Thanksgiving Day Sermon of Fr. Alexander Schmemann

On Thanksgiving Day following the dismissal of the Divine Liturgy, Fr. Matthew Howell introduces and reads the homily that was delivered by Fr. Alexander Schmemann on Thanksgiving Day in 1983 at St. Vladimir Seminary in New York. It was the final liturgy served by Fr. Schmemann in 1983, and the final homily that he delivered. He reposed on December 13, 1983.

Colossians 3:12-17

Brethren, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, put on compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other. As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Luke 17:12-19

At that time, as Jesus entered a village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When He saw them He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”


“Thank You, O Lord!” A Sermon for Thanksgiving Day

By Fr. Alexander Schmemann

+    Everyone capable of thanksgiving is capable of salvation and eternal joy.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for having accepted this Eucharist, which we offered to the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; and which filled our hearts with the joy, peace and righteousness of the Holy Spirit.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for having revealed Yourself unto us and given us the foretaste of Your Kingdom.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for having united us to one another in serving You and Your Holy Church.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for having helped us to overcome all difficulties, tensions, passions, temptations and restored peace, mutual love and joy in sharing the communion of the Holy Spirit.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for the sufferings You bestowed upon us, for they are purifying us from selfishness and reminding us of the “one thing needed”: Your eternal Kingdom.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for having given us this country where we are free to worship You.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for this school[1], where the Name of God is proclaimed.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for our families: husbands, wives and, especially, children who teach us how to celebrate Your holy Name in joy, movement and holy noise.

+    Thank You, O Lord, for everyone and everything.

+    Great are You, O Lord, and marvelous are Your deeds, and no word is sufficient to celebrate Your miracles.

+    Lord, it is good to be here!  Amen.

[1] St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary of Yonkers, New York