This is a remarkable collection of Fr Alexander Schmemann’s sermons delivered over the course of many years over Radio Liberty to listeners in the Soviet Union where his broadcasts were widely acclaimed. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in a private letter written in 1972, characterized with particular clarity Fr Alexander’s gift of preaching:
…it amazes me how authentic, contemporary and eloquent is the art of his preaching. There is not a note of affectation, not a millimeter of stretching the interpretation…but always, there is powerfully deep thought and deep feeling…
The first of these sermons, under the title “The Celebration of Faith,” uses the themes of faith, revelation, and the Nicene Creed as the symbol of faith. Though generally directed towards those in the church, these talks are unique in that they speak also to the person not in the church, to the person who has had no experience whatsoever of things “religious,” or whose experience of “religion has convinced him of its emptiness.” There are no “prerequisites” for appreciating these talks, no special knowledge required of the vocabulary of the Orthodox Church. Fr Alexander’s only assumption is that he is speaking to “seekers,” to those who have a spiritual thirst, a yearning for something indefinable that calls them out of themselves. And in speaking to the non-religious “seeker,” he reaches also the religious “seeker” as well, the one who is seeking to grow in his faith, life and understanding of God’s revelation in Christ and the Church.
About the Author: Fr Alexander Schmemann was a prolific writer, brilliant lecturer, and dedicated pastor. Former dean and professor of liturgical theology at St Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, his insight into contemporary culture and liturgical celebration left an indelible mark on the Christian community worldwide.