Many in Western countries are surprised to learn that significant theological work has been done by Russians in the twentieth century. We are so accustomed to thinking of the Germans as the most articulate theologians overseas that we may overlook the very considerable contribution of Russian thinkers.

Theological activity is relatively recent in Russia, having taken its rise during the era of Metropolitan Philaret Drozdov of Moscow (1782–1867). Metropolitan Philaret was active in the formation of the Russian Bible Society early in the last century and is also well known as the author of the Long Catechism of the Russian Church. With him, Russian theology began to flower, and the work was continued in the nineteenth century by such theologians and philosophers of religion as Metropolitan Makarii Bulgakov, Bishop Sylvester, Golubinsky, Khomyakov, and, best known in Western countries, Vladimir Solovyov.

Solovyov died in 1900, but his influence has continued until the present time. Among those greatly influenced by him are the eminent twentieth-century theologians Paul Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov.

The Russian Church, like the rest of the Orthodox communion, claims to be a scriptural church. It is conservative in interpreting Scripture and gives very considerable weight to the exegetical work of the old Church Fathers. John Chrysostom is an often quoted and often appealed to commentator, but the biblical scholarship of Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa and Cyril of Alexandria also enjoys high repute.

Sergei Bulgakov (1871–1944), surely one of the major systematic theologians of our time, affirms the full authority and supremacy of the Bible as the Word of God. The Word of God is the primary and unique source of Christian doctrine. ...

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