Are You Loyal to the Church of the Fathers?

Feast of St Hilarion the Great

Florovsky_Square.jpgTHE LAST and most distinctive feature of the Russian development in recent time was a return of philosophers to the Church and their attempt to re-interpret precisely the Patristic tradition in modern terms, to restate the teaching of the Church as a complete philosophy of life. It was a noble endeavor, and a daring and courageous one. There is no need to conceal all the dangers of this venture or the failures of those who run the risk. Unfortunately, this reinterpretation was unnecessarily linked with the adoption of German idealistic philosophy, of Hegel, Schelling, and Baader, and very much of unhealthy mysticism has crept into the schemes constructed by Vladimir Soloviev, the late Father Sergius Bulgakov, Father Paul Florensky, and perhaps most of all the late Nicolas Berdiaev. There is no need to endorse their findings and speculations. But it is high time to walk in their steps. And the unprecedented response which the religious philosophy of Berdiaev has provoked in the whole of the Christian world is the best proof that his message was not felt to be strange and “exotic.” The standing legacy of this school is not their peculiar conceptions, but precisely their aim: to show and to prove that a modern man can and must persist in his loyalty to the traditional faith and to the Church of the Fathers without compromising his freedom of thought and without betraying the needs or requests of the contemporary world.

—Fr Georges Florovsky, The Legacy and Task of Orthodox Theology

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