Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The discussions on Russian religious
philosophy continue at summer school

Cloister Court in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

Our discussions of Russian religious philosophy continued this afternoon, when the Greek theologian Revd Professor Nikolaos Loudovikos, University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki, spoke on “Created as Uncreated: some remarks on Bulgakov’s Sophiological Christology.”

Father Nikolaos Loudovikos (Νικόλαος Λουδοβίκος) was born in Volos in 1959 and studied in Athens, Thessaloniki, the Sorbonne in Paris, and Cambridge. He received his PhD in 1989 from the Theological faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki for his dissertation, The Eucharistic Ontology in the Theological Thought of Saint Maximus the Confessor.

He is the Director of Studies and a Professor of Dogmatics and Philosophy at the University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki and a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge.

He was speaking this afternoon in Sidney Sussex College on the second day of the International Summer Conference organised by the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies.

Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov (1871-1944) was a Russian Orthodox theologian and philosopher. As a student, Bulgakov was interested in Marxism and took part in the Legal Marxism movement. Under the influence of writer such as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Solovyov, he rediscovered his religious beliefs. In 1907 he was elected to the Duma.

His early work was influenced by Solovyov and Pavel Florensky, and he was ordained priest in 1918. In 1922, he was one of a group of 160 prominent Russian philosophers expelled from Russia by the Bolsheviks, along with Nikolai Berdyaev and Ivan Ilyin.

In exile, he became professor of Church Law and Theology in Prague and then helped found Saint Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, where he died in 1944.

Bulgakov’s teachings on sophiology are highly controversial, and he was accused of heresy. He was sympathetic to the idea of universal reconciliation, with the reservation that the continuing punishment of the immortal souls of the wicked may be unending since human free choice can never be destroyed.

Bulgakov’s ideas were explored further later this afternoon, when Father Tikhon Vasilyev, who is working on his PhD at Wolfson College, Oxford, spoke on “The Idea of Pseudo-Dionysius and Sergius Bulgakov.”

A quiet corner of Chapel Court in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

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