Natalia Shlikhta, "Two Portraits – A Study of the Orthodox Episcopate in Postwar Soviet Ukraine." Abstract:
Drawing on the methodological insights of scholars such as James C. Scott, William Fletcher, and Sheila Fitzpatrick, the author, by means of research into Soviet archives, correspondence, and synodal documents and other sources, has uncovered many details of how Bishop Feodosii Kovernynsky and Archbishop Palladii Kaminsky not merely survived but in many cases actively and repeatedly subverted the restrictions placed upon their episcopal ministry in several Ukrainian dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church from the late 1940s until the late 1970s. Shlikhta looks in particular at daily practices of these two men (e.g., redistricting of parish boundaries; promoting to priestly ranks of those who were often locally established deacons or laypeople not hand-picked by the state to be priests; publishing prayer books in Ukrainian rather than Russian as an ostensible tool to help “Uniates” integrate into the official Russian Church more easily) to dis-cover their subaltern strategies, which, while not always rising to the level of mass protest, major manifestos demanding rights, or similarly dramatic defiance of the regime, were nonetheless effective. The portrait that emerges significantly complicates the previous narrative of “two churches” whereby there was an officious and ideologically subservient church under complete communist domination on the one hand, and a rebellious, illegal underground church on the other. These two bishops reveal various quotidian strategies by which they demonstrated how it was possible to be rebellious within the officially permitted structures of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine in the postwar period.Peter Galadza's brief response to Shlikhta's article follows.
Jaroslav Z. Skira, "John of Damascus and Theodore Abū Qurrah: Icons, Christ, and Sacred Texts." Abstract:
Increasingly scholars dispute the idea that the rise of Islam in the sixth and following centuries contributed to the rise of iconoclasm in the Byzantine east in the seventh-ninth centuries. Two significant figures living under Islamic domination, John of Damascus and Theodore Abû Qurrah, both dealt with the permissibility and theology of images by appeals to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures. Both stressed the importance of differentiating worship of God from veneration of icons in order to guard against the charge of idolatry. But they diverged in the audiences to whom they aimed these arguments, John aiming at a Christian audience, and Theodore at a Jewish and Islamic one. Both, however, claimed not merely to be reiterating the inherited tradition, but actively developing it to face new challenges. The author reviews their respective development of tradition in their diverse contexts to reveal overlapping defenses of icons.Nadia Delicata, "On Divine-Humanity: Sergius Bulgakov’s Personalist Theology as Foundation for the Christian Life." Abstract:
The article argues that Bulgakov’s radically personalist understanding of God elucidates a sophisticated personalist Christian ethics. A novel understanding of the form, end, mat-ter and method of the Christian life can be discerned through Bulgakov’s four theological entry points evident in his great trilogy. First, an overall understanding of the Christian life as a paideia tou kyriou, that is, as a formation to Christ-like be-coming. Divine-humanity, the end of the Christian life, is an imitation of God-Manhood. For Bulgakov, however, the principle of self-emptying that characterizes God-becoming-flesh is a revelation of God’s own personalist nature. Divine peri-choresis as an emptying and filling of the immanent Trinity is revealed economically in the theology of creation, where creation is properly out of nothing to become something through the self-revelation of the Father in the Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, immanent divine being as self-revelation, or “divine Sophia,” has its creaturely counterpart in creation’s becoming a revelation of God, the “creaturely Sophia.” Yet creation also necessitates its own created hypostases to return God’s love offered to the world. The method of human flou-rishing is an imitatio Dei as becoming persons-in-relationship. However, the essence of the Christian life as a kenotic-pleromic ethic in imitation of divine perichoresis, is only possible through receiving the Holy Spirit who descends at Pentecost on all flesh, allowing humanity to seek her ultimate transcendence by actively returning to the Father his divine Love.Oleh Kindiy, "Patrology, Ecology, and Eschatology: Looking Forward to the Future of the Planet by Looking Back to the Fathers of the Church." Abstract:
Nearly a half-century ago in an infamous article, Lynn White Jr. accused Christianity of being complicity in environ-mental degradation, a claim that has met with widespread rebuttal. And yet, there are signs today of renewed ecological degradation in manifold forms, and peoples of all intellectual disciplines and backgrounds are struggling to respond to these challenges. Theologians have their role to play, and this article shows that there are deep theological resources within early Christianity addressing the goodness, stewardship, and salvation of God’s creation. Drawing especially on the patristic literature of such as Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Athanasius of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Basil of Caesarea, Ps-Dionysius the Areopagite, John of Damascus, Maximus the Confessor, Origen of Alexandria, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose of Milan, the author argues that we need today new forms of asceticism in addition to fasting from food that will help us forego excessive consumption and in so doing free us to draw into a deeper communion with all of God’s creation.
In this section we have three relatively short stand-alone pieces:
- Robert F. Slesinski, "Alexander Scriabin: New Age En Avant de la Lettre."
- Michael Plekon, “Maria Skobtsova: Making a Saint in the Eastern Church Today."
- Andrew Cuff,"Συμπροσευχή: Defeating the Otherness Mentality with Joint Catholic-Orthodox Prayer."
- Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch and all the East,"Greetings for the Conference of 27 November 2012 on The Life and Thought of Louis Massignon (1883-1962): Comparative Political and Theological Perspectives."
- Christian Krokus: "Louis Massigon: Vatican II and Beyond"
- Stefanie Hugh-Donovan, "Louis Massignon, Olivier Clément, Thomas Merton, Christian de Chergé: Radical Hospitality, Radical Faith."
- Richard J. Sudworth, "Responding to Islam as Priests, Mystics, and Trail Blazers: Louis Massignon, Kenneth Cragg, and Rowan Williams."
Matthew Milliner reviews John Haldon and Leslie Brubaker, Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era, c. 680-850: A History as well as The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual, and the Senses in Byzantium.
Michael Plekon reviews Paul Gavrilyuk, Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance (see also my lengthy discussion of the book here.)
Christopher Johnson reviews Victor Roudometof, Globalization and Orthodox Christianity: The Transformations of a Religious Tradition
Michael Plekon reviews Walter Kasper, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.
And finally I review Augustine Casiday's Remember the Days of Old: Orthodox Thinking on the Patristic Heritage. (My review is a shorter version of the one published here.)