Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900), whom the Encyclopedia Britannica describes as a Russian idealistic philosopher, critic, and poet, became dissatisfied with his Orthodox heritage. His spiritual pilgrimage is perhaps best described in K. Mochulsky’s Vladimir Solovyov, published in Paris by the YMCA Press in 1935. In the closing years of his life Solovyov had a premonition of approaching world-troubles. He believed that divine retribution would overtake human events in a world-catastrophe and that the swift end of history would be presaged by the coming of Antichrist. In contrast to Tolstoy’s doctrine of Christian “non-resistance” to evil, Solovyov stressed the importance of the Christian’s stern and relentless struggle against evil. Of his last work, A Short Story of Antichrist (published in 1901), Solovyov said: “I have written it to express my final view of the church problem.” This fascinating but little-known work is remarkable for the relevance of its prophetic insight.—ED.
There lived at that time a remarkable man—many called him a superman—who was as far from being a child in intellect as in heart. He was young, but his genius made him widely famous as a great thinker, writer and social worker by the time he was thirty-three. Conscious of his own great spiritual power, he had always been a convinced idealist, and his clear intelligence always made clear to him the truth of that which ought to be believed in: the good, God, the Messiah. He believed in all this, but he loved only himself. He believed in God, but at the bottom of his heart unconsciously and instinctively preferred himself to Him.
… The inordinate pride of the great idealist seemed justified both by his exceptional genius, beauty and nobility, and by his lofty ...1
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