Book Notes: The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, pages 107-end

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

by Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press

On Wednesday, I shared quotations from The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann.
pages 32-65.

Here are notes from pages 107 to the end of the book.

In unity,
distinctions do not disappear
but become unity, life, creativity.
Feb 11, 1976 – p.107

I wish I could apply this to unity between Christian Orthodox jurisdictions, but these past few months do not seem to point in that direction, alas – and that would make Schmemann so sick!

What I say does not come from me,
only how I say it.
All creativity is to make sure
that the how corresponds to the what;
that is the cooperation of man with God,
the mystery of human freedom.
Feb 18, 1976 – p.108

Does not what is most important in our life, the divine,
happen to us, so to say, not without our knowledge, no,
but when we completely give ourselves up,
almost die for a while?
It’s strange.
Nov 4, 1976 – p.133

Strange and so true… It won’t happen unless you die to your false self.

The power of sin
is not in being tempted by obvious evil,
but in the imprisonment of the heart
in all sorts of little passions
and in the impossibility
to freely breathe and live.
Dec 26, 1976 – pp.139-140

The uniqueness of Christianity is
the “immanent character of the transcendent,”
and the “transcendent character of the immanent.”
Feb 5, 1979 – p.207

I could use this to prepare for weekly confession:
What attention have I paid to the transcendent manifesting itself in my daily life, encounters, activities?
Have I lived these encounters and activities merely on the immanent level, or have I touched to their transcendent dimension?

This is my last post on this great book.

I have to say it was an eye opener, almost shocking, to hear this great man’s conflicting thoughts. But eye opener on the deep reality of Orthodoxy in the US.  Sounds like not much has changed since his time, unfortunately.

His constant reminder that the deep characteristic of the Church should be JOY, the Joy of the Kingdom, was refreshing, and highlighting what it should be in my life and the life of the Church today.

Fascinating and very familiar to me to see how much he communed with his God more in nature than in some hyper clerical circles.

A great man!

It is sad that people do not see
what is most important,
which is not one’s occupation,
but its transformation,
its crowning in life
and in the fullness of life.
September 20, 1979



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


  1. Lovely way to end, with Fr Schmenann’s reflection on what is most important, “fullness of life” and transformation of all we do in Christ. I will also ponder what you remarked about considering immanence and transcendence as part of one’s examination of conscience. Thanks!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your input or questions. I'll answer asap and visit your site if you have one

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s