22 January 1935, Birth of Alexander Men, Theologian and Martyr #onthisday #otdimjh

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Alexander Vladimirovich Men (22 January 1935 – 9 September 1990) was a Russian Orthodox priest, theologian, Biblical scholar and writer.

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He wrote many books (including his magnum opus, History of Religion: In Search of the Way, the Truth and the Life, the seventh volume of which, Son of Man, served as the introduction to Christianity for thousands of citizens in the Soviet Union); baptized hundreds if not thousands; founded an Orthodox Open University; opened one of the first Sunday Schools in Russia as well as a charity group at the Russian Children’s Hospital. His influence is still widely felt and his legacy continues to grow among Christians both in Russia and abroad. He was murdered early on Sunday morning, 9 September 1990, by an ax-wielding assailant just outside his home of Semkhoz, Russia.

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Judith Kornblatt, author of Doubly Chosen: Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church asks:

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Is Father Alexander Men’ a Saint? 

She writes:

Father Alexander Men’ probably needs no introduction to many of you. He is the late priest in the Russian Orthodox Church who was found murdered by an axe in September 1990, and whom the late academic Sergei Averintsev called “The man sent from God to be missionary to the wild tribe of the Soviet intelligentsia.” [1] According to a woman I’ll call “Marina,” a Russian-Jewish writer in her fifties who I interviewed in Moscow in 1997:

In the second half of the twentieth century in Russia there were two charismatic figures, comparable because of their influence, although in different spheres: Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Alexander Men’. If the influence, the literary influence of the one grew quieter …and began to seem somewhat questionable … the influence of Alexander Men’, on the contrary, has grown even stronger and wider. [2]

My paper today will be about that influence and how it is or is not felt today, fifteen years after Men’s death, in a “reborn” Russia with a strengthened, state-supported Orthodox Church, and an intelligentsia much more splintered and diffuse than it was in the 1960s, 70s, and even the 80s, the time of Men’s ministry. I ask what has become of Men’s followers among the intelligentsia, the Jews, and the religious “dissidents” of the late Soviet period, and whether his legacy has had a lasting effect on the Church. To answer these questions, I’ll first analyze those who entered the Church during Men’s lifetime and under his influence, many of them what I call “Russian Jewish Christians” in my recent book, Doubly Chosen: Jewish Identity, the Soviet Intelligentsia, and the Russian Orthodox Church. In the second half of my talk, I’ll examine several parishes where his influence is still felt today, and analyze the words of some of his remaining spiritual children.

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Reflection: Alexander’s influence continues to impact today. I meet with those from his circle at the Helsinki Consultation on Jewish Continuity in the Body of Christ and our next meeting is due to be in Moscow in June 2015. His character, charismatic personality, Jewish concerns and theological depth will continue to resonate throughout the Russian Jewish and Christian world. He was truly a modern martyr.

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Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the life of Alexander Men, his great abilities and personality which you used to draw many to know you. May his memory continue to inspire others to find you, the Way, the Truth and the Life. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.

An Inner Step Toward God: Writings and Teachings on Prayer by Father Alexander Men

http://sites.utoronto.ca/tsq/12/kornblatt12.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Men

http://www.alexandermen.com/Main_Page

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About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
This entry was posted in otdimjh and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 22 January 1935, Birth of Alexander Men, Theologian and Martyr #onthisday #otdimjh

  1. evgoldsmith says:

    Did you know that Men was invited to the Lausanne Conference in Manila – I met and chatted with him there which was an enormous privilege. He was the first Orthodox person to be invited onto the platform at an evangelical conference, I think. Has anyone else followed this since Manila? Men’s influence is not only among the intelligentsia, but also among ordinary people. He is also the guiding prophet for the revival movement in the Apostolic Church of Armenia, the Armenian equivalent of the Orthodox Church – but they are definitely not Orthodox for they proudly assert that they were never part of the western church’s doctrinal controversies and so are neither Chalcedonian nor Eutychian! All Men’s books are translated into Armenian, as is also my first book on Islam! Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, Martin

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  2. Pingback: 22 January 1935, Birthday of Martyr Alexander Men #otdimjh | On This Day In Messianic Jewish History

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