Book Notes: The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, pages 32-65

The Journals of Father Alexander SchmemannThe Journals
of Father Alexander Schmemann
by Alexander Schmemann

by Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press

Ten years ago, I read The Journals
of Father Alexander Schmemann
I copied passages of them on an old blog, so I thought I would share them with you today and Friday.

Here are today from pages 32-65.

This great man impresses me here by his self-honesty and humility. It is also quite reassuring to see this great man dealing with lots of inner struggles. Besides, it is beautiful to see how in his 50s, he starts seeing some kind of synthesis in his life. I guess this is the beauty that comes with old age.

A strong faith attenuates the intensity of problems.
In those rare moments
when through religion one manages to reach God,
there are no problems,
because God is not part of the world.
In those moments the world itself becomes life in Him,
meeting with Him,
contact with Him.
The world does not become God,
but life with God, joyful and full.
This is God’s salvation of the world.
It is fulfilled every time that we believe.
The church is not a religious establishment,
but the presence in the world of a saved world.
Feb 16,1974 – p.32

The meaning of religion consists only
in filling life with light,
in referring it to God,
transforming it into a relationship with God.
Feb 21, 1974 – p.33

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…’
The strength of prayer,
when I say to God:
I cannot but You can;
help me;
when with all my being,
I know that
‘Without Me, you can do nothing…’
March 12, 1974 – p.35

Poverty does not consist always of lacking something
-that is its ugliness-
but in being content with what there is.
Oct 8, 1974 – p.50

The mission of the Church is
to carry to the world
the experience of the Kingdom,
not to reduce the Kingdom of God
to anything in the world.
Dec 20, 1974 – p.59

One has to accept each day and everything in it
as a gift from God,
and transform each day into joy.
If all the details of my life
(talks, students, meetings, correspondence)
are not giving joy
but are only a burden,
then it is really my sin,
my selfishness,
my laziness.
Feb 26, 1975 – p.65


Have you read this book?
What’s your favorite book by Schmemann?
Any reflection on these quotes?


  1. Thank you so much, Emma, for sharing these profoundly helpful thoughts from Fr Schmemann. I have read his books For the Life of the World and Great Lent; one cannot help but be touched and taught by their spiritual depth. I now want to read his journals, with their reflections that reorientate one’s whole being toward God present in the world.


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