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The Liturgy of Death: Four Previously Unpublished Talks on the Orthodox Liturgy of Death
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The Liturgy of Death: Four Previously Unpublished Talks on the Orthodox Liturgy of Death

Author: Alexander Schmemann
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In these previously unpublished talks, Fr Alexander Schmemann critiques contemporary culture's distorted understanding of death. He then examines the Church's rites for burial and her prayers for the dead. Though they are often misunderstood, at the heart of the services Fr Alexander finds the paschal proclamation: 'Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.'

'For the Orthodox Church, the time has arrived not to reform the liturgy of death, nor to modernize it (God forbid!), but simply to rediscover it. To rediscover it in its truth and glory means in its connection with the faith of the Church, with the meaning—for the dead, for us, for the whole world and the entire creation—of Christ's deathless death, and in connection with baptism and Eucharist, with Lent and Pascha, with the whole life of the Church and each one of us, her members. This rediscovery is needed first of all by the Church, but also by our secular culture, for which, whether we know it or not, we are responsible. How are we to rediscover it?'

—Alexander Schmemann, The Liturgy of Death


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