St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, A Pan-Orthodox Christian Mission Parish, Murphy, North Carolina

The Thanksgiving homily of Fr. Alexander Schmemann


Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The last Divine Liturgy celebrated by Fr. Alexander Schmemann was on the morning of Thanksgiving in 1983. He fell asleep in the Lord not long after, on December 13. That his final liturgy should occur on Thanksgiving Day was particularly appropriate since Father Alexander had devoted his whole life to teaching, writing and preaching about the Eucharist; for the word Eucharist in Greek means thanksgiving. Here are his final words from the Ambo of the church, a homily written in the form of a prayer.

Thank You, O Lord!

Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.

Thank You, O Lord, for having accepted this Eucharist, which we offered to the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and which filled our hearts with the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, O Lord, for having revealed Yourself unto us and given us the foretaste of Your Kingdom.

Thank You, O Lord, for having united us to one another in serving You and Your Holy Church.

Thank You, O Lord, for having helped us to overcome all difficulties, tensions, passions, temptations and restored peace, mutual love and joy in sharing the communion of the Holy Spirit.

Thank You, O Lord, for the sufferings You bestowed upon us, for they are purifying us from selfishness and reminding us of the “one thing needed;” Your eternal Kingdom.

Thank You, O Lord, for having given us this country where we are free to Worship You.

Thank You, O Lord, for this school, where the name of God is proclaimed.

Thank You, O Lord, for our families: husbands, wives and, especially, children who teach us how to celebrate Your holy Name in joy, movement and holy noise.

Thank You, O Lord, for everyone and everything.
Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your deeds, and no word is sufficient to celebrate Your miracles.

Lord, it is good to be here! Amen.

(The Orthodox Church, Vol. 20, No. 2, February 1984, p. 1:1)

(Many thanks to Deacon Gregory Uhrin for sending this out.)

One Response to “The Thanksgiving homily of Fr. Alexander Schmemann”

  1. Deacon Michael Says:

    Very nice…

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