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Sergius Bulgakov

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Controversy
Bulgakov’s teaching on sophiology is highly controversial. The attempt to understand it properly is hindered by the highly political controversy surrounding it in the 1930’s. <ref>For commentary, texts and a fuller account of the sophiological controversy see Antoine Arjakovsky, Essai sur le père Serge Boulgakov (1871-1944), philosophe et théologien chrétien (Paris: Les Éditions Parole et Silence, 2006), pp.99-125 and La génération des penseurs religieux de l’émigration Russe: La Revue ‘La Voie’ (Put’), 1925-1940 (Kiev/Paris: L’Esprit et la Lettre, 2002), pp.433ff., N. T. Eneeva, Spor o sofiologii v russkom zarubezh’e 1920-1930 godov (Moscow: Institut vseobshchei istorii RAN, 2001), Igumen Gennadii (Eikalovich), Delo prot. Sergiia Bulgakova: Istoricheskaia kanva spora o Sofii (San Francisco: Globus Pub., 1980), Bryn Geffert, ‘Sergii Bulgakov, The Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, Intercommunion and Sofiology’, Revolutionary Russia, 17:1 (June 2004), pp.105-41, ‘The Charges of Heresy Against Sergii Bulgakov: The Majority and Minority Reports of Evlogii’s Commission and the Final Report of the Bishops’ Conference’, ''St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly'', 49.1-2 (2005), pp.47-66 and especially Alexis Klimoff, ‘Georges Florovsky and the Sophiological Controversy’, ''St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly'', 49.1-2 (2005), pp.67-100.</ref> It should be noted that by 1931 there existed three separate Russian Orthodox jurisdictions in Europe: [[ROCOR|Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (Sremski Karlovtzy Synod)]] under [[Anthony (Khrapovitsky) of Kiev|Met. Anthony (Khrapovitsky)]]; the [[Church of Russia|‘Patriarchal’ church]] answering ultimately to [[Sergius I (Stragorodsky) of Moscow|Met. Sergius (Stragorodsky)]] of Moscow (of which the young [[Vladimir Lossky]] was a member); and the [[Patriarchal Exarchate for Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe|Russian Church in Western Europe]] (Bulgakov’s own jurisdiction as well as the church of [[Georges Florovsky]]) under [[Eulogius (Georgievsky) of Paris|Met. Evlogy (Georgievsky)]] that was under the jurisdiction of the [[Church of Constantinople|Patriarch of Constantinople]] -- though in 1934, Metropolitan Evlogy was privately reconciled to Metropolitan Anthony, and in 1935 he went to Karlovtzy for a special reunion conference, at which time the schism betwen him and ROCOR was healed<ref>[[Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia|Timothy Ware]], ''The Orthodox Church'' (London: Penguin Books, 1964)p. 184.</ref> In 1936, Metropolitan Evlogy again cut his ties with ROCOR, quite possibly because of the controversy over [[Sophianism]].<ref>Protopresbyter George Grabbe, ''Toward a History of the Ecclesiastical Divisions Within the Russian Diaspora'', Living Orthodoxy, Vol. XIV, No. 4, July-August, 1992, pp. 37-39</ref>
In [[Sophianism#Decree_of_the_Moscow_Patriarchate|an ukaz of 24 August, 1935]] of Met. Sergius, Bulgakov’s teaching on ‘Sophia’ was described as ‘alien’ to the Orthodox faith.<ref>Bulgakov responded to the ukaz in his O Sofii Premudrosti Bozhiei: Ukaz Moskovskoi Patriarkhii i dokladnye zapiski prot. Sergiia Bulgakova Mitropolitu Evlogiiu (Paris: YMCA, 1935), pp.20-51. [[Vladimir Lossky]] then published a well-known critical analysis of Bulgakov’s response to the ukaz as ''Spor o Sofii'' (Paris, 1936).</ref> This ukaz was largely based on the epistolary reports of Alexis Stavrovsky. He was also the president of the Brotherhood of St Photius (Alexis Stavrovsky was president; [[Vladimir Lossky]], the vice-president, and Evgraf Kovalevsky [later [[Jean-Nectaire (Kovalevsky) of Saint-Denis]]] were also amongst the 12-15 young laymen who made up its numbers) whose members had left the jurisdiction of Met. Evlogy for that of Met. Elevthery of Lithuania.  This exodus was in reaction to Met. Sergius having removed, on 10 June, 1930, Met. Evlogy as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Western Europe (since Met. Evlogy had continually refused to agree to the 30 June, 1927 Declaration of Loyalty to the Soviet government) and named Elevthery as his replacement. In late 1935, Met. Evlogy appointed a commission to look into the charges of heresy leveled against Bulgakov.
The commission quickly broke into factions. In June of 1936 the majority report (prepared by Vasilii Zenkovskii, Anton Kartashev and others) rejected the charge of heresy but had serious objections about Sophiology. The minority report of 6 July, 1936 was prepared by Fr Sergei Chetverikov and signed by Fr [[Georges Florovsky]], who despite his personal respect for Fr. Sergius, remained an ardent critic of Sophianism for the remainder of his life. Meanwhile, the Church Abroad formally accused Bulgakov of heresy in 1935.
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