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Religions 2018, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/rel9010002

The Problem of Church’s Defensiveness and Reductionism in Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s Ecclesiology (Based on His Journals)

Faculty of Humanities, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow 101000, Russia
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 15 December 2017 / Accepted: 17 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [630 KB, uploaded 21 December 2017]

Abstract

This article analyzes Schmemann’s ecclesiology in the context of his attempt to give an assessment of the Church’s attitude to life; as well as the problem of defensiveness in Orthodoxy; reductionism of ecclesial culture; “rejection” of the world and traditionalistic isolation. The author focuses upon the socio-cultural interpretation given by Schmemann to such important categories of the ecclesial language as “piety,” “humility,” “churchliness,” “spirituality,” etc.; showing that in real life these categories express the isolation and stereotypification of Orthodoxy. In the context of “lived” religion, these categories deliver a protective and reductionist message, justifying a kind of anthropological pessimism, “religion of guilt” and psychological self-closure of a person. The theologian juxtaposes two religious traditions: one based on the defensiveness and the other based on a sense of joy; the feeling of God’s presence and affinity to the Kingdom of Heaven. According to the author, the accents put by Schmemann in his ecclesiology can promote the formation of ethics of laity and a more adequate attitude towards the world in the 21st century Orthodoxy. View Full-Text
Keywords: Orthodoxy; Russian Church tradition; ecclesiastic culture; defensiveness; Orthodox piety; cultural attitudes; behavioral preferences Orthodoxy; Russian Church tradition; ecclesiastic culture; defensiveness; Orthodox piety; cultural attitudes; behavioral preferences
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Knorre, B. The Problem of Church’s Defensiveness and Reductionism in Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s Ecclesiology (Based on His Journals). Religions 2018, 9, 2.

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