Alexander Schmemann citáty

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Alexander Schmemann

Datum narození: 13. září 1921
Datum úmrtí: 13. prosinec 1983

Alexander Schmemann byl pravoslavný kněz a teolog.


„Křesťané rané doby se nestarali o nějaký svatý zeměpis, o [jeruzalémský] chrám […]. Neměli žádný speciálně náboženský zájem o místa, kde Ježíš žil. Nekonali poutě. Dávná náboženství znala tisíce svatých míst a chrámů. Pro křesťany bylo to vše minulostí. Nepotřebovali kamenné chrámy.“

„The liturgy of the Eucharist is best understood as a journey or procession. It is the journey of the Church into the dimension of the Kingdom. We use the word 'dimension' because it seems the best way to indicate the manner of our sacramental entrance into the risen life of Christ. Color transparencies 'come alive' when viewed in three dimensions instead of two. The presence of the added dimension allows us to see much better the actual reality of what has been photographed. In very much the same way, though of course any analogy is condemned to fail, our entrance into the presence of Christ is an entrance into a fourth dimension which allows us to see the ultimate reality of life. It is not an escape from the world, rather it is the arrival at a vantage point from which we can see more deeply into the reality of the world.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy


„Centuries of secularism have failed to transform eating into something strictly utilitarian. Food is still treated with reverence... To eat is still something more than to maintain bodily functions. People may not understand what that 'something more' is, but they nonetheless desire to celebrate it. They are still hungry and thirsty for sacramental life.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„A marriage which does not constantly crucify its own selfishness and self-sufficiency, which does not ‘die to itself’ that it may point beyond itself, is not a Christian marriage. The real sin of marriage today is not adultery or lack of ‘adjustment’ or ‘mental cruelty.’ It is the idolization of the family itself, the refusal to understand marriage as directed toward the Kingdom of God. This is expressed in the sentiment that one would ‘do anything’ for his family, even steal. The family has here ceased to be for the glory of God; it has ceased to be a sacramental entrance into his presence. It is not the lack of respect for the family, it is the idolization of the family that breaks the modern family so easily, making divorce its almost natural shadow. It is the identification of marriage with happiness and the refusal to accept the cross in it. In a Christian marriage, in fact, three are married; and the united loyalty of the two toward the third, who is God, keeps the two in an active unity with each other as well as with God. Yet it is the presence of God which is the death of the marriage as something only ‘natural.’ It is the cross of Christ that brings the self-sufficiency of nature to its end. But ‘by the cross, joy entered the whole world.’ Its presence is thus the real joy of marriage. It is the joyful certitude that the marriage vow, in the perspective of the eternal Kingdom, is not taken ‘until death parts,’ but until death unites us completely.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„The only real fall of man is his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„For one who thinks food in itself is the source of life, eating is the communion with the dying world, it is communion with death. Food itself is dead, it is life that has died and it must be kept in refrigerators like a corpse.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„Whether we "spiritualize" our life or "secularize" our religion, whether we invite men to a spiritual banquet or simply join them at the secular one, the real life of the world, for which we are told God gave his only begotten Son, remains hopelessly beyond our religious grasp.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„The resurrection of the body - what do we really mean by this?... Did not the mystics and sages of all times teach us that the positive meaning of death is precisely that it liberates us from the prison of the body, as they say, from this perennial dependency on the material, physical, and bodily life - finally rendering our souls light, weightless, free, spiritual?

We [must] consider more profoundly the meaning of the body... We must consider the role of the body in our, in my, life.

On the one hand, of course it is entirely clear that all of our bodies are transitory and impermanent. Biologists have calculated that all the cells that compose our bodies are replaced every seven years. Thus, physiologically, every seven years we have a new body. Therefore, at the end of my life the body that is laid in the grave or consumed by fire is no longer the same body as all the preceding ones, and in the final analysis each of our bodies is nothing other than our individual [being] in the world, as the form of my dependence on the world, on the one hand, and of my life and of my activity on the other.

In essence, my body is my relationship to the world, to others; it is my life as communion and as mutual relationship. Without exception, everything in the body, in the human organism, is created for this relationship, for this communion, for this coming out of oneself. It is not an accident, of course, that love, the highest form of communion, finds its incarnation in the body; the body is that which sees, hears, feels, and thereby leads me out of the isolation of my *I*.

But then, perhaps, we can say in response: the body is not the darkness of the soul, but rather the body is its freedom, for the body is the soul as love, the soul as communion, the soul as life, the soul as movement. And this is why, when the soul loses the body, when it is separated from the body, it loses life.“
O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?


„In the radiance of His light the world is not commonplace. The very floor we stand on is a miracle of atoms whizzing about in space. The darkness of sin is clarified, and its burden shouldered. Death is robbed of its finality, trampled down by Christ's death. In a world where everything that seems to be present is immediately past, everything in Christ is able to participate in the eternal present of God.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„This world rejected Christ, refused to see in Him its own life and fulfillment. And since it has no other life but Christ, by rejecting and killing Christ the world condemned itself to death. Its only ultimate reality is death, and none of the secular eschatologies in which men still put their hope can have any force against the simple statement of Tolstoy: 'And after a stupid life there shall come a stupid death.' In its self-sufficiency the world and all that exists in it has no meaning. And as long as we live after the fashion of this world, as long, in other words, as we make our life an end in itself, no meaning and no goal can stand, for they are dissolved in death. It is only when we give up freely, totally, unconditionally, the self-sufficiency of our life, when we put all its meaning in Christ, that the ‘newness of life’ – which means a new possession of the world – is given to us. The world then truly becomes the sacrament of Christ’s presence, the growth of the Kingdom and of life eternal.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„There has been a rediscovery of the meaning of baptism as entrance and integration into the Church, of "ecclesiological" significance. But ecclesiology, unless it is given its true cosmic perspective ("for the life of the world"), unless it is understood as the christian form of "cosmology," is always ecclesiolatry, the Church considered as a "being in itself" and not the new relation of god, man and the world.“ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„To be more precise... death is [contrary to] God, and if death is natural, if it is the ultimate truth about life and about the world, if it is the highest and immutable law about all of creation, then there is no God, then this whole story about creation, about joy, and about the light of life is a total lie.“ O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?


„As we make the first step into the "bright sadness" of Lent, we see—far, far away—the destination. It is the joy of Easter, it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom. And it is this vision, the foretaste of Easter, that makes Lent's sadness bright and our lenten effort a "spiritual spring." The night may be dark and long, but all along the way a mysterious and radiant dawn seems to shine on the horizon.“ Great Lent: Journey to Pascha

„I refer to the Gospel account in which Christ weeps at the grave of his friend Lazarus. We need to pause and consider the meaning of these tears, for in this very moment there occurs a unique transformation within religion in relation to the long-standing religious approach to death.

Up to this moment the purpose of religion, as well as the purpose of philosophy, consisted in enabling man to come to terms with death, and if possible even to make death desirable: death as the liberation from suffering; death as freedom from this changing, busy, evil world; death as the beginning of eternity. Here, in fact, is the sum total of religious and philosophical teaching before Christ and outside of Christianity - in primitive religions, in Greek philosophy, in Buddhism, and so forth. But Christ *weeps* at the grave of his friend, and in so doing his own struggle with death, his refusal to acknowledge it and to come to terms with it. Suddenly, death ceases to be a normal and natural fact, it appears as something foreign, as unnatural, as fearsome and perverted, and it is acknowledged as an enemy: 'The last enemy to be destroyed is death.“
O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?

„Dost thou renounce Satan, and all his Angels, and all his works, and all his services, and all his pride?"...
The first act of the Christian life is a renunciation, a challenge. No one can be Christ's until he has, first, faced evil, and then become ready to fight it. How far is this spirit from the way in which we often proclaim, or to use a more modern term, "sell" Christianity today!... How could we then speak of "fight" when the very set-up of our churches must, by definition, convey the idea of softness, comfort, peace?... One does not see very well where and how "fight" would fit into the weekly bulletin of a suburban parish, among all kings of counseling sessions, bake sales, and "young adult" get-togethers....
"Dost thou unite thyself unto Christ?“
For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy

„It is significant that whereas in the West Mary is primarily the Virgin, a being almost totally different from us in her absolute and celestial purity and freedom from all carnal pollution, in the East she is always referred to and glorified as Theotokos, the Mother of God, and virtually all icons depict her with the Child in her arms.“ For the Life of the World

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