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Holy Name - Bulatovich (1)

Holy Name - Bulatovich (1)

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SJT 64(4): 377–389 (2011)
Scottish Journal of Theology Ltd 2011doi:10.1017/S0036930611000202
The status of divine revelation in the works of Hieromonk Anthony Bulatovich
Tatiana Senina
Faculty of Philosophy and Political Science, Saint-Petersburg State University,St Petersburg 199034, Russia
The article presents one aspect of the theology of the leader of the Athonitefollowers of Onomatodoxy, Hieroschemamonk Anthony Bulatovich, namely hisdoctrine of divine revelation and words of God in the Bible as uncreated energiesof God. This article shows that this doctrine is in conformity with the views of theFathers of the Eastern Church as well as with the Old Testament theology of theDivine Name.
Interest in the religious and philosophical life of Russian society on the eveof the Revolution in general, and in the disputes about Onomatodoxy atthe beginning of the twentieth century in particular, has increased in recentyears.
The discussion of Onomatodoxy, after a pause of several decades,is now being continued on the internet and in books and journals withno less fervour than at the beginning of the conflict. The most frequentsubject of discussion is the ‘Athonite’ version of Onomatodoxy, that is,the teaching about the name of God in the form that was developed by
On the Onomatodoxy dispute see: Antoine Nivi`ere, ‘Le mouvement onomatodoxe:une querelle th´eologique parmi les moines russes du Mont-Athos (1907–1914)’,Ph.D. dissertation, Paris, Sorbonne, 1987; Tom E. Dikstra, ‘Heresy on Mt. Athos:Conflict over the Name of God among Russian Monks and Hierarchs, 1912–1914’,MAthesis, St Vladimir’s Seminary, 1988; Tatiana Senina, ‘Imyaslavtsy ili imyabozhniki?Spor o prirode Imeni Bozhiya i afonskoe dvizhenie imyaslavtsev 1910–1920-khgodov’ (‘Name-Praisers’ or ‘Name-Idolisers’? Dispute about the Nature of the Nameof God and the Athonite Movement of ‘Name-Praising’ Monks in 1910s–1920s),
Religiya v Rossii
(21 and 25 Dec. 2001), http://religion.russ.ru/discussions/20011221-senina.html and http://religion.russ.ru/discussions/20011225-senina.html; BishopIlarion (Alfeev),
Svyashchennaya tajna Tserkvi. Vvedenie v istoriyu i problematiku imyaslavskikhsporov
(Sacred Mystery of the Church: Introduction to the History and Background of the Onomatidoxy Controversy), vol. 1 (St Petersburg: Aleteia, 2002), pp. 289–637;Dmitry Leskin,
Spor ob imeni Bozhiem. Filosofiya imeni v Rossii v kontekste afonskikh sobytij 1910-hgg.
(Dispute on the Name of God: Philosophy of Name in Russia in the Context of theEvents on Mt. Athos in the 1910s) (St Petersburg: Aleteia, 2004), pp. 21–137.
scottish journal of theology
the Hieroschemamonk Anthony (Bulatovich) in the 1910s, since it wasthis doctrine (as opposed to the later interpretations of Onomatodoxy bysuch thinkers as Priest Pavel Florensky, Alexey Losev, Archpriest SergeyBulgakov) that became a subject of dispute on the eve of the Revolution of 1917.The life of the Hieroschemamonk Anthony (1870–1919) as well as hisphilosophical and theological thought represent a rare phenomenon inRussian culture: a person who had no special theological education andwho led a life far removed from church activities before becoming a monk,
entered into a complex theological debate and suddenly revealed himself asa better expert in the patristic tradition than his opponents – bishops andother important church figures. Therefore, the works of Anthony deservefar more attention than they have received so far. Strangely enough, despitethe fact that the dispute about honouring the name of God has not yet beenexhausted, the views of Anthony Bulatovich have not yet become the subjectof an in-depth study.The publications of the 1910s–1920s which focused on the teachingof Anthony
reveal their polemical, non-scholarly and mostly superficialcharacter. Unfortunately, the majority of those who opposed the adherentsof Onomatodoxy at that time tried to achieve the condemnation of their
FatherAnthony(AlexanderKsaverevichBulatovich)graduatedfromtheAlexandrovskyLyceum in St Petersburg, one of the most privileged schools of his time. After hisgraduation he joined the Life Guards Hussar Regiment of the Second Cavalry Divisionand, before becoming a monk, he led, according to the witnesses, a pious but secularlife. At that time he became famous not for his theological studies, but as a braveexplorer and discoverer of unexplored lands in Ethiopia. On the life of Anthony beforemonasticism, see Isidor Katsnelson and G. Terekhova,
Po neizvedannym zemlyam Efiopii
(OnUnknown Lands of Ethiopia) (Moscow: Nauka, 1975). A summary of another bookby Katsnelson on Bulatovich, Isidor S. Katsnelson,
A. X. Bulatovich: Hussar, Explorer, Monk
,can be found at http://www.samizdat.com/kats.html.
The main materials against Onomatodoxy are collected in
Svyatoe Pravoslavie iimenobozhnicheskaya eres’
(Holy Orthodoxy and the Heresy of Name-Idolisers) (Kharkov,1916), and are partly repr. in recent books, e.g. A. M. Hitrov and O. L. Solomina(eds),
Zabytye stranitsy russkogo imjaslaviya: Sbornik dokumentov i publikatsij po afonskim sobytiyam1910–1913 gg.
(Forgotten Pages of Russian Onomatodoxy: Collection of Documentsand Publications on the Athos Events of 1910–1913) (Moscow: Palomnik, 2001);E. S. Polishchuk (ed.),
Imyaslavie: Antologiya
(Onomatodoxy: Anthology) (Moscow:Factorial Press, 2002). The main materials in favour of Onomatodoxy are repr. in K.Borshch (ed.),
Imyaslavie: Sbornik bogoslovsko-publitsisticheskikh statej, dokumentov i kommentariev
(Onomatodoxy: Collection of Theological and Journalistic Articles, Documents, andCommentaries), 3 vols (Moscow, 2003–5).
The status of divine revelation in the works of Hieromonk Anthony Bulatovich
opponents at any price, and not to uncover the truth, as researchers havealready noted.
In recent works on Onomatodoxy, the thought of Anthony was studiedeither in a fragmentary way, or too superficially and with a lack of specificdetails. Many authors focused on the history of the conflict and its furtherdevelopment, or simply set a timeline of events and published documentsrelating to the events of 1910s–1920s. Bishop Ilarion Alfeev, the author of the most significant study on Onomatodoxy to date,
not only presented ahistorical outline of events related to the dispute on honouring the name of God, but also analysed the views of the most prominent church leaders andphilosophers who wrote about Onomatodoxy. With such a broad scope, theauthor inevitably has paid too little attention to Anthony Bulatovich. In fact,he considered only his first work,
Apology of Faith in the Name of God and in the Name‘Jesus’
and in his analysis paid almost no attention to Antony’s later works.Comparing the teaching of Anthony with the teaching of the Eastern churchfathers, Bishop Ilarion Alfeev did not provide a comprehensive analysis, andas far as the theology of Anthony is concerned, the study of Alfeev can beconsidered fairly superficial. The same can be said about the book by thePriest Dmitry Leskin on the Onomatodoxy dispute.
The Onomatodoxy dispute in general and the teaching of Anthony inparticular generated even less interest in the West. Antoine Nivi`ere defendedhis doctoral thesis on the Onomatodoxy dispute
in 1987, before thediscussionoftheissuesrelatedtoOnomatodoxyresumedinRussia.However,in his work he focused more on the historical outline of events than on thetheological framework of the controversy, and came to the conclusion thatfrom a theological point of view the question of honouring the name of Godhas remained unresolved. A year later, the same author in his brief surveyarticle asserted, concerning the contents of the Onomatodoxy doctrine, that‘cette doctrine affirmait la pr´esence effective de l’ˆEtre divin dans son nom’,and that this doctrine had not ever been formulated by anyone.
Indeed, wedonotndthedoctrineoftherealpresenceofthedivine
Protoierej Georgij Florovskij,
Puti russkogo bogosloviya
(The Ways of Russian Theology)(Vilnius, 1991), p. 571, n. 2; Alfeev,
Svyashchennaya tajna Tserkvi
, 12, 545–7, 636; Leskin,
Spor ob imeni Bozhiem
, 16, 91, 99–100, 103–4, 118–23, 133–7.
Svyashchennaya tajna Tserkvi
Spor ob imeni Bozhiem
. For a survey of the main recent Russian books onOnomatodoxy, see Tatiana Senina, ‘Novye monografii po voprosam imyaslaviya’ (NewMonographs on Onomatodoxy),
Volshebnaya gora
15 (2009), pp. 150–66.
Nivi`ere, ‘Le mouvement onomatodoxe’.
Idem, ‘L’onomatodoxie: une crise religieuse `a la veille de la r´evolution’, in
Mille ans deChristianisme russe: 988–1988
(Paris, 1989), pp. 285–94, see p. 285.

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