On the evening of January 15, 2009, the noted Orthodox Christian theologian and historian Olivier Clément fell asleep in the Lord at the age of 87 years. Clément, one of the most significant witnesses of Orthodoxy in the West in the second half of the twentieth century, was a member of the faculty of St. Sergius Institute in Paris.
Olivier Clément was born in 1921 in the south of France. He grew up a non-believer, but at age 27, under the influence of Orthodox theologians Vladimir Lossky and Nikolai Berdiaev, he embraced the the Orthodox Christian faith.
He leaves a vast collection of writings, including some thirty works on theology, Church history, and spirituality, as well as numerous articles published in “Contacts,” a theological journal in which he had an editorial hand since 1959. Among his English language works are “The Roots of Christian Mysticism,” “On Human Being: Spiritual Anthropology,” and “You are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy.” Two of his books were published by St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press: “Three Prayers: The Lord’s Prayer, O Heavenly King, and the Prayer of St. Ephrem,” and “Conversations with Patriarch Bartholomew I.”
Clément entered into dialogue on major contemporary spiritual themes with Patriarch Athenagoras, Pope John Paul II, the Romanian priest and theologian Dumitru Staniloae, and Brother Roger of Taizé, with whom he had built trusted friendships. He was especially attentive to questions of modernity, which he sought to address through powerful and creative poetic reflection rooted in Church Tradition.
Funeral services took place in Paris on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.
May the memory the newly-reposed servant of God, Olivier, be eternal!