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The Russian Church and the Papacy [Paperback]

By Vladimir Soloviev (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   203
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.96" Width: 5.34" Height: 0.53"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2002
Publisher   Catholic Answers
ISBN  1888992298  
EAN  9781888992298  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Russian Church and the Papacy, edited by Father Ray Ryland, is an abridgement of Vladimir Soloviev's classic work, Russia and the Universal Church. This is a powerful defense of the papacy from Soloviev, a Russian Orthodox theologian who was committed to the cause of Christian unity and spent years attempting to convince his Orthodox brethren to reunite with Rome. Soloviev uses Scripture, history, and hardheaded logic to prove that the papacy is essential to Christian unity and truth, and without it the early Christian Church would have disintegrated into hundreds of competing sects.

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1Books > Subjects > History > Russia   [2631  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General   [5549  similar products]
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The Russian Church and the Papacy.  Jul 17, 2008
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. - Matthew 16:18.

This book _The Russian Church and the Papacy_ is an abridgement of the work _Russia and the Universal Church_, first published in Russian in 1889 and republished here by Catholic Answers, by Russian mystic and philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, who was a Russian Orthodox Christian who leaned towards Roman Catholicism, is an interesting study and defense of the papacy from the perspective of Russian Orthodoxy. Vladimir Soloviev (1853 - 1900) was a Russian philosopher and mystic who is perhaps best known for his teachings on the Divine Sophia. While Soloviev was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church, he took an interest in Roman Catholicism (and may even have converted) and offered some profound thoughts on the necessity and importance of the papacy. In this way, Soloviev (along with others such as Leibniz) remains an important figure amongst those who have sought to achieve a re-unification of the churches. In this book, Soloviev argues that the papacy plays a central role in Christian history and that the Russian Orthodox are at fault for rejecting it. Nevertheless, Soloviev maintains that the Orthodox have their own unique heritage and contribution to make and that their Eastern traditions must be preserved. As is noted by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, O.P. in the Foreword to this book, "Never before in Christian history has a leader of one tradition written so appreciatively, so incisively, about the heritage of another tradition." In this way, Soloviev's writings can be compared to the later writings of John Paul II, who in 1995 wrote in an apostolic letter _Orientale Lumen_ that Catholics must be helped to understand the vast rich heritage of their separated brethren in the Eastern Churches. As such, this book offers a unique foundation upon which to build the ensuing dialogue between the separated Eastern Churches and the Roman Catholic Church, particularly as that concerns the office of the papacy.

This book begins with a Foreword by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, O.P. which relates the goals of the late Pope John Paul II to those of the philosopher Soloviev, showing that Soloviev remains unique amongst Orthodox thinkers in this respect. Following this, appears a Preface by Scott Hahn which outlines the life of Soloviev and his opposition to the "positivists" as well as commenting on him from the likes of the Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, who ranked Soloviev second only to St. Thomas Aquinas as "the greatest artist of order and organization in the history of thought". This is followed by an Introduction by Fr. Ray Ryland which lays out the thinking of Soloviev, noting his relationship to the famous novelist Dostoyevsky, and explains the role of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the life of Soloviev.

The book proper begins with Part One, "The Papacy and Six Centuries of Eastern Heresies" which explains the relationship between the churches in the East and the papacy. This part traces the history of the Eastern churches from the time of the Byzantine empire, noting that by maintaining Christendom within the pagan state the emperors were prone to tolerate the heresies. Examples of such heresies are seen in Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, the Iconoclastic heresy, and Arianism. Soloviev also discusses such things as the role of the emperor Constantine (recognized as a saint in Eastern Orthodoxy), the relationship between the Greeks and the Romans, the "robber council" of Ephesus, the _Henoticon_ (a heretical document which sought to reconcile Catholics and Monophysites), the Council of Chalcedon, the Photian schism, and the role of Islam as an anti-Christian heresy which grew from an anti-Christian movement in Byzantium (Indeed, Soloviev writes "Islam is simply sincere and logical Byzantinism, free from all its inner contradictions."). Soloviev notes the rise of an anti-Catholic and anti-Roman sentiment in the East, the role of caesaropapism in the East, and then discusses Charlemagne and the Germanic empire. Soloviev ends this part by praising Roman Catholicism and noting the relationship between East and West. Following this appears Part Two, "The State of Religion in Russia and the Christian East". This part includes chapters entitled "The Russian Legend of St. Nicolas and St. Cassian. Its Application to the Two Seperated Churches" (explaining a legend about these two saints in which St. Nicolas comes to represent the Western church remaining faithful to its apostolic mission and unafraid to plunge itself into the mire of history and St. Cassian represents the Eastern church emphasizing contemplation and withdrawal such as is seen with the monks at Mount Athos), "The True Orthodoxy of the Russian People and the Pseudo-Orthodoxy of the Anti-Catholic Theologians" (noting how pseudo-Orthodoxy exists by negation, by negating dogmas maintained by the Roman Catholic church and by emphasizing difference), "Russian Dissent. The Relative Truth of the `Raskol'. Archbishop Philaret of Moscow and His Conception of the Universal Church" (noting the role of the "raskol" (schism) and the "old Orthodox" and their beliefs about the Russian tsar), "Critical Observations of the Russian Slavophiles and Their Ideas Concerning the Church" (noting the idealistic theories of the Slavophiles and their ideas concerning the church as a moral organism), "Religious Freedom and Ecclesiastical Freedom" (emphasizing the differences between these two types of freedom within churches in East and West and noting the confusion of these two types by the Slavophiles), "Relations Between the Russian and Greek Churches. Bulgaria and Serbia" (noting that while the Russian and Greek churches possess a common faith there is little solidarity between them and discussing the case of the Bulgarian church which was excommunicated for the heresy of phyletism and also the role of the Serbians), "The Fulfillment of a Prophecy. Caesaropapism in Action" (noting how the Eastern church has abdicated in favor of a secular power), and "The Design to Eastablish a Quasi-Papacy at Constantinople or Jerusalem" (noting how such attempts by the Eastern churches have failed). Following this appears Part Three, "The Ecclesiastical Monarchy Founded by Jesus Christ". This part includes chapters entitled "Preamble" (noting the role of Peter in the founding of the church), "The Rock of the Church" (noting the role of Peter as the rock of the church against which the gates of Hades may not prevail), "The Primacy of Peter as a Permanent Institution. The Three Rocks of Christendom" (noting the role of Peter as the rock of the church having the power of binding and loosing), ""Peter" and "Satan"" (noting that Christ refers to Peter as Satan, noting that as a private individual Peter is a hindrance), "The Church as a Universal Society. The Principle of Love", "The Keys of the Kingdom", "The Government of the Universal Church. The Center of Unity" (all noting the role and primacy of Peter as the center of the universal church), "The Monarchies Foretold by Daniel. "Roma" and "Amor"" (noting the role of Rome in the prophecies of Daniel), ""The Son of Man" and the "Rock"", "Ancient and Modern Witness to the Primacy of Peter" (noting witnesses to the primacy of Peter even from outside the Roman church including from secular, Jewish, and even Eastern Orthodox sources), "The Apostle Peter and the Papacy" (noting the importance of the papacy for unity and the failure of the Eastern churches to achieve this universality or even to summon an ecumenical council without the papacy), "St. Leo the Great on the Papacy", "St. Leo the Great on Papal Authority", "The Approval of Leo's Ideas by the Greek Fathers. The "Robber-Council" of Ephesus" (all noting the role of St. Leo the Great in defining the papacy and mentioning the "robber-council" of Ephesus), and "The Council of Chalcedon" (showing how orthodoxy prevailed at this council and noting the recognition of the pope's authority at this council). The book ends with Part Four, "The Pope, The Universal Father". This part discusses the role of the God-man on history, fallen manhood, and the Trinity of God. In the end, it questions why the Orthodox will accept the need for the paternal authority of priests and bishops but not the parternal authority of the pope himself.

In this book, Soloviev offers a brilliant defense of the papacy and a profound critique of the Eastern Church from the perspective of a Russian Orthodox Christian. Such a book offers an important study of the importance of the papacy for the church and the need and hope for re-unification of East and West. This book is especially important in light of recent ecumenical tendencies in both East and West and in light of the writings of some of the recent popes concerning the churches in the East. As such, it offers a profound message of hope for those who pray for the re-unification of the Christian churches in East and West.
Challenging and thorough but somewhat harsh in tone  Apr 29, 2008
Soloviev is not a familiar name to western Christendom. Until this great theologian's work was revealed to us through Pope John Paul II, it would have been difficult to find anyone in the west familiar with this fiery Russian theologian. In this work, Vladimir Soloviev gives stinging rebuke to his fellow Russian Orthodox theologians concerning their rejection of papal authority. He demonstrates in the beginning of this work through an uncompromising polemic that the Orthodox church has inevitably traded the primacy of the Church of Rome for the primacy of Ceasar. In this stinging rebuke he furthers makes the case that Islam is the logical, necessary, and ultimate conclusion of Eastern Orthodox thinking. Islam, in that sense, is not a religion in itself but an eastern Christian heresy carried to its logical conclusion. The Islam heresy theory is not one Dr. Soloviev details here but he provides enough that it makes us want to give that theory and its implications much thought.

Dr. Soloviev continues in rather harsh polemic strains demonstrating that Orthodoxy leads ultimately to a church that has lost the ability to affect true reformation of culture but instead becomes the servant of that self-justifying culture. It salt that has utterly lost saltiness and that never challenges the state that tramples it underfoot.

With the tone of the first portion of this book, many may not last to the end and that is unfortunate. Those who endure to the end will reap a rich reward in the form of the scriptural exegesis Dr. Soloviev provides in support of the primacy of Peter. It is, perhaps, one of the most concise and convincing cases ever written for this key distinctive of the churches in union with Rome. It is a good summary of the key scriptures and how they are interrelated with the entire body of scripture to form the big picture of the Church that Jesus founded 2000 years ago.

Although the early chapters may be too harsh for some readers, the final summary of the scriptural basis of the papacy is worth the effort. It is an historic challenge to the eastern church from one of it's own and it is a challenge that should be difficult to ignore.
Good history and apologetics  Jan 8, 2008
This is a spirited defense of the papacy written by a Russian Orthodox theologian who was frustrated with the lack of interest displayed by his co-religionists regarding his proposals for reunion with Rome. It provides useful material for Catholics who need to defend papal primacy in an apologetics situation, especially when dealing with Orthodox polemicists.

Some Orthodox readers may find this book interesting; others may simply be irritated and exasperated by Soloviev's polemical style. For the latter, I recommend Oliver Clement's book _You are Peter_.

I found most helpful and interesting his argument that since the content of the Vatican I definitions of papal primacy can be found in the writings of Pope Leo, that Eastern Orthodox Christians of Leo's time supported these ideas, and that even now the Orthodox still consider him a saint, that there is no basis for the Orthodox to consider the modern Roman church to be heretical. He buttresses this argument with extensive quotations from primary sources.

The book was written in the late 19th century. Consequently, Soloviev's references to "current events" in Russia, Bulgaria, and so forth can seem odd. Reminiscent of his friend Dostoyevsky in _The Brothers Karamozov_, Soloviev seems to have seen Russia to have a Christian mission to spread the gospel, reinforcing the anachronistic feel of some of the text.

As mentioned earlier, this book is strongly polemical in tone. It is more useful for apologists than ecumenists. For the latter, I recommend Klaus Schatz's book _Papal Primacy: From its origins to the present_. The latter book gives a sweeping and detailed historical overview of papal primacy in a non-polemical fashion, from a Catholic viewpoint. I also highly recommend Oliver Clement's book _You are Peter_, which approaches this topic from an Orthodox perspective that is respectful of Catholic theology. It is really interesting to see Clement and Soloviev interpret the same historical events in dramatically different ways.

If you have the money, I recommend all three books. If not, I recommend first the Schatz book, then Clement, and then Soloviev.
The Genius of Soloviev  Jan 16, 2007
Soloviev's 'The Russian Church and the Papacy' is an absolutely brilliant tour de force apologetic work in defense of the papacy and easily the very best I've ever read. A must-read for non-Catholics who still maintain that the papacy is an invention of the Roman Bishops or that the Pope has a 'primacy of honor' only. An objective read of this book would almost force one to accept the historical Catholic view of Papal authority and infallibility - period!
A Powerful Little Book  Jun 20, 2004
Russian theologian Vladimir Soloviev had an encyclopedic knowledge of world and Church history, yet he was able to distill much of its essence into this compact but powerful volume. Part One, "The Papacy and Six Centuries of Eastern Heresies," is a real eye-opener and a must-read for anyone interested in ecclesiastical history.I found his analysis of the three main parties to these controversies particularly insightful and right on target.
Soloviev's descriptions of the nefarious and shameful goings on at the Latrocinium (the pseudo-council of Ephesus in 449) and the response of the Church at the Holy Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon were based on primary sources. They are extremely helpful in cutting through the fog of modern ecumenist waffling on and revisionist assessments of the great councils of the Church, especially Chalcedon.
The Russian theologian's God-given wisdom and equally God-given writing ability enabled him to dissect Byzantine caesaropapism with surgical skill and to allow us to see it for what it was.
This is a great book, one of the greatest I have ever read. I recommend it without reservation.

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