Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Beautiful Tribute from a Son to His Father

"At home Father Alexander never told us to “go to church,” or that “you must fast,” or “do it this way,” never. Simply, he did what he had to and we found ourselves drawn to those things which were important to him. I can’t say we spent as much time in church as he did, but our joy in the services came entirely from him. In our house the guiding principle of churchly life was the example of my father. My father is fasting quietly, without insisting that anyone else does so, and instinctively we begin fasting as well, after all, we can’t let him fast alone! It was important for him, and thus it became important for us... With him everything was cozy, he was always extremely joyous. If we arose in the morning in foul spirits and saw that he was happy and energetic – with him each day began this way – then his attitude infected us all... He always fought against the reduction of Christianity simply to forms and rules. It, in fact, liberates man from the narrowness of forms and rules and Father Alexander saw in Christianity the freedom of the person and love, and in his lectures, writings, sermons, always sought to reveal the deeper meaning of all things occurring in the Church. He never oversimplified, seeking in each person the very complex arena of struggle between good and evil... [H]is theology was marked above all by the element of freedom. His Christianity is that of Christ, for precisely He gave us freedom. All church rules, after all, can acquire a certain independent life of their own, totally detached from God. Father Alexander knew this all too well, which is why he never began from rules. For him all things begin with faith in God, which leads to an order of life, and not the other way around." 

-Serge Schmemann on his father, Alexander. 

h/t Ora et Labora

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