blind obedience to rules.  Free and 
 humble loving acceptance of Christ, His teaching, and His Church.

 M.T.: I’m so glad that you shared your thoughts with us, those thoughts and beliefs that I grew up 
 with and that I try in my own life to carry in my heart and in my actions.  Thank you! 

During the last several years of his life, a major construction project was begun. It centred on the construction of the new Three Hierarchs Chapel, which was dedicated in 1983, and a new building for classrooms, the bookstore, and offices. For the duration of the construction, weekday services in the seminary were offered under improvised conditions in the solarium of the old main building. On weekends, the services were offered also under improvised conditions in the nearby Roman Catholic parish church.

It was during these years that Father Alexander discovered that he had cancer, for which he was treated, but without cure. However, he lived to see the completion of the chapel and its dedication. He was at peace, and full of the joy of Christ to the end.

During the very last days of his suffering, even though Father Alexander was at peace, he was not without his painful struggles. Such are the effects of cancer. Students at that time report that the weather at the time of his death was incomparable. There were periods of heavy storms alternating with periods of sun and calm. Later, it was understood that these variation coincided with the times when Father Alexander was suffering greatly, and times when he was not. Two students also reported that just after the time of his repose, their lampadas before their icons in their rooms lit spontaneously, without the aid of matches.

Repose of Father Alexander

The Protopresbyter Alexander D Schmemann reposed in Christ on 13 December, 1983, at his home in Crestwood, New York. The funeral services were offered at the new Three Hierarchs Chapel of the seminary, and they were led by Metropolitan Theodosius (Lazor). Afterwards, his body was taken to be interred in the Cemetery of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania.

Matushka Schemmen Thank You Page 1 S.jpg Thank-you letter to students

After the repose of her husband, Matushka Juliana Schmemann continued to live and to work as she had previously done. She eventually moved to Montréal, Québec, in order to live in a logement (apartment) in the next building to her daughter and son-in-law, the Archpriest John and Mary Tkachuk. In this city, she actively participated in the life of the Parish of the Sign of the Theotokos (which had been founded by her son-in-law and daughter. From there, she travelled extensively, as she gave many talks and lectures, led retreats, and participated in meetings. Always, her concern was the welfare of The Orthodox Church in America. Her personal relationship with the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, continued to develop, and she would annually spend periods of time living and praying with the nuns there. The monastery is also close to the residence of her daughter Anna, and her husband, the Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko.

Matushka Juliana.jpg Matushka Juliana in retirement

With-children-and-their-spouses-in-2013 S.jpg Matushka Juliana, the children and spouses in 2013

In October, 2014, because of increasing years and diminished physical strength, Matushka Juliana Schmemann moved (along with her daughter Mary and her husband) to Bronxville, New York. Nearby, she entered a residence for seniors, at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York, and she continued to live in a similar fashion, as much as possible.

Repose of Matushka Juliana

On Sunday, 29 January, 2017, Matushka Juliana Schmemann fell asleep in the Lord in Riverdale, New York. Her repose was on the eve of her wedding anniversary (which she had continued to keep annually). The funeral service was offered at Holy Trinity Church in Yonkers in the evening of 2 Feburary, and the Memorial Divine Liturgy was served there the day following. Afterwards, her body was interred beside that of her husband at Saint Tikhon's Monastery Cemetery.

Main Writings by Father Alexander Schmemann :

Father Alexander 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” in the Soviet Union. “The Eucharist” was finished just before his repose. This, and several collections of his writings were published posthumously.

“Celebration of Faith, vol. 1: I Believe...” (1991).

“Celebration of Faith, vol. 2: The Church Year” (1994).

“Celebration of Faith, vol. 3: The Virgin Mary” (1995).

“Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West” (1979).

“The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom” (1988).

“For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy” (1970).

“Great Lent: Journey to Pascha” (1969; revised ed. 1974).

“The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy” (1963).

“Introduction to Liturgical Theology” (1961).

“The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann” 1973–1983 (2000).

“Liturgy and Life: Christian Development Through Liturgical Experience” (1974).

”Liturgy and Tradition: Theological Reflections of Alexander Schmemann”, edited by Thomas Fisch (2003).

“Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism” (1974).

“Ultimate Questions: An Anthology of Modern Russian Religious Thought” (1977).

Articles :

Fr. Schmemann Addresses Antiochian Archdiocesan Convention in Toronto. "The Orthodox Church", November 1983, p. 2, available at :

“Apostleship and America”, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 12th Orthodox Education Day, 1979, available at :

“Between Utopia and Escape”, Lecture delivered in Delaware, 22 March, 1981, Available at : [1]

‘On the Question of Liturgical Practices, A Letter to My Bishop’, available at : Also published in “St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly”, vol. 17, no. 3, 1973, pp. 239-243.

‘The Problems of Orthodoxy in America’ (1964), available on the internet at “Jacob's Well”, the OCA web-site of the Diocese of New York & New Jersey , at : :

I. ‘The Canonical Problem’, in “St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly”, vol. 8, no. 2, 1964, pp. 67-85.

II. ‘The Liturgical Problem’, in “St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly”, vol. 8, no. 4, 1964, pp. 164-185, and available at :

III. ‘The Spiritual Problem’, in “St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly”, vol. 9 , no. 4, 1965, pp. 171-193.

‘A permanent home for St. Vladimir’s: An Editorial’, in “St. Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly”, vol. 5, no. 4, Winter 1961, p. 2, and available at :

Further reading :

Garrett, Paul, ‘Fr Alexander Schmemann: A Chronological Bibliography’, in “SVTQ” vol. 28, 1984, pp. 11-26.

Meyendorff, John, ‘Postscript: A Life Worth Living’, in “Liturgy and Tradition: Theological Reflections of Alexander Schmemann” (Crestwood, NY : SVS Press, 2003), pp. 145-154.

Mills, William C., “Church, World, and Kingdom: The Eucharistic Foundations of Alexander Schmemann's Pastoral Theology” (Chicago, IL : Liturgy Training Publications, 2012), ISBN-13: 978-1595250384.

Morrill, Bruce T., “Anamnesis as Dangerous Memory: Political and Liturgical Theology in Dialogue” (Collegeville, MN : The Liturgical Press, 2000), ISBN 978-0814661833.

Schmemann, Juliana, Dumoulin-Tregubov, Anna, “The Joy to Serve” (Montréal, QC : Alexander Press, 2009).

Schmemann, Juliana, “My Journey With Father Alexander” (Orthodoxy In Dialogue With The Modern World, Volume 4) (Montréal, QC : Alexander Press, 2007).

 Excerpts from an essay by Shamassey Mary Honoré 
 (wife of an Antiochian deacon and student)
 (The essay was circulated to alumni in 2017, and based on having seen a brick from Saint Platon's 
 Seminary in Minneapolis.)
 I took [my two young sons] to go visit Matushka Juliana (Schmemann) at her assisted-living facility 
 about a mile from St. Vladimir's. I was a little nervous, to say the least, as it isn't every day 
 one introduces oneself and boyish kin to a 91-year-old stranger who, together with her husband, is 
 the stuff of legend in the American Orthodox world. When I got to her room, I happily discovered 
 there her daughter Masha, who informed me that today was, in fact, Matushka's 92nd birthday!!
 Matushka Juliana was sweet and fiery. She loved seeing the boys. After a few minutes of small talk, 
 who should walk in to wish birthday greetings but Matushka Marie Meyendorff! It was kind of 
 surreal, sitting there with the now aged and white-haired matriarchs of not just the OCA (the 
 jurisdiction), but of THE Orthodox Church in America (not the jurisdiction). What an image, right 
 here in front of me! I was in awe to see it, myself a young mom with my babies, from the very 
 theological institution that each of their husbands had governed, nurtured, loved, and lived 
 decades before. And this commonality they shared was, of course, established on a much firmer 
 foundation: that of being refugees and strangers in a new land, where they came to nurture and 
 share their great love of Christ and His Church. The matriarchs mostly talked together while they 
 held hands and sat chatting in Russian.
 It was crazy to think about afterward, and I came home feeling a bit stunned. Not that there was 
 anything presumptuous about these 'tiny giants' of the Orthodox Church, but more to just think 
 about each of them in my shoes 65ish years ago, and wondering where we (the current 
 students/families) will be in 65ish years...I know there will be those among us, even our current 
 classmates, who will be called to 'take up the torch' so to speak. Just another day at St. 
 I was honored to have met this very special 'original brick' of our Seminary and our Church. It put 
 into perspective for me the urgency and importance of implementing what we learn here at the 
 Seminary. One could say that to be a seminarian, and to become a worker in God’s field, is to 
 aspire to join the firm foundation of 'original bricks' that have been laid before, by God’s grace.
 Fast-forward to a chilly wintry day in early December 2016. I went with my grandma, Khouria Marilyn 
 Gillquist—widow of Fr. Peter Gillquist— for a visit with Matushka Juliana. Gram was in town from 
 Bloomington, Indiana, for a brief visit with my little family. She was old friends with Fr. 
 Alexander Schmemann, of blessed memory, and Matushka Juliana.
 We weren’t expecting much...we had been told that Matushka was slowing down and mostly slept. We 
 were expecting a short visit. "Ten minutes!" we kept reminding each other. But Matushka was very 
 happy to see us, and after that first ten minutes she remembered and understood exactly who we 
 were. Then proceeded a wonderful hour: she wanted to know everything about everyone, and we were 
 amazed as the minutes flew by and she talked and talked with perfect clarity.

 She shared with us that she was in much pain. She was confined to a wheelchair and had really been 
 suffering physically. She said how hard it was to grow old, and that she had asked God many times 
 that she might be granted to die.
 'I went up Jacob’s ladder!' she told us. '"Knock knock knock! Can I come in?"...and St. Peter told 
 me "No, no, no! [shaking her finger] It is not your turn!" So, here I am still!'
 I began to feel dismayed and truly sorry when she solemnly declared, 'I am not human anymore.' Age 
 and deterioration had robbed her of most abilities, and pain and suffering riddled her body. But 
 then, as if to combat our pity, she straightened up as best as she could and with quiet gusto 
 exclaimed, 'I love Jesus. Always in my mind...Jesus...Jesus...Jesus!'
 She said it with closed eyes, giving Gram and me a moment to share a glance and wipe away our 
 tears. I reached out to touch Matushka’s weary, weathered hand, and she instinctively held my 
 fingers in her grasp for the rest of the conversation.
 I could see her truly 'waking' now. Our shared humanity and remembrances of old times were the 
 greatest medicine. Talk of Jesus and heaven and Fr. Alexander were a balm to her tired soul. She 
 and my grandmother shared joyful sorrow over the loss of their priest husbands, of how they 
 continually missed them and yet had not truly lost them. I sat there as the neophyte. I couldn’t 
 help but think of the 'original brick' outside the bookstore a year earlier, and how here was this 
 living 'original brick' before me once again, aged and frail, but ready for the journey to 
 Suddenly she turned to me, and began to ask all about 'my Deacon.' I had explained earlier on that 
 my husband was a second-year seminarian at St. Vladimir’s, and newly ordained to the diaconate in 
 the Antiochian Orthodox Church.
 'How is your Deacon? How does he like St. Vladimir’s?' she wanted to know.
 I told her he liked it very well, and that he was working hard and learning so much! Seminary can 
 be difficult, I expressed, but we truly love it and are so grateful to have three years of such 
 excellent training and care there. She declared how much her husband had loved St. Vladimir’s, how 
 it was his life and his legacy. I felt humbled and touched.
 Already an hour was spent, and it was time to go. I knew this was goodbye...we would not see 
 Matushka Juliana again, but what a gift this precious hour had been!
 I went to give her a hug, and kiss, and to say thank you. Suddenly, she grabbed me by the shoulder 
 and pulled me very close to her face—mere inches apart we were. She looked with clear blue eyes 
 right into my very soul and with firm urgency said, "We brought Orthodoxy to America. It is up to 
 you to bring America to Orthodoxy! This is your mission! Tell your Deacon! Tell them at St. 
 Vladimir’s! This is the task of your generation! The most important thing: you must bring America 
 to Orthodoxy.”
 “I will. I promise I will tell them what you say,” I finally managed to say, through tears.
 She proceeded to give me a blessing, the sign of the cross over me, a sweet kiss, and a strong 
 squeeze of my hands. It was truly amongst the humblest and most holy moments of my life.

Grave-of-fr-alexander-schmemann.jpg Father Alexander New Grave Cross.jpg Older and newer grave-Cross

Reference :

Web-site about the Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann

Additional information :

1984 CBS documentary The Spirit of St. Vladimir’s looking back at his life and work.

Orthodoxwiki biography

Wikipedia biography

1954 Sobornost obituary

Obituary by Matushka Juliana obituary for Matushka Juliana

'Juliana Schmemann, My Mother' in "Orthodoxy in Dialogue" by Serge Schmemann. 29 January, 2018

Photo album re Serge A Schmemann's 2018 article

Tribute to Matushka Juliana by Economos Antony Gabriel

Interview of Matushka Juliana

Matushka Juliana Schmeman introduces her book "The Joy to Serve".

The St. Nina Quarterly, Volume 2, No. 4

Free PDFs of some of Alexander Schmemann's writings

Video summary of Father Alexander's life

Boris Sidney film about Father Alexander Schmemann (in Russian)

Archdiocese of Canada web-site article "Memory Etermal Matushka Juliana Ossorguine Schmemann"