Augustine in Ottoman Greece and Tsarist Russia

P & D also show that Augustine continued to be held as an authority in the Eastern churches throughout the Ottoman empire and in Russia.  They point out that St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite “included Augustine’s name among the saints to be commemorated on June 15, when he completed his monumental revision of the Synaxarion (a calendar of saint’s feast days) between 1805 and 1807.”

The authors also explain that in Russian under Peter I (1672-1725) and Catherine II (1729-1796) there were strong movements to Westernize the Russian church.  Latin replaced Greek and old Slavonic as the intellectual language, and western books were brought in.  In response to this Westernization at the orders of the Tsars, the Slavophile movement arose which did condemn Augustine as the father of Western theology, but this was not a dominant intellectual movement.  P & D note, “For the most part, however, the Russian intellectual response to Augustine was a generous critical engagement.”  A footnote says, “In fact, the Orthodox Theological Encyclopedia (St. Petersburg, 1900), 108, asserted that ‘the teaching of Augustine cane be accepted as the image of true Orthodox Christian teaching'” (20-21).

Papanikolaou and Demacopoulos also note that Bulgakov, in the late 19th and early 20th century, warmly embraced Augustine as a true and better development from the Cappadocians.

This entry was posted in augustine, orthodoxy by Steven Wedgeworth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

One thought on “Augustine in Ottoman Greece and Tsarist Russia

  1. I wouldn’t pres the Russia connection too hard. Many Slavs were suspicious of anything Western since “Western” in the 19th century usually meant atheistic revolutionism ala France.

    Slavophilism, while delightfully holding the line against atheism, really wasn’t an intellectual powerhouse.

    Peter the Great was gaga over anything Western and if Augustine was Western, more power to him.

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