The variability of approaches in the church’s identification in the Russian theology of the 20-th century

Keywords: ecclesiology; theanthropism; love; Eucharist; Kingdom of God; conservatism; novelty; modernism.


At all times one of the key problems of Orthodox ecclesiology has been the definition of the concept “Church”. Certainly, it reflects a certain theological-ideological paradigm that might change depending on socio-historical circumstances. Such legitimacy is well illustrated by the ecclesiological experience of the Moscow Patriarchate of the 20th century, especially in the 1990s, when Russian Orthodox Church actively acceded to the introduction and spreading of the political and church mythologem as “Russian World” or “Ruskiy Mir” by the leadership of Russian Federation. However, the line allocated to the Church in this project is abhorrent to the concept of the Church of Christ, and therefore, the article is devoted to first and foremost a comparative analysis of various approaches for understanding the Church of Christ and the impact of these approaches on the formation of ecclesiological doctrine and practice of Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in the 20th century. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the various approaches to understanding the Church of Christ and the impact of these approaches on the formation of ecclesiological doctrine and practices of Russian Orthodox Church in the 20th century. The choice of time and place of the object under study is due to the need to analyze the external and internal influences on the understanding of the phenomenon of the Church of Christ. It was specified that within a short period of time (during the 20-th century), the demolition of several centenaries paternalistic system of mutual influences between the Church and the Russian state took place, and a new system of relations was formed in a wide range – from the persecution and attempts of unequal symbiosis and even to mutual emancipation. Approaches of Russian theologians of the 20’th century as to the concept of the Church should be divided into three groups: conservative (based on the achievements of scholastic theology of the 18’th–19’th centuries), innovative (creative understanding of the patristic heritage, denial of the absolutization of social moment in the Church) and modernistic (adaptation of theology to modern society needs) philosophical understanding of the latter needs, and sometimes it’s considered as a tool for the use of the Church, or for its destruction). The criteria for their intrinsic definition were the method of definition (e.g, the concept of love) and the connotation associated with their perception (positive or negative). It should also be noted that the "The Foundations of Social Concept of Russian Orthodox Church" adopted by the Moscow Patriarchate in 2000 are in full compliance with the provisions established in the works of the pioneers of the 20’th century. The ideas of the documents remain relevant in the 21’st century, but they appear to undergo new transformations in the future. First of all, we have to take into consideration the current trends in the development of Russian society.


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Zelisko, S. (2020). The variability of approaches in the church’s identification in the Russian theology of the 20-th century. Fundamental and Applied Researches in Practice of Leading Scientific Schools, 38(2), 81-86. Retrieved from