Julianna Schmemann, the widow of well-known Priest-theologian Alexander Schmemann, has passed away
“Today we received the sad news that Mother Julianna Schmemann has passed away; she was the widow of the remarkable Orthodox theologian, church leader, missionary and visionary, Alexander Schmemann”, said Fr. Georgy. Remembering our fellowship with Mother Julianna, he remarked that “she always made an amazing, very refined and deep impression. She was a worthy representative of that entire circle of people, the church intelligentsia from Paris and those who then collected around St. Vladimir’s Seminary near New York. This was all one spirit and one movement,” the SFI Rector added.
Fr. Georgy underscored the fact that, “with her amazingly rational words, she always caused one to think – not only to feel for the past and those who have passed away, but also to think about what is going on here and now in our world.”
“She wonderfully preserved the memory of Fr. Alexander and his inheritance,” the SFI Rector remarked. “In particular, she worked a great deal with Nikita Alexeevich Struve on the publication of Fr. Alexander’s diaries, and also published her own book with remembrances of him. This is loyalty, but at the same time, it is lack of worldliness, collectedness, spiritual focus, culture, openness and an amazing feeling of dignity, such as one rarely comes across in our time – especially within the church. All of this, of course, makes us stop and particularly feel what has happened today, and ask God for the rest of her soul.”
Basic Facts of Mother Julianna’s Life
Julianna Schmemann was born Uliana Osorgina, and was the widow of Fr. Alexander Schmemann and author of the memoires entitled “My Life with Fr. Alexander”. She was the granddaughter of Fr. Michael Osorgin, and was born on 6 October, 1923, in Baden-Baden, Germany. At the age of three she moved with her family to France, and completed her university education at the Sorbonne. In 1943 she married the future Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Together with Fr. Alexander she moved to the United States, where she taught French and Russian at various educational institutions in New York. Mother Julianna played a key role in the preparation of the well know publication of Fr. Alexander’s “Diaries”.