Schmemann Memorial Lecture 1997

Remarks by His Eminence Archbishop Spyridon

It is a great pleasure, and at the same time a very special blessing, to be with you this evening.

I thank you, Beloved Metropolitan THEODOSIUS, as well as you, Fr Hopko, and everyone else here this evening, for your warm welcome. Indeed, you welcome me as a brother hierarch, and as a fellow spiritual father, and as a fellow Orthodox Christian who seeks together with you to continually discover, and at the same time share with our American Faithful, the truths of God.

St Vladimir's Seminary has had a long and honored tradition of discovering and teaching these truths. The list of great theologians who have taught here -- among them Florovsky, Schmemann, and Meyendorff, all of blessed memory -- attests to this tradition. And yet, what these men, and the others who have followed their example, were noted for in addition to their scholarship was their effort to make the fruits of their work accessible, not only to academics, but to the men and women who strive to live out their Orthodox Faith in their everyday existence.

Tonight we gather in honor of one of these men, the Very Rev. Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann. This gives me special joy, for Father Schmemann's work is very dear to my heart. One of my primary concerns as Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese is the liturgical life of the Orthodox in this country; as I've said before, "worship is everything." Father Schmemann knew this, and he built his theology around this very premise, stressing that unity of faith is found most essentially in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist.

There exist between our two jurisdictions other forms and degrees of unity and cooperation, and one of them is illustrated by this very event this evening. In a few moments, Father Alkiviadis Calivas, the President of Holy Cross School of Theology, will speak to us -- not incidentally, a liturgical theologian of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese giving a lecture in memory of a liturgical theologian of the Orthodox Church in America.

His is but one example of the fruitful exchange that has taken place between St Vladimir's Seminary and Holy Cross Seminary. Father Theodore Stylianopoulos of Holy Cross is teaching New Testament this semester here at St Vladimir's; Father Paul Tarazi of St Vladimir's teaches Old Testament at Holy Cross. Students from this seminary study at that seminary; students from that seminary study here.

As a matter of fact, two people on my staff at the Archdiocese are graduates of St Vladimir's Seminary. One of them has chosen the pastoral ministry; the other is pursuing the academic track; both of them are helping me, in the spirit of Father Schmemann, to make the truths of the Orthodox Christian Faith accessible to the people under my spiritual care. Having said this, I would be remiss if I did not tell you how grateful I am to you for the knowledge and guidance they received here.

The degree of cooperation between our Churches can only increase over the years, and this because we are united in the Eucharist. In this way only will we surely honor Father Schmemann's memory. This is not only your wish, and my wish , but also the wish of His All Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch BARTHOLOMEW, who looks forward with anticipation, not only to increased cooperation among Orthodox, but to unity among all Christians of the world, and who greets you through me.

You have a great legacy here at St Vladimir's Seminary. I exhort you in brotherly and fatherly love to continue building upon this legacy, in the spirit of the Three Hierarchs for whom this chapel is named, and whose memory we commemorate today. Thank you.

  -AbpSpiridon.html  -  January 30, 1997 ]