I am not familiar with him or his writings. May I ask why some people have such a negative view of him? Was he some sort of liturgical revisionist?
A critique of Fr Schmemann's liturgical theology from a Russian theologian Fr Michael Pomazamsky
Dear Father Ambrose--it may be misleading to ordinary folks to refer to a technical work on theology by Father Alexander of blessed memory. I would have cited For the Life of the World
instead as his much more influential and widely known work. BTW, they were both Russian theologians, no?
Alveus--Father Alexander is indeed controversial. His influence is considerable on the many priests trained at Saint Vladimir's (OCA and Antiochian). He is credited by many for the liturgical renaissance in North America, particularly in the areas of frequent communion, understanding of confession as the Mystery of Reconciliation, insistence on participation of laity in the worship of the Church, etc. On the other hand, he has rubbed traditionalists the wrong way--as shown in the critique by Father Pomazamsky--by insisting that theologians cannot simply accept what is without any other yardstick other than a "this is what was passed on to us, therefore it is Holy Tradition, therefore it was guided and shaped by the Holy Spirit" type of circular argument.
In any case, to me Father Alexander's life and works are exemplary.ne can check him out further at the following sources.
- Orthodox Wiki entry as an introduction: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Alexander_Schmemann
- A site dedicated to Father Alexander at http://www.schmemann.org/
- Books by Father Alexander are widely available from amny sources. They include:
* Great Lent: Journey to Pascha
* For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
* Liturgy and Life: Christian Development Through Liturgical Experience (1974)
* Of Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism
* Introduction to Liturgical Theology (1975)
* The Historical Road of Eastern Othodoxy
* Ultimate Questions: An Anthology of Modern Russian Religious Thought (1977)
* Church, World, Mission: Reflections on Orthodoxy in the West (1979)
* The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom
* Celebration of Faith: I Believe... (1991)
* Celebration of Faith: The Church Year (1994)
* Celebration of Faith: The Virgin Mary (1995)
* The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983 (2000)
NOTE: Of those books that I have read, I highly recommend those that I highlighted in bold.