original article at RISU
I had known the work of theologians Fr Alexander Schmemann and Fr John Meyendorff years before it dawned on me that these famous representatives of the Russian Orthodox community in post-1917 France had surnames that sounded more German than Slavic. I have read that both men were, in fact, of noble Russian origin,yet I cannot help but wonderif their backgrounds were not – at least somewhere along the line – similar to my own, at least in ethnic terms. After all, my Mennonite-German grandparents came from Ukraine, my grandfather having suffered first-hand inthe political vacuum left by Bolshevik success in Moscow. Indeed, he fled the country around Dniepropetrovsk after losing his own family to the Makhnovshchina, and arrived in Manitoba, Canada only a couple of years before the Holodomor. To be clear, many generations of my ancestors’ sweat mingled with Ukrainian soil, before they added their blood as well, in the wake of the Revolution.