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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

The main aspects of Protopresbyter Alexander Shmemann’s theology in the light of his attitude to culture and creativity 

Fr. Oleg Agapov, Dr. Sci. (Theology), Cand. Sci. (Philology), Associate Professor, Professor, Samara State University of Communications, Samara, Russia
pp. 45–60
DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2023_45_45
In this article the main aspects of Protopresbyter Alexander Shmemann’s theology are examined in the light of his deep interest in culture and art, especially literature. This interest proved productive not only for Fr. Alexander’s writings dedi­cated to various writers, poets and literary works, but also for his theology. The article briefly discusses the history of the formation of this interest and points out the teachers and predecessors who influenced Schmemann in this respect: from Archbishop Feodor (Bukharev) — one of the first Russian theologians to show respect for Russian secular literature — to Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov and Vladimir Weidle, representatives of Parisian theology, who had a serious influence on Fr. Alexander during his life in Paris. The article attempts to prove that Schmemann’s attitude to culture as a religious phenomenon is the key to his theology. It is the understanding of art as a manifestation of the religious depth of man and theology as the highest art, projected onto specific issues of church history, liturgy, canon law and doctrine that proves productive of deep and original analysis, in which one of the main criteria for the authenticity of a given work or issue under consideration is the creative freedom of the author, which has religious origins. The reflections of Fr. Alexander suggest that in his understanding, theology and religious life are inextricably linked with creativity, and creativity with freedom, with free vision. It is precisely as a creative free breakthrough to God that Fr. Alexander comprehends the Eucharist — the central, fundamental sacrament for the life of a Christian.
Keywords: theology, theology of culture, creation, Fr.  Alexander Schmemann, theology of history, liturgical theology, Eucharist
For citation: Agapov Oleg, Fr. (2023). “The main aspects of Protopresbyter Alexander Shmemann’s theology in the light of his attitude to culture and creativity”. The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute, 2022, iss. 45, pp. 45–60.  DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2023_45_45.

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