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Academic Periodical

The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

Theology of Culture and Interdisciplinary Research

Kyrill Aleksin, Lecturer, St Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities (Moscow)

Elusive Priest: Transformation of the Russian Orthodox Church’ Normative Discourse on Presbyter Ministry

Issue №24, pp. 136–169
The article addresses one of the major issues of Orthodox pastoral education, namely the ways of how the image of presbyter ministry is being formed. Based on official texts constituting the normative discourse, the author traces the transformation of the “official” image of priest in terms of his functions and consequently points at today’s transition from the traditional position of priest to that of church diaconal or missional specialist.
Keywords: priest, pastoral action, practical theology, pastoral theology, normative discourse, image of priest, Russian Orthodox Church.
Yuliy Asoyan, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Department of History and Theory of Culture, Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow)
Simplifying Culture in an Organized Way? The Concept and Ideologeme of Culturalness in Soviet Russia of the 1920s
Issue №28, pp. 117–140
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.24700
The article considers the concept and ideologeme of culturalness in Soviet Russia of the 1920s based on the analysis of thematic patterns of culture in the early Soviet socio-political discourse, journalism and mass everyday life. The author outlines the process of how the categories of culturalness and the dominants in understanding culture as an ideological and pragmatic construct were formed.
Keywords: Soviet Russia of the 1920s, images of culturalness, revolution culture, work culture, everyday culture, political culture.
Yulia Balakshina, Doctor of Philology, Academic Secretary, St Philaret’s Institute; Associate Professor, Herzen State Pedagogical University (Moscow; St Petersburg)
Averintsev’s Hermeneutics: Origins, Principles, Distinctiveness
Issue №32, pp. 110–127
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.32.53367
The article outlines the principles of philological hermeneutics, namely those of large context, mutual elucidation of epochs, meta-discursive language, personal communion, semantic vertical (“‘descending’ to the reality of the text from another altitude”). It is assumed that the originality of Averintsev’s hermeneutic method is associated with the influence of Eastern Christianity, in particular with that of St Isaac of Nineveh, St Ephraim the Syrian, St Gregory of Nazianzus who 
described the experience of mystical knowledge of God. The poem “Annunciation” is considered the image of cognition-understanding that Averintsev offers as an alternative to traditional hermeneutic procedures.
Keywords: S.S. Averintsev, hermenevtics, understanding, historical poetics, orthodoxy, patristic tradition, knowledge of God.
Natalia Belevtseva, Senior researcher, Alexander Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora (Moscow)

The Unknown “Musica Universalis” by Sister Joanna

Issue №26, pp. 172–199
The article offers a description and a theological and artistic interpretation of a piece of textile painting (tablecloth) by Sister Joanna (Reitlinger), well-known icon painter of the XX century. This artwork is represented as a symbolic picture of the world, created on the basis of some religious and philosophical views combining the elements of ancient mythology with the Christian concept of the universe. The images of animals inscribed into the segments of the tablecloth are analysed in detail in terms of iconography and colour treatment. The author interprets them as a phenomenon of harmony between the spiritual and material origins.
Keywords: Sister Joanna (Reitlinger), textile painting, iconography of animals.
Boris Voskresensky, PhD in Medical Science
Doctor as a hurt Aesculapius
Issue №10, pp. 63–76
With the assistance of mythological and cultural-historical data the article examines the problem of reflexive selfconsciousness formation. The author emphasizes its tragicalness because it holds in itself the knowledge of the finiteness of a man – his mortality. That is why activity of a doctor – fight with death – is doomed. Tragic collisions of this fact are specified – both social and evident through personal fates of psychiatrists. A term “Psychiatrist cross” is introduced. The author comes to the conclusion that the calling of a doctor is Christian in its essence – to die for somebody else.
Keywords: mythology, opposites, congruence, psyche, evolution, psychiatry.
Archpriest John Erickson, Professor Emeritus, St Vladimir’s Seminary (Tucson)
The Temporal Dimension of Discernment: History and Memory
Issue №32, pp. 128–151
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.32.53368
History and memory: To this pairing, philosopher P. Ricoeur and others often draw attention an additional element: Forgetting. The construction of history involves elements of both remembering and forgetting. This is a selective process. Especially in Russia and Eastern Europe, where religious identity is closely linked with national, ethnic and cultural identity, the upheavals and social trauma of the past century have encouraged politicians, religious authorities and many others to construct a highly selective historical narrative capable of eliciting wide popular support, but at the expense of memory. For the appeal of such narratives, multiple explanations can be offered. Modern optimism has given way to post-modern anxiety. The immediacy of real-time technologies has deadened our sense of time and place. Discomfort with the rush of the present moment and uncertainty about the future may lead us to seize on anything that promises order and stability, however lacking in truth and moral substance this may be. Needed now, beyond faithful remembering and prudent forgetting, is forgiveness – a subject that Ricoeur explores in an epilogue to his study of Memory, History, Forgetting. For Ricoeur, forgiveness “constitutes the horizon common to memory, history, and forgetting”. Paths leading towards this eschatological horizon are not easy to discern. Even the noblest of human projects for truth and reconciliation fall short, though they may point in the right direction. Here we can only speak of grace. Along with humility, patience, fortitude and the other virtues, we must be graced with an honest and unflinching willingness to engage with the past, however painful this may be.
Keywords: history, memory, narrative, eschatology, forgetting, forgiveness.
Olga Evdokimova, Ph.D. in Philology, Full Professor, Department of Russian Literature, Herzen University (St Petersburg)
Nikolay Sukhov, M.A. Student, Saint Petersburg State University (St Petersburg)

Icon vs Spectacle: Tertullian and Russian Classical Literature (“On the Edge of the World” by N. S. Leskov)

Issue №25, pp. 168–178
In this work, the author studies the character of perception and the ways ofinheritance of the texts, ideas, verbal devices and religious intuitions of thetheologian of the early Christian epoch Tertullian by author of XIXth century N. S. Leskov and the reflection of them in the poetics of his story “At the Edge ofthe World”.
Keywords: Tertullian, Leskov, poetics, icon, painting, pictorial art of modernhistory, show, verbal icon, paradox, the image of Jesus Christ.
Julia Balakshina, PhD in Philology
Religion and Literature: Aspects of Correlation (according to Russian Literature of the XIX Century)
Issue №9, pp. 56–80
The article is dedicated to problems of correlation between two basic spheres of human experience – those of religion and culture. Among numerous religious practices depicted to a various extent in the XIX century Russian literature, Christianity and, in particular, Orthodoxy, hold a special place. The author describes both various “mechanisms” of Orthodox influence over Russian culture and reasons of the contradictions that separated representatives of the Orthodox Church from the Russian educated stratum in the XIX century. The article describes four “models” of correlation between Russian literature and Christian tradition, developed during the XIX century: religious, mediatory, realistic and artistic.
Keywords: religion, Christianity, Orthodox Church, literature, dialogue, symbol, image, Russian novel.
Tatiana Kasatkina, D.Sc. in Philology, Leading Researcher, Head of the “Dostoevsky and World Culture” Research Institute, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Research Committee for Dostoyevsky’s Artistic Heritage within the Scientific Council for the History of World Culture RAS, Editor-in-chief, “Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal” (Moscow) ORCID: 0000-0002-0875-067X
Dostoevsky’s Theological Discourse Through Biblical and Liturgical Citations
Issue №39, С. 238–260
DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2021_39_238
In all his creative work, though particularly in his novels written after his time in exile at a labour camp, Dostoevsky creates very deep texts of the highest coherence. One of the causes, and his main aim, in writing this kind of text is his strategy of consciously “retreating” before the reader, with the goal of involving the reader into a non-judgmental space where ideas can be experienced as disengaged from the conscious ideological filters that shut off any reader’s change of encounter with a particular complex of ideas, which in Dostoevsky’s time as in ours, are primarily theological. In order to put his strategy of “retreat” into practice, the author places his “index finger, raised in passion” (a mark that Dostoevsky defines as a necessary quality of a good writer) in those areas that the reader would be able to discover only if he exerted specific effort, and readiness to strive toward images and in their depth, far beyond direct narrative. One of the most important fields for this kind of “placement” is quotation, particularly quotations of the Bible and Liturgical texts. The article demonstrates the presence of this strategy in Dostoevsky’s novels Humiliated and Insulted (also known in English as The Insulted and Humiliated) and The Brothers Karamazov, in which in diverse ways the writer tells the reader about a love that has gone astray, the sufferings it brings to those who follow it, and the means if returning love to its true path.
Keywords: Dostoevsky, theology, Biblical citation, Liturgical citation, authorial strategies, Humiliated and Insulted, The Insulted and Humiliated, The Brothers Karamazov
Аlexander Kopirovsky, PhD in Pedagogy
Using Synthesis of Arts in Design of Churches as Basis for Study Course
Issue №7, pp. 134–155
Perception of works of art is made somewhat difficult today both by the growing consumerist and anti-artistic tendencies in the very fabric of today’s life as well as the division of the once holistic notion of art into various forms of art or “arts” plural. As a possible way out the author proposes a study course, which is based on the “synthesis of arts” as revealed in the architecture and design of Christian churches, which present the most natural example of this synthesis while at the same time forming an integral part of the world’s artistic culture.
Keywords: religious art, churches, church building, “synthesis of arts”, integration, education, perception.
Alexander Kopirovsky, PhD in Pedagogy
Special Aspects of Studying and Teaching Church Art in Western Europe and Russia in the XIX and the XX centuries
Issue №10, pp. 105–116
The article outlines and analyses the complicated process of studying and teaching church art. Many aspects of the process were similar for Europe and Russia, e. g. the history of art being transformed from a confessional science into an independent subject, the establishment of the polysemantic approach to studying it and more focus on the theological meaning of art works.
Keywords: history of art, church archeology, artistic form, theology, teaching.
Alexander Kopirovsky, Ph.D. in Education, Associate Professor, Professor, St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow)
Christ as Portrayed by Ivan Turgenev (“A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”), on Mediaeval Russian Icons and Mid-To-Late XIX Century Russian Paintings
Issue №30, pp. 155–181
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.30.34615
The article focuses on Ivan Turgenev’s understanding and portrayal of Christ in three of his works: “A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”. Since Turgenev defined himself as a secular non-believer, his interest in Christ was largely interpreted as part of the quest for the “historical Jesus”, which was a popular pursuit at the time. An analysis of Turgenev’s actual writing pertaining to this portrayal demonstrates a lack of intention to juxtapose a realistic image of Christ the man and the traditional image of Christ as a God-Man. In all of the three works, Turgenev portrays Christ in the context of mystical visions and revelations. In order to broaden the scope of the research, we have analysed the writings against the images of Christ found on mediaeval Russian icons and throughout paintings and sculptures produced in Turgenev’s Russia. This comparison method enabled by extensive application of iconographic, historical and aesthetic analysis is hitherto unprecedented. The research has identified instances of alignment between Turgenev’s portrayal of Christ and the images found on icons; it has also revealed the fundamental differences in form and substance between the image created by Turgenev and the one dominating works on the same subject by representatives of both the academic and the realist schools of painting (exceptions are uniquely rare). The research has also found that the most significant features of Turgenev’s Christ image reflect a number of religious, philosophical and theological definitions.
Keywords: Christ, Turgenev, image, icon, painting, sculpture, academic art, realism, text, context.
Alexander Kopirovsky, Ph.D. in Education, Associate Professor, Head of the Theology Department, St Philaret’s Institute (Moscow)
Viktoriya Syagayeva, Independent researcher (Moscow)
N. V. Pokrovsky’s Concept of the Emergence of the Christian Basilica in the Context of Contemporary Research
Issue №33, pp. 100–117
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.33.54185
The article considers the emergence of the Christian basilica, contributing to the discussion originating in the late XV century. It outlines the principle approaches to resolving the discussion. The article contains detailed analysis of the late XIX century debate between professors N. V. Pokrovsky and N. F. Krasno seltsev summarising previous and partly anticipating future discussions on the subject. 
The article concludes that the points of view expressed by the two opponents (Pokrovsky associated the basilica forms with a house (ikos) remodelled to host worship services while Krasnoseltsev viewed these architectural forms as influenced by the Jerusalem Temple) should not be regarded as opposite but as highlighting various aspects and chronological stages of a single process. The article suggests an alternative sequencing of the stages noting, in particular, 
simultaneous occurrence of certain stages. The basis for this alternative sequencing is found in the absence of a discernible transition from private and public Christian basilicas to imperial basilicas, established as fully-fledged temples from the age of Emperor Constantine onwards.
In conclusion, the article reviews Pokrovsky’s concept in the context of the ongoing ecclesiastical architecture crisis resulting from the focus being placed exclusively on sacro-symbolic temple forms, as described in H. Sedlmayr’s works. The concept, which suggests seeking a new temple appearance primarily by adapting the home interior to small community worship is deemed substantially more productive for the purpose of overcoming the crisis than imitating period 
architecture or creating arbitrary forms.
Keywords: Christian basilica, emergence, Pokrovsky, Krasnoseltsev, house (ikos), Jerusalem Temple, Constantine’s basilicas, contemporary ecclesiastical architecture.
Anatoly Krasikov, Doctor of Science in History, Professor
Religions and Society in Europe
Issue №7, pp. 91–117 
The recent events in the Vatican, i. e. the voluntary resignation of the Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (numbering some 1.2 billion members) and the election of a new extraordinary Pope, have created a sensation of a truly global scale. They make it clear that one more step forward has been made from the divide between the past and the future wrought by the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church half a century ago. The history of Christianity spans more than two millennia, but it is only now that its followers have come close to a real turning point in their relations with each other and, no less importantly, in their relations with the rest of the world. For the first time ever they are really revising their approach to spiritual search within their own institutions, their approach to coexistence, dialogue, and cooperation with people of other faiths and the atheistic citizens of this planet. All this forms the theme of the present article.
Keywords: Orthodoxy, Christianity, Greek Catholic Religion, Vatican, church, society, unity, peacemaking.
Lidia Kroshkina, Senior Lecturer, SFI (Moscow)
“Is Everyone to Blame for All and for Everything”? Guilt and Responsibility in Russian Culture
Issue №28, pp. 64–80
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.23055
The article deals with the attitude to the issues of guilt and responsibility in the Russian culture of the XIX and XX centuries as well as with their transformation in the present. This topic is considered with reference to the centenary of the Russian revolution in terms of comprehending the ways out from the anthropological catastrophe of the XX century. The author takes as the basic Russian idea F. M. Dostoevsky’s thought about everyone’s guilt for everything and traces its development and echoes in the writings of other authors, churchmen and society figures.
Keywords: guilt, responsibility, repentance, Dostoevsky, Russian culture, 
culture of guilt.
Natalia Lichtenfeld
On the New and the Old in Alexander Kornoukhov’s Art. Mosaics in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace
Issue №20, pp. 106–125
The article studies the mosaics by A. D. Kornoukhov on the vault of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. New features introduced by the artist into the program and the style of mosaic decoration are analysed in relation to the traditional décor of Christian temple. Innovations are considered in terms of their theological content, iconography, imagery and artistic presentation. The image of the East Christian temple structure and its theological symbolism were depicted on the chapel vault by means of mosaic art creating an unparalleled eschatological image of the “new heaven”.
Keywords: mosaic, church art, Byzantine tradition, artist, image, iconography, church architecture, eschatology, theological symbolism.
Natalya Likvintseva, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Senior Researcher, Alexander Solzhenitsyn House for the Russian Diaspora (Moscow)
The Anthropological Aspect of the Revolution Theme in the Russian Emigrationʼs Religious Thought (Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova))
Issue №28, pp. 81–97
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.23056
The author analyses how religious thinkers of the Russian emigration (Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova)) reflected on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and traced the initial anthropological shifts that later were used by the totalitarian state in its project of creating a “new” “soviet human being”. Particularly, they focused on such phenomena as being captivated by the chaos of riot, merging with crowd, refusing to think independently. Opposing to this process of dehumanisation was viewed by them as understanding and recognising of their own guilt and historical responsibility for the crisis shaking Russia as well as their interconnectedness with those suffering, perishing, and “defeated”.
Keywords: anthropology, revolution, human being, history, Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova).
Alexander Melik-Pashayev, Doctor of Psychology
Artist between the Paradise on Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven
Issue №20, pp. 93–105
The article raises the question of why the subjects related to the pristine paradis and to the coming Kingdom of Heaven are usually not convincingly addressed in the world art, especially in the visual one. The author finds the cause in the absence of the artist’s inner experience to be rendered in her/his art images. The artist deals with a different task. Whatever is portrayed, the artist overcomes, more or less, the density of the “leather clothes” of sin and creates a “transparent” form, which does not hide but shows the essence, the soul of things. Therefore, a true work of art makes the Creator’s presence tangible in all His creation.
Keywords: image of paradise in art, artist’s inner experience, corner of paradise, paradise on earth, “leather clothes”, thin physicality, “form transparency”, icon and portrait.
Galina Muravnik
Biblical Roots of Genetics
Issue №10, pp. 77–102
The article demonstrates an attempt to elicit Biblical roots of Genetics. For this purpose several scriptural stories, particularly the story of Jacob at the time of his service at Laban’s house, are analyzed from the point of view of modern Genetics and its rules. Also, the author proposes a hypothesis which answers the question of how could it become possible that the discoverer of basic laws of Genetics was not a scientist but an Augustinian who did not possess even a university diploma. The author supposes that Gregor Mendel reproduced the Biblical experiment of Jacob with the only difference in a model object.
Keywords: Genetics, selection, genotype, phenotype, Mendel, Jacob’s sheep, moufflon.
Galina Muravnik
“False Ideas are the Greatest Obstacle on the Way of the Gospel”
Issue №8, pp. 123–149
The article presents an outlook over a possibility of the synthesis of science and religion. Modern development of a doctrine of the contemporary Church requires a dialogue between the evolutionary biology and Christian theology. The dialogue will allow to convey the nunciate in a form adequate for the Gospel addressee, i. e. for the people living in “the age of science”. This is one of the most urgent missionary tasks. The article critically analyses the alternative to structuring of such a dialogue – phenomenon of “scientific creationism”. The reasons of its methodological, ontological, theological inadequacy for the scientific world view are explained. Building its arguments on modern research of the evolution mechanisms, the author presents a possible understanding of the hexahemeron taking into account modern explanation of the evolution phenomenon. The given view on the evolution may answer all the claims, addressed towards it. It turns from an intellectual temptation into a space of Divine Revelation. 
Keywords: evolution, scientific creationism, creationists, Darwinism, homeotic genes, teleological evolution, tychohenetical evolution, hybridization, speciation.
Georges Nivat, Academician, European Academy (London), Professor, University of Geneva (Geneva)
From the “Prayer” to the Refusal to Receive Absolution: Is It Possible to Define Solzhenitsynʼs Christianity?
Issue №28, pp. 186–202
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.24707
The article traces the evolution of Christian themes and motifs in A. I. Solzhenitsynʼs work and raises the question of the nature of his Christian faith and of its role in his literary and journalistic writings. Special attention is paid to the imagery of the righteous, to the theme of repentance and forgiveness as well as to the writerʼs interest to aesthetics in Christianity and to the representation of Old Believers. The article also reflects how Olivier Clement and Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann viewed Solzhenitsynʼs Christianity. It is concluded that there was a complex controversy between of the heavenly “republic” and the earthly one within the writerʼs creative universe.
Keywords: Christianity, Christian writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, repentance, Solzhenitsynʼs work.
Maria Patrusheva
Place of Artistic Creativity in the life of the Church: the Perspective of the Iconic, Theological and Philosophical Works of Nun Joanna (Reitlinger) (1898–1988)
Issue №10, pp. 117–133
On the basis of the creative heritage of the nun Joanna (Reitlinger), the article discusses the problem of artistic creativity in the Church: questions of the artistic basis of the iconography, the influence of personal faith and the experience of communion with God on the arts, a link to the artist-icon painter with the revelation about God and man. In connection with the rebirth of the mission and of the worship of the dialogue with the society, restoration of destroyed churches and the construction of new issue of church art turns out to be significant for the church and society.
Keywords: icon painting canon, free painting, creative icon, icon-painter, monkhood, Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Maurice Denis.
Olga Plahtienko, Ph.D. in Philology Associate Professor, Literature Department, Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M. V. Lomonosov (Arkhangelsk)

The Idea of the Tradition in G. K. Chesterton’s Works

Issue №25, pp. 179–197
The article discovers the significance of the idea of Tradition in philosophical and artistic works by the early twentieth century English writer G. K. Chesterton. The spiritual, ethical and social content of tradition is revealed within Chesterton’s conception. The connection of tradition with “common people’s” attitude to life is identified. The analysis of publicistic and philosophical essays and that of his novel “The Flying Inn” demonstrates the unity of thought and image in Chesterton’s works. It allows to identify the genre nature of his magnum opuses as that of “novels of ideas”.
Keywords: G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”, tradition, common man, everlastingman, Christianity, “The Flying Inn”, the wine, joy, freedom.
Olga Popova, PhD in Arts
On the Style of Byzantine Art of the VI–VII Centuries
Issue №8, pp. 84–93 
In the Early Byzantine art already two main tendencies begin to take shape: creation of an image by old classical means with their little modification, and substitution of the classical artistic language with the stricter one far from antiquity. Both became apparent already in the VI–VII centuries. In the VI century art the strict variant of an image and style was spread wider than the classical one. This kind of style represents a special type of metropolitan art, which existed into the VII century, though not as a dominant. The other tendency – closeness to the classics – is a special feature of the VII century works. Adhesion to classical traditions would stay a permanent basic value of Byzantine art, as well as the effort to attach all possible spirituality to an image. Sometimes the two modes reached equilibrium. Usually one of them prevailed, however. Byzantine art never lost its classical foundation and its main component — the mark of the presence of the Holy Spirit. 
Keywords: Byzantine art, mosaics, frescos, classical, ascetic.
Vera Pozzi, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Research fellow, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow)
Issue №32, pp. 88–109
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2019.32.53366
This paper aims to present from a new perspective the figures of the philologist Sergei Averintsev and of his pupil, the poet Olga Sedakova, i. e. seeing them as “public intellectuals”. Bearing in mind that this categorisation may seem paradoxical when applied to these Russian intellectuals who undertook a significant part of their work in the “alternative” culture of the post-Soviet era, the first part of this paper provides a reconstruction of their intellectual biographies which aims to justify the main thesis by offering a view on elements of the public attitude that have characterised their activity. The core of their intellectual engagement lies in their interpretation of the issue of culture as paideia, i. e. as a living word that needs to be transmitted not only in the academic sphere but in the public domain as well. Re-establishing the broken ties with the sources of culture (both Christian and secular) – an approach that recalls that employed by the humanists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – represents for Averintsev and Sedakova the very task of culture, i.e. offering to human beings the richness of tradition through new words, giving them the possibility to rediscover their value and their openness to the Otherness and the transcendence. The selection of the sources that are provided in the paper focuses almost entirely upon discourses, homilies or conference papers delivered in non-academic contexts which are still highly neglected in the literature devoted to them.
Keywords: Sergei Averintsev, Olga Sedakova, Russian public intellectuals, Christian Humanism, culture, paideia, tradition.
Julia Safronova, Ph.D. in History, Associate Professor, Dean, Faculty of History, European University at Saint Petersburg (Saint Petersburg)
Tsar-Martyr vs Tsar-Liberator. Why was not Alexander II canonized?
Issue №37, pp. 139–160
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2021.37.1.008
This article analyzes both the formation and functioning of the image of Alexander II as a tsar-martyr in the last quarter of the 19th century. The interpretation of the terrorist attacks against the Emperor and then his assassination on March 1, 1881 as a willing sacrifice for the “sins” of the Russian people and even as “co-crucifixion with the First Martyr Christ” was created by the 
preachers of the Russian Orthodox Church. It allowed to speak about the tsar’s death not as a profound political crisis but as an act of “saving” Russia. The image of the tsar-martyr was actively used both in the official discourse and in press, not only conservative, but also liberal.
At the same time the constant use of this image had unexpected results and was accepted too literally, which led to direct demands for the canonization of Alexander II, the creation of icons with his image and the holding of religious processions with portraits of the Emperor. In the second part of the article I discuss a number of hypotheses why the canonization of Alexander II which logically followed from the discursive strategy of the Russian Orthodox Church and which found support of the flock was not realized by the political elite of the Russian Empire. Alexander II became part of the historical memory of Russia as a Tsar-Liberator, not a Tsar-Martyr.
Keywords: Alexander II, populist’s terror, canonization, martyr, representation.
Olga Sedakova, Doctor of Theology of European Humanitarian University (Minsk), PhD in Philology
European Idea in Russian Culture. Its Past and Present
Issue №7, pp. 74–90 
The paper introduces a new notion of “the European idea” – the idea of Western civilization and its universal meaning as it is embedded in a long-standing tradition of Russian thought and practical life. The term is coined after a well-known and widely used notion of “the Russian idea” which covers numerous aspects of Russia’s self-identity, its claim to being a separate civilization with a unique value system. That system though, has always been described through a sharp contrast with the Occident. Apparently, as the author undertakes to show, Russia has spent as much energy creating and recreating the positive image of the West, finding a rich source of inspiration in the images of a different and more “humane” life borrowed from abroad. This type of activity though, has never received its proper name. “The European idea” is the name of a phenomenon experienced for at least 300 years in Russian life. Yet, as the author shows, the phenomenon itself is much older, its ‘past’ code-name (i. e. before Peter the Great) would be of course “Byzantium”. For it is after this Byzantine model of Europe’s Christian and antique heritage that pagan Russia was modelling itself. Yet concentrating upon a later (post-schism, post-Byzantium, post-Peter) version of the same phenomenon the author of “the European idea” tries to extract that implicit element which was passed on to the lore of Russian tradition 300 years ago. She calls it an implicit Christian element which was passed not through the formal indoctrination (Catholic or Protestant), but through the works of classic Western lay authors, artists, and thinkers who greatly drew upon the spiritual sources of Western Christianity even if most non-conscientiously. Yet surprisingly the author implies that the motives most constituent of the Russian “European idea” are those that pertain not to Europe, but to Christianity as such. Only in Russia they remained overshadowed by other more treasured aspects of Christianity. Among those new “Western” motives (i. e. aspects more developed in the West) the author enumerates aspiration for freedom, the dignity of Man, the value of artistic and intellectual work (creative spirit). They include a keen sense of the present state of things in its historic perspective, a humanitarian attitude and social solidarity. It was not until recently, the author remarks that Russia’s “European idea” began to also pay tribute to Europe’s civil law and its basic institutional foundations, those “prosaic” traits of Europe’s fabric which used to repel even the most ardent followers in Russia. “The European idea” tends to designate a partial and impassionate Russian thought about Europe, its hopes and its glory. Just as it also speaks of the unyielding tradition of admiration that the West expresses for those aspects of the Orthodox tradition that it finds less expressed in its own Christian heritage and that are popularly known as “the Holy Rus”. 
Keywords: Europe, Russia, cultural implantation, Christian humanism.
Sergey Burlaka, B. A. in Theology, SFI (Moscow)

M. V. Yudina’s Spiritual Journey

Issue №22, pp. 85–107
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina (1899–1970) went down in the history of the XX century Russian culture as a world-renowned pianist, tutor and musical figure. Less known are the circumstances of her spiritual and church life. However, Maria Yudina, a person of rare integrity, did not split these areas of her life. In their unity, these form what could be called her ‘spiritual journey’, allowing her to get maturity in spite of the total ideological pressure and to spiritually resist the ‘anthropological disaster’. The article discusses the major milestones of this journey: searching and finding faith, church life and her quest for answers to spiritual questions.
Keywords: history, confessorship, music, culture, spiritual guidance, memory, resistance.
Evgenia Smagina, Doctor of Philology, Head of the Department of History and Culture of the Ancient East, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; associate professor, deputy director, V. S. Golenishchev Centre of Egyptology, RSUH; Associate Professor, SFI (Moscow)
Narrative of the “Monastic Utopia” in the Coptic Literature as a Result of Convergence
Issue №27, pp. 119–133
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.27.18481
The article investigates one of the “wandering” topics of Christian literature – the image of the monastic earthly paradise or utopia in the writings of the “peregrination” genre. This study is focused on the development of this topic in the Coptic “Life of St Onuphrius the Anchorite”. Some details in the Coptic versions show that their Greek original was different from the extant Greek text. On the other hand, it is possible to trace parallels with the topics of the pseudepigrapha – the legend about the paradise of the Egyptian priests Jannes and Jambres, the pre-Christian legend of the blessed descendants of Rechab. The coincidence of details, especially in some proper names, and the structural similarity suggest that the Coptic text is a result of the convergence of different traditions.
Keywords: Christianity, patristic hagiography, pseudepigrapha, earthly paradise.
Ernst Christoph Suttner, Priest, Doctor of Theology
Not Tolerance but Mutual Appreciation and Ability to Learn from Each Other
Issue №7, pp. 118–133 
The article addresses the problem of tolerance, so vital and urgent for today’s global world. In contrast with the commonplace understanding of tolerance as showing mutual respect and acceptance of different points of view in a dialogue (being tolerant and patient with others instead of conflicting or indifferent) the author proposes a different approach, which in his opinion is rooted in Christian tradition. Essentially this approach involves a common premise shared by all the parties in a dialogue: they all agree upon the existence of the one truth, which is the same for everyone. And it is this truth that they set out as their common goal at the same time fully acknowledging the incomplete character of their own knowledge, the possibility of different ways of attaining that truth, and showing a readiness to learn from each other. The author explores different examples of this type of dialogue in history (from Justin the Philosopher to Vatican II).
Keywords: tolerance, dialogue, Justin the Philosopher, Clement of Alexandria, Romanos the Melodist, Vatican II.
Andrey Teslya, Ph.D. in Philosophy, Associate Professor, Senior Research Fellow, Academia Kantiana, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (Kaliningrad)
On Characterising the Slavophiles’ Political Theory: About Ivan Kireyevsky’s Beliefs
Issue №31, pp. 189–203
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.31.53350
Over recent decades, the Slavophiles’ political theory has been relatively seldom made the subject of a special analysis. It has been customary to reproduce traditional historiographic judgments, which cover neither new sources on the topic, introduced over the years, nor the results of developing related topics. The article aims at considering some subjects to characterise more accurately the political beliefs of Ivan Vasilyevich Kireyevsky (1806–1856). As one of the most prominent figures among the Slavophiles, he attracts attention mainly for his philosophical and some of his theological views. By no means rebutting this view, the author provides a brief description of his political beliefs of his mature period (late 1830s). In his writings of that time, Ivan Kireyevsky appears as a political theorist, attentive to the conceptual row, who assumed in 1855 the conservative-liberal nationalist position oriented towards the Anglophile tradition. Of particular interest is Kireyevsky’s position in relation to “law” and “legality”. In contrast to the prevailing interpretation of Slavophilism by Aksakov, disregarding formal legality and almost opposing it to justice (within the dichotomy of an “outer truth” versus an “inner” one), Kireyevsky advocates the unity of justice and legality.
Keywords: history of Russian social thought, nationalism, political theory, Russian liberalism, Slavophilism.
Vladimir Kostromitsky
Theosophic and Anthroposophic Ideas in Wassily Kandinsky’s Aesthetic Theory
Issue №10, pp. 134–146
The article analyses aesthetic theory of Wassily Kandinsky in order to find out ideas directly or implicitly connected to occult and esoteric systems, especially popular at the times when the theory appeared. Tracing theosophic and anthroposophic ideas in Kandinsky’s theory stems from the fact that all the European occult sciences of that period somehow originated from E. Blavatsky’s theosophy and R. Steiner’s anthroposophy.
Keywords: aesthetic theory, Wassily Kandinsky, abstractionism in art, Blavatsky’s theosophy, Steiner's anthroposophy.
Boris Voskresensky, Ph.D. in Medicine, Associate Professor, SFI; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University (Moscow)
The Impact of the 1917 Revolution on the Evolution of the Concept of Mental Disorder
Issue №28, pp. 141–158
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2018.28.24702
The psychiatric criteria of norm and mental illness are socially relevant, as they can be used as tools of social manipulation and crackdown on any kind of dissent. Referring to the cultural and historical background, the paper demonstrates the prevalence of the fatalistic biological and the subjective voluntarist approaches to the issue of mental norm and pathology in the pre-revolutionary period. The Soviet era is characterised by impersonal collectivism and ideological onesidedness. In all these cases, willingly or not, either moral (ideological) or purely biological evaluations are decisive in diagnosing mental disorders. The today’s definition of mental health, formulated by the World Health Organization, is also not free from these shortcomings. Based on the trichotomy of spirit-soul-body, taken by the Russian psychiatry from Christian anthropology, the concepts of psyche (mental processes) and mental disorder are suggested. The author also highlights their relation to the spheres of “spiritual” and “mental”.
Keywords: degeneration, voluntarism, subjectivism, reeducation, trichotomy, apophaticism, the 1917 Revolution.
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