Alexander Men
Overview
 
Father Alexander Vladimirovich Men was a Russian Orthodox theologian, Biblical scholar and writer.

Father Alexander wrote dozen of books (including his magnum opus Son of Man, which served as the introduction to Christianity to 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.
Quotations

I find more meaning in the wing of a bird and in the branch of a tree, than in five hundred icons. God has given us two books: the Bible and Creation.

I work now as I have always worked: with my face into the wind... I'm only an instrument that God is using for the moment. Afterwards, things will be as God wants them.

Encyclopedia
Father Alexander Vladimirovich Men was a Russian Orthodox theologian, Biblical scholar and writer.

Father Alexander wrote dozen of books (including his magnum opus Son of Man, which served as the introduction to Christianity to 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.

Biography

Men was born in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 to a Jewish family. He was baptized
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 at seven months along with his mother in the banned Catacomb Church
Russian True Orthodox Church
The Russian True Orthodox Church is a denomination that separated from the Russian Orthodox Church during the early years of Communist rule in the Soviet Union. While the True Orthodox Church in Russia was never a single organization, many of its followers were labeled Josephites, after...

, a branch of the Russian Orthodox Church that refused to cooperate with the Soviet authorities. Men was expelled from college in 1958 due to his religious beliefs, and in 1960 was ordained a priest
Priest
A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

 upon graduating from the Leningrad Theological Seminary.

Men trained as a priest, and became a leader with considerable influence and a good reputation among Christians both locally and abroad, among Roman Catholics
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, as well as Orthodox. Starting in the early 1970s, Men became a popular figure in Russia's religious community, especially among the intelligentsia
Intelligentsia
The intelligentsia is a social class of people engaged in complex, mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them...

. Men was harassed by the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 for his active missionary
Missionary
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...

 and evangelistic efforts. In the late-1980s, he utilised the mass media to spread the message of Christ (he was offered to host a nationally televised program on religion); his days and nights were full of teaching and lecturing at packed lecture halls. Men was one of the founders of the Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society
Russian Bible Society - christian non-denominational organization for translating and distributing the books of the Old Testament and New Testament and the Bible in Russia.-Early history:...

 in 1990; that same year he founded the Open Orthodox University
Open Orthodox University
The Open Orthodox University is a Russian theological educational institution founded by Fr. Alexander Men shortly before his death in 1990....

 and "The World of the Bible" journal. His strenuous efforts in educating the Russian populace in the basics and dynamics of the Orthodox faith has garnered him the label as a modern day apostle to the Soviet people, who were benighted by seventy years of Communist atheistic rule.

Murder

On Sunday morning September 9, 1990, he was murdered while walking along the wooded path from his home in the Russian village of Semkhoz to the local train platform. He was on his way to catch the train to Novaya Derevnya to celebrate the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

. Men had served at the parish in Novaya Derevnya for twenty years. His assailant's or assailants' use of an ax indicated a possible revenge motive. Despite personal orders from the Soviet and later the Russian government that the case be further investigated, the murder remains unsolved. His funeral was held on the day commemorating the beheading of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

.

Legacy

Since his death, Men's works and ideas have been seen as controversial among the conservative faction of the Russian Orthodox Church, citing his strong tendencies towards ecumenism
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

 which his books advocate. Nonetheless, Men has a considerable amount of supporters, some of whom argue for his canonization
Canonization
Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

. His lectures are regularly broadcast over Russian radio. His books are published freely in Russia nowadays. During his lifetime, they had to be printed abroad; mainly in Brussels, Belgium by the Publishing House "Foyer Chrétien Oriental" and circulated in secret. Several key Russian Orthodox parishes encourage following his example as one who faithfully followed Christ. Two Russian Orthodox churches have been built on the site of his assassination and a growing number of believers in both Russia and abroad consider him a martyr.

His son Mikhail Men is a Russian political figure who since 2005 serves as the Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of Ivanovo Oblast
Ivanovo Oblast
Ivanovo Oblast is a federal subject of Russia .Its three largest cities are Ivanovo , Kineshma, and Shuya.The principal center of tourism is Plyos. The Volga River flows through the northern part of the oblast....

. He is also a musician known outside Russia for Michael Men Project
Michael Men Project
The Michael Men Project was an album project overseen by professional musician and then Deputy Mayor of Moscow, Mikhail Men . For the project Men acquired the services of veteran rock vocalists Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner...

.

Works

  • "Son of Man" (1969), published abroad under pseudonym, later reissued in Russia;
  • "Heaven on Earth" (1969), published abroad under pseudonym, later reissued in Russia;
  • "History of Religion: In Search of the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Volumes 1-6, 1970–83), published abroad under pseudonym, later reissued in Russia;
  • "Where Did This All Come From?" (1972), published abroad under pseudonym, later reissued in Russia;
  • "How to Read the Bible?" (1981), published abroad under pseudonym, later reissued in Russia;
  • "The History of Religions" (Volumes 1-2, 1997);
  • "The First Apostles" (1998);
  • "Isagogics: Old and New Testaments" (2000);
  • "Bibliological Dictionary" (Volumes 1-3, 2002).

External links

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