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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: March 2009

17 - Russian theology after totalitarianism

from Part II - Contemporary Orthodox Theology: its Formation and Character


No 'neutrality', no simple prosaic matters or questions any longer exist in the world. Everything has become disputed, ambiguous, and divided. Everything must be contested with the Antichrist, who lays claim to all things, hastening to fix his seal on them. All people stand before a choice - faith or unbelief - and the 'or' has become a burning issue. 'He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather scatters' (Mt 12:30). The revolution revealed a harsh and painful truth about the Russian soul, uncovering the utter abyss formed by faithlessness, apostasy, affliction, and depravity. The Russian soul was poisoned, disturbed, and lacerated. Only by the ultimate effort of open spiritual striving, by the light of Christ's reason, by the word of sincerity and truth, and by the word and power of the Spirit can a soul that is afflicted, bewitched, and disquieted by evil doubts and deceptions be healed and strengthened.

In one of the final chords of his Ways of Russian Theology, Fr Georges Florovsky (1893-1979) passionately reflected on the meaning of events in Russia. His thoughts led him beyond the political, to the deeper level of spiritual and theological reflection. He wrote these words in the 1930s. In the Soviet Union the Russian Orthodox Church was suffering unprecedented persecution. The closing and destruction of churches and monasteries, the state atheism imposed on all aspects of life, the arrest, imprisonment, exile and execution of bishops, clergy, monastics, theologians and tens of thousands of active members had brought the Church to prostration. The voice of the Church in society was silenced, its teaching mocked, its extinction predicted.

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The Cambridge Companion to Orthodox Christian Theology
  • Online ISBN: 9781139001977
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