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Who is Father Alexander Men?
Father Alexander Men (1935-1990) was a great leader, and one may say architect, of religious renewal in Russia at the end of the Soviet period. He was a pastor, who found the time to write a great number of books including a seven volume study of world religions, ranging in style from the academic to the popular, he lectured widely, at the end gaining access to radio and television and becoming a nationally known figure. He founded the first Sunday school after the communist persecution, established a university, made a film strip, started volunteer work at a children's hospital. He baptized thousands into the faith, was at home with simple people but was also called “the apostle to the intellectuals.”
His life and person and writings speak powerfully to a wide range of people, not only in Russia and not only Eastern Orthodox. It seems that he is one of the very few who can touch and speak to and for all Christians and indeed, through his broadness of learning and heart, not only to Christians.
He was assassinated in 1990 but through his writings and through his memory and his spiritual heritage he still speaks and it may be is an increasing presence in the world and his work becomes better known.
Believing in the importance of this work and this presence we have made this site. You will find here a selection of materials about Fr Men and his life. As to his life we would recommend first the very effective narrated slide film which is offered as a free download in our third section. Then We are Moving into an Age of Love by Irina Yaziova gives an overview of his work ... and then well you will find what is here...
We also and in particular are making available as much as we can of his writing which is translated into English.
In this writing, if I may speak of my personal response which mirrors maybe that of many, I find an absolute openness to everything that is here and that is coming, and a way of speaking that is natural and without any patronizing or artificiality, and yet also an absolute confidence in the realities beyond the surfaces, a certainty of God—of the Presence of God in history and today. There are no false notes. The writing is simple in a way, although an intellectual festival at times with poets and philosophers introduced but never with sense of display. There is an absence of ideology and even of theology in the usual sense, and a presence instead of reality and of God.
As you read you will, it seems to me, encounter a man and that man and his living message can perhaps be important for you and for the world in our time and the time that is coming. So that is what this website is about, and without further ado I invite your exploration.
- + Seraphim Joseph Sigrist
- Bishop. Formerly of Sendai and East Japan
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