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Academic Periodical

The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

Theological Research

Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy, Professor, Doctor of Theology
Bulgakov and Berdyayev: Theology and Philosophy
Issue №16, pp. 9–35
The article is based on the manuscript of the presentation prepared by Archpriest Vitaly Borovoy to have been delivered at the theology workshop in Chambésy (Switzerland), on the eve of celebrating the 1000th anniversary of Russia’s Christianisation. The paper analyses the theological views of Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov and the philosophical ideas of Nikolay Berdyayev, with both of them being the prominent representatives of the Russian Religious-Philosophical Renaissance of the first half of the ХХ century. The bibliographies of major works by Bulgakov and Berdyayev (as well as by researchers of their writings) are also reviewed. This article is an excellent introduction to the thought of these authors.
Keywords: Berdyayev, Bulgakov, theology, philosophy, personalism, existentialism, communism, Russian Religious-Philosophical Renaissance.
Sebastian Paul Brock, DPhil, University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow, Syriac Studies (Wolfson College, Oxford)
The Spiritual Senses and Discernment in the Syriac Fathers
Issue №30, pp. 182–201
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.30.34617
The article discusses some basic anthropological concepts characteristic of the early Syriac ascetic tradition where a key method of describing the human spiritual structure is to draw analogies; in the present case this is between the limbs of the human body and their internal spiritual counterparts. Thus the main category by which the true ways and objectives of the Christian endeavour are described here concerns the “internal senses”, with a set of their own “limbs”: this allows for a portrayal of a way of life and a means of discernment that is activated by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Keywords: Christian anthropology, spiritual sense, internal sense, spiritual discernment, grace.
Olga Bulgakova
Saint Irenaeus, Origen, and Saint Gregory of Nyssa: Continuity in Approach to Apokatastasis
Issue №20, pp. 75–90
The article covers the concept of universal salvation (apokatastasis) in the works of St Irenaeus of Lyons, Origen, and St Gregory of Nyssa. The attempt is made to systematize both similarities and differences in their approaches.
Keywords: apokatastasis, Final Judgment, Church Fathers, soteriology.
Priest Manfred Deselaers, Ph.D. in Theology, The Member of the Education Department at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim (Auschwitz)
The Likeness of God in a Mass Murderer? God and Evil in the Biography of Rudolf Hoss
Issue №30, pp. 140–154
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.30.34613
Rooted in “theology after Auschwitz”, the article places the traditional question “where was God in Auschwitz?” before the question “where was God in the Auschwitz commandant’s life?”. The author analyses the social, historical, biographical, psychological conditions that influenced the formation of the commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Hoss and raises the question of God and evil in his life. The article is based on the detailed analysis of Hoss’s autobiography “My Soul, Evolution, Life and Ordeals”, which allows tracing how God-likeness in Hoss’s inner world gradually faded away, since he betrayed the voice of the heart and replaced his conscience with National Socialist ideology, letting evil structures grow. He thus split his world into an inner and outer one and turned his life into a struggle against enemies who must be subjugated or destroyed. The theological question of preserving the “image of God” in a mass murderer is associated here with the biblical concept of “heart”, the existential center of the person, either open or closed towards the Other – God and man. In the conclusions, the author formulates the antinomy between the infinite mercy of God and his absolute justice. In the light of this antinomy, the question about the fate of criminals in eschatological reality can be raised.
Keywords: Rudolf Hoss, theology after Auschwitz, image of God, National Socialism, repentance.
David Gzgzyan, PhD in Philology
Duty and Value in the Gospel Formula of the Golden Rule of Ethics
Issue №3, pp. 25–37
David Gzgzyan, PhD in Philology
Existential Interest, Boundaries of Ethics and Difficulties in a Unified Christian Moral Doctrine Construction
Issue №7, pp. 28–50 
The article discusses possible foundations and difficulties in a fully-fledged Christian ethical doctrine constructing. The author considers as an initial step the so-called existential impulse, which motivates emerging of a behavioral strategy exceeding the limits of present existence with its common antithesis of directive or situational morals. However, the dual nature of this existential impulse activity requires admitting the fundamental problem of the content and the boundaries of morality field. It also requires to consider the very possibility of constructing a unified values system as well as overcoming the ressentiment factor through Christian Revelation. 
Keywords: existential impulse, moral boundaries, values, ressentiment.
Olga Hegay
Challenges of Communion in Community
Issue №3, pp. 70–79 
Priest Georgy Kochetkov, Ph.D. in Theology, Professor, Rector, St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow)
Alexander Kopirovsky, Ph.D. in Education, Professor, St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow)

The Experience of Covering the Topic “The Church’s Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, Its Scriptures and Traditions” in Teaching Faith to Modern Catechumens

Issue №26, pp. 38–65
The article is focused on covering the topic “The Church’s Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, Its Scriptures and Traditions” within the holistic and consistent process of teaching faith to modern adult catechumens. Based on the texts of the New Testament, patristic writings, studies by home and foreign theologians, as well as on the long-term personal catechetical experience, the authors consider the key concepts of this topic and offer their detalisation and systematisation. The article addresses the peculiarities of associating various layers of scripture and tradition with Divine Revelation and the knowledge of God. Possible errors and contradictions of their interpretation are also highlighted. As a result, it is concluded that catechumens need to be introduced into the Church’s Holy Tradition and the Holy Scripture, its holy scripture and tradition, writings and traditions within their internal dynamics and growth, not as into a set of definitions and subjects for rational study.
Keywords: Church, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, scriptures and traditions, Divine Revelation, knowledge of God, catechesis.
Vera Korablina
Anthropology of Origen’s treatise “De Principiis”
Issue №16, pp. 49–60
This article highlights some of the original Origen’s conceptions about the person: corporeality as a consequence of the fall, the idea of reincarnation, the belief in apocatastasis. The synthesis between ancient philosophy and early Christian theology is the main subject of anthropology developed by this Alexandrian catechist.
Keywords: anthropology, trichotomy, metempsychosis, apocatastasis, cosmogony.
Svetlana Lyats
Issues of the Mystics of Interfaith Communication
Issue №3, pp. 80–87 
Alexander Markov, Doctor of Philology, Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow)

The Polemic Meaning of Hannah Arendt’s Dissertation on Saint Augustine

Issue №23, pp. 28–38
The technique of “slow reading” of the first pages of Hannah Arendt’s dissertation on St. Augustine shows that the main task of this work is a polemic against psychologism and early existentialism. Externally showing loyalty to her teacher Karl Jaspers, Arendt argues contra a number of his existentialist presumptions to prove that existentialism is merely a particular way of conceptualizing time. Relying on the concept of “acquisition”, Arendt interprets time as a field of the projections of the good; not as an area of experiences and solutions, but as a field of conceptualization of hope and salvation. Thus, under the guise of an existential treatise, Arendt creates a reserve for her future political philosophy as the philosophy of meaningful ethical choice.
Keywords: Arendt, Augustine, Jaspers, existentialism, love.
Ivan Mezentsev, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, School of Humanities, Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok)
The Problem of Applying the Concept of “Consciousness” in Interpreting Christian Triadology
Issue №28, pp. 43–60
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.23054
This article considers the issue of using the concept of “consciousness” in interpreting the late-antique and medieval Christian triadology. The author demonstrates how the content of biblical, patristic and liturgical texts generates this theological-philosophical problem. A phenomenological method is used: the reader is invited to follow the inner logic and problems of trinitarian theology. The article points out the limitations of the traditional trinitarian terminology. In the author’s opinion, the presentation of classical theology in modern language has an important theoretical and practical significance for the formation of Christian identity nowadays. The article shows what conceptual conclusions follow from the development of the trinitarian and antitrinitarian positions on the issue of consciousness within the Trinity. It is also emphasized that, in solving this problem, it is important to understand the difference in the New European interpretation of “consciousness” from the late-antique and medieval understanding of this phenomenon. In general, the article allows for some conclusions about the specifics of the interaction between church and secular languages.
Keywords: Trinity, triadology, hypostasis, person, terminology, consciousness, self-consciousness, autocracy, patristics, theology, religious language.
Olga Afanasieva
Eschatological Life Focus of the Old Believer Communities on Vetka Island
Issue №12, pp. 65–80
The article offers an outline and analysis of the eschatological views held by certain Old Believer communities on Vetka Island and the resulting practices. Despite the visible explosion and establishment of a distinctive culture (Vetka icon painting, carving, decoration of hand-written books etc.), despite its susceptibility to influence of cultures distinct from it, despite the ability of the Vetka communities to self-direct and take on responsibility within the church, despite their aspiration to transform the earthly reality by lifting it up to a heavenly ideal, they still remained committed to stereotypical life models, which resulted in identifying the historical order with the mystical order of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Keywords: eschatology, Old Belief, community, schism, salvation, education, rite, Vetka Island.
Aristotle Papanikolaou, Professor of Theology, Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, Co-Founding Director, Orthodox Christian Studies Center (New York)
Christian Calling and the Polis
Issue №35, pp. 167–185
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.35.3.008
The article deals with the relationship between the Christian calling and the polis in the age described by means of the concept of “secularism”. The paper looks at how this concept evolved in the Christian era and what its content is in our time. It is argued that modern Western secularism has no atheistic orientation and does not seek to eradicate or marginalize religion. The modern understanding of secularism is based on the “thesis of differentiation”, which implies that different parts of society no longer draw meaning from religion. The article raises the question of what role religion should play in a society where it is no longer an all-encompassing reality. From the author’s point of view, the Christian calling in the epoch of secularism implies a rejection of the dominant role of Christianity, including Orthodoxy, in the state affairs and recognition of legal equality of all religions in society. The adoption of Christian secularism, the public most pluralistic political space, is the only alternative to the authoritarianism of the church, which is conjoined with the state. The article attempts to prove that if the Christian calling is to practice theosis, understood as a communion between God and man, acquired through the ability to love, then a Christian should treat people who do not share his/her faith with ascetic theosis. Theosis policy means that Orthodoxy cannot be imposed on anyone. It is necessary to develop legal structures and cultural practices that give space to the unique individuality of each member of society.
Keywords: religion, policy, Orthodoxy, society, secularism, pluralism, theosis.
Athanasios N. Papathanasiou, Doctor of Theology, Hellenic Open University (Greece, Athens)

Christian Fasting in Postmodern Society: Considering the Criteria

Issue №23, pp. 7–27
The article focuses on the meaning and criteria of Christian fasting in the postmodern consumerist society associating the attitude to food with a certain body image and dieting, which has become a sort of secular fasting in the “religion of thinness”. The author considers the Christian attitude to receiving food as to an act of thanksgiving, whereas fasting is seen as an act that introduces into everyday life a foretaste of the eschatological freedom from necessity. For Christians, both feasting and fasting have a strong communal dimension. The article also addresses the most pressing aspects of the eventual reconsidering of the forms and rules of fasting in the postmodern world.
Keywords: Christian fasting, postmodernism, consumerist society, ecology, “chemical” theology, debate on reconsidering the rules of fasting.
Alina Patrakova
From Secular Anthropology of Security towards Christian Anthropology of Communion
Issue №16, pp. 36–48
The article examines the anthropological syndrome Homo Securitatis (security-minded person) developing in today’s secular security paradigm. The path to healing from this syndrome, especially destructive for church life, can be addressing Christian anthropology of communion.
Keywords: anthropology, theology of security, Homo Securitatis, Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae.
Julia Shtonda, Ph.D. in Philology Editor of The Quarterly Journal of St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow; Voronezh)
The concept of “non-religious Christianity” of Dietrich Bonhoeffer as a response to the challenges of time
Issue №35, pp. 206–225
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.35.3.010
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) is a famous German theologian, member of German Resistance movement, who died in a Nazi concentration camp. In his theological letters to his friend and pastor Eberhard Bethge emerges his theological concept of “non-religious Christianity”. Formulated only in sketches in personal letters to his best friend, the concept became a significant contribution to the development of Western theology of the 20th century. The article reveals the significance of the researched concept as an appeal to the church based on the ministry of the Christian Church in the modern world, which has become nonreligious. The content of the concept is revealed in a number of theses formulated in the theological letters. Firstly, religiousness is defined as an individual and metaphysical understanding of Christian life. Secondly it is claimed that believers recognize the transcendence of God through fellowship. Thirdly, according to Bonhoeffer, the modern world has become mature (adult) and has learned to answer the most complex questions without resorting to God. Therefore, the church must learn to live in a non-religious world in the image of a serving community. This requires a revival of catechesis, that is, the consistent entry of new members into the mysterious and dogmatic teachings of the Church, on the one hand, and the external openness of the Christian community to the testimony of Christ, on the other.
Keywords: Christian community, epistolary, German theology, Resistance movement, non-religious Christianity, Bonhoeffer.
Natalia Titova
“Aligning All Spheres of Life with Christ's Truth” in the Works of A. M. Bukharyov (Archimandrite Theodore) (1822–1871)
Issue №3, pp. 88–97 
Katya Tolstaya, Doctor of Theology, Associate Professor, Faculty of Theology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Director Institute for the Academic Study of Eastern Christianity (INaSEC) (Amsterdam)
Dehumanization as the key to a real understanding of the image of God
Issue №30, pp. 103–139
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.30.34598
This article addresses the phenomenon of dehumanization in situations of extreme exhaustion, such as the dokhodyadi of the Gulag and the Muselmänner of Auschwitz. It explores this phenomenon as a challenge to post-traumatic studies in philosophy and theology, as well as to theological anthropology and specifically to the doctrine of the image of God in man, since “the Human in man” (Varlam Shalamov) is traditionally associated with the doctrine of the image of God.  
In recent years, interest in this doctrine has increased amongst Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox theologians, and in interdisciplinary research. In discussions between Western theologians and philosophers, the idea that the image of God can be isolated empirically, or is a specific qualitative (substantive) characteristic in man, is radically contested. The three modern interpretational models of man as an image of God (functional, relational and dynamic) are undermined by the testimony of victims testifying to the empirical reality of the loss of all human in man. They therefore fail to provide solid (theological) anthropology. I argue, on the contrary, that precisely because the testimonies describe the loss of what is traditionally understood as the image of God they paradoxically confirm the reality of God’s image. In this article I propose to revise the oldest, substantial model, based on the example of the anthropology of Maxim the Confessor.
Keywords: image of God, theological anthropology, dehumanization, Varlam Shalamov, Maxim the Confessor.
Olga Tskitishvili
“Where Two or Three are Gathered Together in My Name”: Some New Testament Aspects of the Mystics of Interpersonal Communion and Ecclesiality
Issue №3, pp. 59–69
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