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Great Lent: Journey to Pascha Paperback – January 1, 1974


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; 2nd edition (January 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913836044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913836040
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

One of the foremost Orthodox Christian theologians of the twentieth century, Fr Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983) was a renowned preacher to the East through his Radio Liberty broadcasts to Soviet Russia; and a priest to the West and Professor of Liturgics and Dean at St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Yonkers, NY. Known primarily for his eucharistic centered theology, Fr Alexander was named by Skylight Publishing as one of the 'Spiritual Innovators: Seventy-Five Extraordinary People Who Changed the World in the Past Century.'

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I recommend any serious Christian reread this book every year when Lent approaches.
N. K. Steinhoff
This is easily one of the best books that I've read on Lent, but more to the point, on liturgy in general.
K. D. Kelly
Alexander knows his triodion (i.e. the liturgical book of Great Lent and Easter in the orthodox church).
Daniel Schaerer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Father Alexander Schmemann, of blessed memory, the great Orthodox liturgical theologian, presents in this volume a series of brief yet spiritually incisive essays guiding the Orthodox believer through the season of Great Lent -- the period of prayer, fasting and alms-giving thaht precedes Pascha, the Orthodox Easter. Father Alexander explains the spiritual significance of the Lenten calendar, practices and special Lenten services, such as the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, in a fresh and thoughtful manner. This book is required reading for all Orthodox Christians on their Lenten journey.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By N. K. Steinhoff on March 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Fr. Alexander's exposition of the mindset of Lent is indispensable. He demonstrates clearly how Lent is more than following rules and giving up "the good stuff" until we can indulge oursleves at Pascha. Lent is, rather, a time to rediscover who we are and why we are here. I recommend any serious Christian reread this book every year when Lent approaches.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Seeker on May 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book as a catechumen making my first journey through Orthodox Lent, and found it a wonderful guide and aid in making sense of the sights, sounds, smells, prayers, prostrations, liturgies, etc etc that set this season apart from others in the Christian year.

That said, Schmemann wrote in a far more engaging style and tone in his extremely popular "For the Life of the World." "Great Lent", in contrast, is drier (for Schmemann) and seems to drag a bit at times. That's not to detract from the value of the book in its essential purpose: to educate and enlighten Orthodox Christians, catechumens and inquirers about the theology behind, and inspired by, Church practices in Lent. It serves that purpose well, and gets 4 stars for it. However, I wish to reserve the five stars for some of his other books, which are truly outstanding both in content and style, whereas the style in this particular book felt weaker than his other works.

The chapter on the presanctified liturgy, describing the two views of the Church (both in waiting and in fulfillment) was masterful and, to me, showed some of that same Schmemann spark that makes one get all giddy to get back in Church and live this stuff out.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for any curious about educating themselves about Orthodox Lent and the Church's views on it.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By eric burgess on March 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the book you want to give your Protestant and Catholic friends. It will detail for them just what Lenten Liturgical Worship is? (page 86, 87) and Looking for the Spiritual behind the formal (page 88) What Lent is & how it works? (Page 88) Along with What Christian Fasting is and is not, How to fast and the different kinds of fasting? (Pages 97, 98, 99)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Schaerer on April 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Fr. Alexander knows his triodion (i.e. the liturgical book of Great Lent and Easter in the orthodox church). I fully agree with my co-reviewers that his book is indispensable for people who want to deal with the orthodox practice of great lent. Fr. Alexander as a passionate liturgical theologist takes us by the hand and helps us exploring the beauty and richness of this most wonderful of all liturgical books of the eastern church. lent - the way the tridion tells about it - is less a "what to do when and how" it is a spiritual journey from the acknowlegment of how far from God we live our lives to the mystery of the risen Lord who reaches out to us.
When singing the triodion I often have the impression that this book an the journey it takes us to are a microcosmos of the christian religion. Fr. Alexander's unique gift is the way he manages to show us it's beauty and the hope that lies within it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Akins on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
The appendix concerning the relationship between the Eucharist and Penance is the best part of the book. Fr. Alexander clearly explains the need for frequent Communion and the "modern" connections with Confession.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Vandeberg on April 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sadly Fr. Schmemann passed away 25 years ago, but his impact as the greatest modern Orthodox theologian lives on. This book is a seriously written theological work, but it's easily understood by the ordinary lay person as well as the theologian. Fr. Schmemann explains clearly and carefully the place and purpose of Great Lent and dispels the myth that it's merely another period of observances and self-denials as Roman Catholics practise. To Orthodox Catholics it's part of a complete attitude and way of life, and the relationship of Great Lent to Pascha and the rest of the year and to the life of the Church is well explained in this book. After reading it cover to cover I was left awestruck. Other than the Bible itself, if you never read another book, read this one. It will change your whole attitude toward life, I guarantee it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. D. Kelly on September 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is easily one of the best books that I've read on Lent, but more to the point, on liturgy in general. That being said it is important to note that Fr. Schmemann himself warns against the tendency to make the liturgy `sentimental' or, as is the case in Lutheranism, to rationalize it. While I am passionate about liturgics, it is difficult to find books that treat the subject intelligently--that is, without writing paragraph after paragraph using nothing but adjectives and superlatives. The liturgy is that which outfits us for Kingdom life; not the Kingdom of Christ, but rather the Kingdom in Christ. Fr. Schmemann is more than aware of this. I would urge anyone interested in the liturgy of their confession to read this book.
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