Fw: Neomartyr Alexander Schmorells
- I hope the story below is a good preparation for the Nativity on the old calendar,
The Russian Finn. The Finnish Russian.
Suomalainen Venalainen. Venalainen Suomalinen.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, 28 December, 2001 10:05 AM
Subject: Neomartyr Alexander Schmorells
Dear Fathers, Brethren and Friends,
I am sure that everyone is tired of Church politics and would like to
read something uplifting.
Last November, I visited Germany after attending a conference on Church
history of the 20th c. sponsored by ROCOR in Hungary. There I learned
from Bishop Agapit and Fr. Nikolai Artemov of a truly remarkable man, a
contemporary martyr named Alexander Schmorells. By God's grace I was
able to serve a panikhida at his gravesite. I was so moved by his
podvig, that I decided to include his life in the upcoming issue of our
parish's monthly publication "Parish Life" (a shortened version of his
life and podvig). Neomartyr Alexander's story was excerpted from the
Herald of the German Diocese (No. 4, 1993), a diocesan publication of
the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. The following translation was
rendered by Protodeacon Leonid Mickle.
Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany has presented to the Council of
Bishops of the Russian Church Abroad the case for including Alexander
Schmorells among the ranks of Holy Martyrs. It was approved, and
preparations for the process of canonization are currently under way.
You can download the Russian version from our parish's website after
Jan. 1. ===>>> www.stjohndc.org <<<====
Wishing everyone a blessed Nativity and Grace-filled New Year, I remain
Fr. Victor Potapov
Neomartyr Alexander Schmorells
of ROCOR's German Diocese
Alexander Schmorells was one of the founding members of the "White
Rose," a group opposed to the National Socialists.
His father, Hugo Schmorells, grew up in Orenburg, studied medicine in
Munich, and during World War I worked at the Institute of Internal
Medicine in Moscow. Because of growing anti-German sentiments there,
Dr. Schmorells was forced to move to Orenburg, where he married Natalia
Vvedensky, the daughter of a priest. One year later, on September 16,
1917, she bore him a son. The child, given the name Alexander received
Holy Baptism in the Orthodox Church. A year later, Alexander's mother
died of typhoid fever. In 1920, the father married the daughter of a
Bavarian brewer who owned a brewery in Orenburg. It was for this
reason that, after the Schmorells family left the country during the
Civil War, it ultimately settled in Munich.
Dr. Schmorells hired Theodosia Lapshina, a woman from the village of
Romanovka, Saratov Province, as a nanny to raise Alexander and the
brother and sister born of the second marriage.
Alexander's love for Orthodoxy and for Russia was a reflection of his
love for his mother and for his Orthodox nanny. Erich and Natasha,
Alexander's brother and sister, were Catholics, but the language of the
household remained Russian, a fact noted in the Gestapo's interrogation
reports. Alexander Schmorells studied the Law of God with a Munich
parish priest. At his trial, he stated "I am a strictly Orthodox
adherent to the Russian Orthodox Church."
After the fall of Berlin, the documents related to the case of
Alexander Schmorells were taken to Moscow. While other materials about
the "White Rose" group were returned to Berlin, those pertaining to
Alexander Schmorells remained in the archives in Moscow, where, in 1993,
they were discovered.
Alexander, a young immigrant who grew up in Germany and in whose veins
flowed both Russian and German blood, held as the frame of reference for
life, lofty spiritual truth.
After finishing high school in 1937, Alexander went to work. For one
year, he trained in an artillery unit, and then for half a year trained
as a medical orderly. In 1939, he became a non-commissioned officer in
order to pursue medical training.
In the university, Alexander's serious study of Russian literature
further strengthened his love for all things Russian. In 1940, he
served on the Western Front in France. Finally, in the summer of 1942,
he spent 3 months as sergeant major in a medical unit. Later, he was to
tell his interrogator that, as he absolutely refused to bear arms, being
a medic had spared him from having to refuse military service.
That same summer, he and his friend Hans Scholl decided to protest
against National Socialism. Transcripts of their trial reflect that
they published a total of four issues of "The White Rose" leaflets and
an appeal entitled "To all Germans." Initially hundreds, and later
thousands, of those fliers were distributed throughout the Reich.
The White Rose leaflets bore witness to the clear contrast between
Christian values and culture and the Nazis' pagan barbarism. In the
"White Rose" leaflets, the call for "passive resistance" in all walks of
life - cultural, economic, and military - became transformed into the
frightening word "sabotage."
Such was Alexander Schmorell's "guilt" before the Nazi Molochs on the
day of his arrest on February 24, 1943.
Here are the opening words he pronounced on the day after his arrest:
"First of all, I want to again underscore that intellectually and
emotionally I consider myself more Russian than German. However, I want
you to take into account that I do not equate Russia with Bolshevism.
To the contrary, I am a frank enemy of Bolshevism."
For Alexander, politics was of secondary importance. The standard of
religious morality took first place.
Inside an envelope in which his stepmother had sent him a letter,
Alexander wrote to a Nellie, a young Russian girl whom he had met in
Gzhatsk in the summer of 1942. As Soviet forces were already in Gzhatsk,
the letter did not reach her. It was smuggled out of the prison, in all
likelihood by a priest. In the note, Alexander refers to himself as
"Sasha" and his friend Hans Scholl as "Vanya."
It was fated that I leave this life earlier than any of us had
expected. Vanya and I and others worked together against the German
government; we were caught, and have been sentenced to death. I am
writing to you from prison. I remember Gzhatsk quite often! Why was it
that I then did not stay in Russia?! But it is all the will of God. We
will meet again in that life beyond the grave! Goodbye, dear Nellie!
And pray for me!
Alexander refused to appeal for mercy. He did not and would not
recognize, even indirectly, the right of that system to have a say over
Early in the morning, in Stadelheim Prison, he was told of his
impending execution. He was put to death at 5:00 PM.
That day, he wrote one last letter to his parents, and through them, to
all of those dear to him. He stated in part:
"My dear Father and Mother!
And so, a different [path] is not fated for me, and according to God's
will, today I must bring to a close my earthly life, so that I might
enter into the other one, the one which will never end and in which we
will meet again. May that meeting be a consolation and hope for you.
It is a blow to you, and unfortunately, is a greater blow to you than to
me, for I am making that transition in the knowledge that I acted
according to my deeply held conviction and according to the truth.
Because of all of that, I await my coming hour of death with a clear
One thing I especially want to instill in your hearts: Do not forget
Alexander Schmorells was able to summon Fr. Alexander (Lovchei), a
Munich parish priest, to the death house. He made his Confession and
received Holy Communion, taking Christ into himself. Alexander's final
steps in following Him were┘
Execution by Guillotine.
O Holy Martyr Alexander, pray to God for us!
Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free @... address at http://mail.yahoo.com
- Thanks for posting this- we hear about people like Miximillian Kolbe (who was
certainly a martyr too) of the Roman Church, but seldom about Orthodox martyrs-
especially in Germany. Very interesting! I think especially so because most
of such stories are about clergy or nuns, and this was a layman!
Do You Yahoo!?
Send your FREE holiday greetings online!