January 27, 2012

“White Rose” Anti-fascist Alexander Schmorell to be Canonized


In 2007, the Diocese of Berlin and Germany of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia decided to canonize Alexander Schmorell, a member of the anti-fascist student organization “White Rose,” who was executed on July 13, 1943, in Stadelheim Prison in Munich for anti-fascist activities and confessing the Orthodox Christian faith. The act of canonization will be formalized on February 4-5 in Munich, according to the official website of the Orenburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Alexander Schmorell was born in Orenburg, Russia, in 1917. His mother was Russian, his father from a German merchant family. Despite the fact that his family moved to Munich in 1921, Alexander retained a spiritual bond with his faraway homeland for the rest of his life, and was a parishioner in the local Russian church. In 1942, while studying medicine, Alexander and his friend Hans Scholl began to write and disseminate anti-Hitler brochures. The Resistance group “White Rose,” known to every European schoolchild, included Schmorell and his high-school friend Chrisoph Probst, and another student friend Willi Graf and Hans’ sister Sophie Scholl. The group was exposed in 1943, and they were all sentenced to the guillotine.

In 2008, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate announced that Alexander Schmorell is the first New Martyr to be canonized after the reestablishment of canonical communion between the two Churches. On February 4-5, 2012, bishops from Russia and Ukraine, including His Eminence Metropolitan Valentin of Orenburg and Saraktash, as well as His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America will be present at divine services in Munich.

More on Alexander Schmorell can be found here, here and here. A video about The White Rose can be seen here.