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Academic Periodical

The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

Issue 31 (summer 2019)

Table of contents


Petros Vassiliadis, Doctor of Theology, Professor of New Testament, Aristotle University (Thessaloniki)
The Biblical Background of εκκλησία and its Later Application in the Orthodox Ecclesiology
pp. 9–29
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.31.53159
The author compares two types of Orthodox ecclesiology. The first one is the eucharistic/liturgical ecclesiology based on the biblical (Semitic) understanding of the Church as God’s people, gathered around Christ and called to proclaim the coming Kingdom every time the Church comes together ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό (in one place), especially for celebrating the Eucharist. The second is the therapeutic/cathartic ecclesiology associated with the theological school of Alexandria. This type considers the Church not as the image of eschaton but rather as the image of the beginning of all being, the image of creation. In this ecclesiology, the Church is viewed separately from the historically existing church community, as a perfect and eternal Idea. The emphasis is put on the purification of the soul (catharsis), deliverance from passions and healing (therapy) of the fallen human nature. The spirituality and mission of the Church within the second type of ecclesiology are aimed not at the synergistic and prophetic proclamation of the Kingdom of God but at the salvation of the soul of each particular Christian. According to the author, today the Church needs to return to the prophetic nature of Orthodoxy as well as to the fundamental biblical tradition.
Keywords: ecclesiology, images of the Church, eschaton, Catechetical School of Alexandria, Eucharist.

Moral Theology

Sergey Horujy, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, Chief Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow)
The Ethical Catastrophe of Russia and the Mission of Registration
pp. 54–94
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.31.53297
This paper analyzes the anthropological catastrophe which occurred in Russia in the XX c. and discusses, which anthropological and social strategies are possible for redressing it in the immediate, post-catastrophic period. We review how ethical models have changed in Russia, from the prerevolutionary period to the present day, showing that the changes were typically sharp breaks between subsequent ethical models which were dictated by state power in a normative and violent manner. These breaks were damaging and disorienting for ethical consciousness, and gradually deprived this consciousness of sensitivity, eventually degrading it entirely. The paper characterizes the final, post-soviet stages of the process as the formation of “anti-ethics” (in the 1990s), followed by today’s formation of “non-ethics”, i. e. atrophied moral instinct and ethical consciousness. 
Next, the paper undertakes an anthropological analysis of the postcatastrophic state of man and society in Russia. Based on the conception of man as the “being-presence” (developed chiefly in Heidegger’s philosophy of Dasein and in the philosophy of Vladimir Bibikhin, in Russia), we conclude that in the post-catastrophic situation man exists in a certain deficient mode that might be termed the “trampled-down presence”. We find examples of this mode of existence portrayed in modern art in the works of Rilke, Klee and Kharms, and also in works of GULAG prisoners. In these examples, man’s mission of self-realization – insofar as self-realization is even possible under such extreme conditions — is qualified as a particular kind of existential practice that we term “registration on the edge”, or “ultimate registration”. Those who accomplish this mission are “ulimate registrars”. The mode of being that we call “trampled-down presence” lacks a full-bodied ethical model (as well as other dimensions of normal beingpresence), although it still has a certain ethos.
Keywords: ethics, ethos, ontology, anthropology, Russia, Russian revolution, archaization, anthropological catastrophe, being-presence, extreme practices, repentance.
Archpriest John Behr, Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Director of the Master of Theology Program, Professor of Patristics, St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary (New York)
Learning Spiritual Discernment
pp. 95–109
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.31.53298
In his article prepared on the basis of his presentation at the conference “Discernimento e vita Cristiana” (“Discernment and Christian Life”), held in Bose (Italy) in September 2018, the author reflects on the relevance of spiritual discernment as one of the traditional Christian ascetic virtues. He states that practicing discernment in today’s world becomes not only a Christian value but one which is common to humanity. Learning discernment skills is a crucial task to all. The author emphasises three aspects leading to fruitful learning of spiritual discernment: 1) the awareness of the close relationship between the Christian and the Church, the need for a profound immersion into the life of the Church, understanding one’s baptism as taking part in “Christ’s death” as well as one’s participation in the Eucharist as partaking in His Passions; 2) eschatological consciousness which becomes a measure of discernment and gives an adequate viewpoint (since the essence of all things is being revealed from an eschatological perspective); 3) growing up to the quality of God’s life, up to the freedom of initiative and willingness to respond, learning through backslides and returns.
Keywords: discernment, St Maximus the Confessor, St Irenaeus, eschaton, baptism, mystery of death, eucharist, repentance, freedom.

Science and Theology

Galina Shpatakovskaya, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics,Academic Councilor, Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow)
Possible Principles of Dialogue of Natural Science and Christian Theology
pp. 153–177
DOI: 10.25803/SFI.2020.31.53308
Problem of dialogue is examined in the context of the existing tension between the scientific and theological ways of knowing. The method is based on the analysis reflections on this theme of the scientists themselves (mostly physicists), available in the literature. The analysis made it possible to identify objective and subjective difficulties in the way of convergence of two positions and formulate five principles of the dialogue: compliance with the competence boundaries, clarity and transparency of terminology, agreement on the unity of truth, need for joint discussion of axiological and ethical problems. The fifth principle involves the desire to hear and understand other party. The real dialogue of physicists and theologians going on at the Saint-Philaret Institute for more than six years is described and analyzed in terms of these principles. A picture of the positions of physicists (agnostics, atheists) and Christians is presented on four topics: Christianity, God and man, knowledge, good and evil. The difficulties in following all the principles revealed during meetings clearly show that the considered real dialogue is in the very initial phase and its further positive development requires effort on both sides.
Keywords: science and religion, physics and theology, conceptual and real dialogue.

Russian Religious Philosophy

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
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.

Reviews and Abstracts