The Dogma of Redemption
Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
Translated from the Russian
by the
Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Boston, Massachusetts
Copyright © 1979
(Second Impression 1992)
Revised, on-line edition © 2003
All rights reserved
Our monastery’s English translation of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky’s The Dogma
of Redemption was first published in 1979, with the blessing of Saint Philaret, Metropolitan of
New York, and it was printed by Monastery Press, Montreal, Canada. The same press issued a
second printing of the book in 1992. At present the book is out of print. The new Monastery
Press (established in Alberta, Canada in 1998) has exhausted its supply of copies from the two
earlier print runs, and has indicated that it does not intend to republish the book.
Realizing that it will be some time before we should have the opportunity and funds to re-
print the book ourselves, we have decided to post a revised and emended text of our translation
on-line, thus making The Dogma of Redemption readily available once more in English. This will
allow the pious reader — who until now may have read the polemics surrounding this topic,
while lacking access to the primary text — to come to a fuller appreciation of the true teachings
of Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery
Boston, Massachusetts USA
July 28/August 10, 2003
The 67
Anniversary of the Repose of
Blessed Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky

As Fr. Andrew Kencis has also explained: “…Monastery Press in Alberta, [is] linked in spirit to the origi-
nal Monastery Press, but [is] now a separate enterprise, having no financial or legal ties with Monastery Press in
Quebec Province. See: http://www.monasterypress.com/aboutus.html
Blessed art thou, O place, thou who wast accounted worthy of
The sweat of the Son which fell upon thee!
He mingled His sweat with the earth,
So as to remove Adam’s sweat wherewith he worked the earth.
Blessed is that earth which He sweetened with His sweat,
Which was sickly and was healed when His sweat fell upon it!
Who has ever seen a sick man who by another’s sweat should
be healed!
Praised be He, Who was sent to thee!
Blessed art thou, O place, for thou hast gladdened
The Garden of delight through thy prayer.
In that Garden Adam’s will was divided asunder
Against his Creator, because he wrought stealthily and ate.
But [Jesus] entered this Garden and prayed therein and made
to agree [once more]
By His prayer that will which in the Garden [of Paradise] was
cloven asunder.
Lo He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine, be done.”
Praised be He, Who was sent to thee!
St. Ephraim the Syrian
Hymns on the Crucifixion VIII, 1–2
The Dogma of Redemption
Foreword to the English translation
by Protopresbyter George Grabbe 5
Introduction by Archbishop Vitaly 9
THE DOGMA OF REDEMPTION (Chapters One to Seven)
By Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky 13
A Sermon by Metropolitan Philaret 49
A Biographical Notice of Metropolitan Anthony 53
Suggested Reading 54
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. v]
By Protopresbyter George Grabbe
(Bishop Gregory)
In 1917, about a year after I had first begun to take an interest in theological literature, I had
occasion to read in the Theological Herald — a journal published by the Theological Academy of
Moscow — an article by Metropolitan (at that time Archbishop of Kharkov) Anthony entitled
“The Dogma of Redemption.” The article made a very strong impression on me. From that pe-
riod I became accustomed to copy out in a notebook passages which especially pleased me from
books I read; selections from the “Dogma of Redemption” covered many pages of my notebook.
But the time came when the Bolsheviks approached the Northern Caucasus where our family
lived, at first in Kislovodsk, then in Essentuki. We had to prepare for evacuation. In such times a
man must face the question, which of his possessions are the most dear and are to be taken, and
which are to be abandoned, since baggage must be restricted. For a lover of books this is a very
painful decision. And so, among those few books which I could take was Metropolitan
Anthony’s article “The Dogma of Redemption,” which I tore out from that number of the Theo-
logical Herald.
Afterwards in Yugoslavia, at one of my first meetings with Metropolitan Anthony, I heard
him say that he wished to republish this article, but he was unable to locate the proper number of
the Theological Herald, which was published during the Revolution [p. vi] not long before the
printing of the journal itself ceased, and it seemed that that number never reached abroad.
Vladyka was overjoyed when he learned that I had kept this article in which he placed so much
love, trust, and faith. Naturally, I gave him the article and it was reprinted by him in 1922, appar-
ently with the aid of Patriarch Gregory of Antioch, who had great esteem for Vladyka Anthony.
I should not be mistaken if I were to say that of all his compositions Metropolitan Anthony
especially cherished the “Dogma of Redemption,” which he pondered and nurtured over a period
of many years. His Orthodox consciousness as well as the conscious understanding which
evolved in him through the influence of a deeper study of the works of the Holy Fathers and a
series of Russian theologians, could not be reconciled with the Western, juridical interpretation of
one of the fundamental dogmas of our Church. A. S. Khomiakoff initiated an impetus for our the-
ology to return from Western scholasticism to the Holy Fathers, and this became manifest in the
works of various theologians, some of whom were students of Metropolitan Anthony.

These numerals in bold face within brackets reflect the pagination of the published edition of The Dogma of
Redemption. They have been entered here as reference points to aid the reader. Obviously, within this on-line ver-
sion, any desired passage or text can be found by simply using the “Find” option of one’s computer program.
If it is so that Archimandrite Sergei (later known as Patriarch), Nesmyelov, Svetlov, and oth-
ers prepared the ground for a correct understanding of the dogma of redemption through their
criticism of the Western, juridical approach to this dogma, then to a considerable degree they will
be found to have elaborated thoughts which Saint Gregory the Theologian in his homily on Pas-
cha pointed out long ago as needing further investigation, stating:
It remains for us to examine an act and a dogma overlooked by most, but in my judg-
ment well worth enquiring into. To whom was that Blood offered that was shed for us,
and why was it shed? I mean the precious and famous Blood of our God and High-priest
and Sacrifice. We were detained in bondage by the evil one, sold under sin, and receiving
pleasure in exchange for wickedness. Now, since a ransom belongs only to him who holds
in bondage, I ask to whom this was offered, and for what cause? If to the evil one, fie
upon the outrage! if the robber receives ransom, not only from God, but a ransom which
consists of God Himself, and has such an illustrious payment for his tyranny, a payment
for whose sake it would have been right for him to have left us alone altogether. But if to
the Father, I ask first, how? For it was not by Him that we were being oppressed; and
next, on what principle did the Blood of His Only-begotten Son delight the Father, Who
would not receive even Isaac, when he was being offered up by his father, but changed the
sacrifice, putting a ram in the place of the human victim? Is it not evident that the Father
accepts the sacrifice, but neither asked for it, nor felt any need for it, but on account of
the economy, and because man must be sanctified by the humanity of God, that He might
deliver us Himself, and overcome the tyrant by violence, and draw us to Himself by the
mediation of His Son, Who also providentially effected this to the honor of the Father,
Whom it is manifest that He obeys in all things? Such are the things concerning Christ,
but as for the greater part, let it be reverenced with silence.
(Second Oration on Pascha §22)
The Saint could stop at this because in his days there was no Western, juridical theory re-
garding redemption. This theory, which in its practical application gave birth to such a monstrous
phenomenon as Roman indulgences, urgently required in our times an Orthodox rebuttal. By way
of criticism Archimandrite Sergei, Svetlov, and others provided an adequate refutation, but Met-
ropolitan Anthony unfolded a positive teaching concerning that which Saint Gregory, for consid-
erations which were at that time undoubtedly weighty, reverenced with silence. In the days,
however, of Metropolitan Anthony, the juridical error had so greatly increased, that he had to
break this silence. For this the science of theology and all we faithful are obliged to render him
eternal thanks.
Metropolitan Anthony’s thoughts received further development in complete agreement with
him in Fr. Justin Popovich’s [p. vii] Dogmatic Theology, though the latter’s custom was never to
cite modern theologians, but only to quote the words of the Holy Fathers. In the Fathers, Fr.
Justin found many thoughts akin to those of Metropolitan Anthony, but not systematized as
Vladyka Anthony had done, and Fr. Justin after him. In his presentation, grounded upon the
words of the Fathers, he supplements much of what Metropolitan Anthony said and totally
abolishes the misunderstanding which arose among hostile critics, who reproached the Metropoli-
tan for supposedly diminishing the significance of the Saviour’s sufferings on the Cross.
This criticism is based for the most part on an inattentive reading of the Metropolitan’s
words, whose starting point was from the fact that the God–Man had human flesh and a human
soul and hence suffered in both parts of His human nature. Whereas Western theology stopped at
the sufferings of His Body, Metropolitan Anthony — though in no wise disregarding these —
centered his attention more upon the sufferings of the Saviour’s soul. Therefore, it would be un-
just to say that he allegedly dismissed Golgotha and transferred the focal point of the grievous
weight of redemption from there to Gethsemane. By no means! In both events he strove to pene-
trate into the sufferings of the soul of the God–Man as a manifestation of His compassionate
love, which in a spiritual manner unites us with Him and regenerates the children of the Holy
Church. I shall cite the following words of Vladyka Anthony which have remained unnoticed by
his critics:
He was oppressed with the greatest sorrows on the night when the greatest crime in
the history of mankind was committed, when the ministers of God, with the help of
Christ’s disciple, they because of envy, he because of avarice, decided to put the Son of
God to death. And a second time [emphasis mine—Protopresbyter G. Grabbe] the same
oppressing sorrow possessed His pure soul on the Cross, when the cruel masses, far
from being moved with pity by His terrible physical sufferings, maliciously ridiculed the
Sufferer; and as to His moral suffering, they were unable even to surmise it.
[p. ix] Therefore, his words, “In this did our redemption consist,” must be referred not only
to Gethsemane, but to Golgotha also, contrary to the claims of the Metropolitan’s critics.
Developing the thoughts of Metropolitan Anthony in his Dogmatic Theology, Archimandrite
Justin sums them up, as it were, when he explains that the work of redemption cannot be reduced
to any one period of time: the sufferings of the Saviour began at His very birth into this world
and continued until His crucifixion on the Cross between two thieves. The God–Man was unable
not to suffer and endure anguish unceasingly, having at every moment before His all-seeing eyes
all the sins, all the vices and all the transgressions of His contemporaries, as well as those of all
men of all times. Fr. Justin writes the following words in complete harmony with this article of
Metropolitan Anthony, whom he so esteemed:
Even before Gethsemane, but especially in Gethsemane, the man-befriending Lord ex-
perienced all the torments of human nature which had rushed upon it as a result of sin. He
suffered all the sufferings which human nature had suffered from Adam until his last de-
scendant; He endured the pain of all human pains as though they were His own; He un-
derwent all human misfortunes as though they were His own. At that moment He had be-
fore His all-seeing eyes all the millions of human souls, which as a result of sin are tor-
mented in the embrace of death, pain, and vice… In Him, in the true God–Man, human
nature wept and lamented, beholding all which she had done by falling into sin and death
(Protosyngellus Dr. Justin Popovich. Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Church. Bel-
grade, 1935. Vol. II, p. 377).
We cannot but regret that Fr. Justin’s Dogmatic Theology was all but annihilated during the
Second World War and has become a rarity.
It was not translated into Russian, and is, for that
reason also, unavailable to the majority of our theologians. Nevertheless, without mentioning
Metropolitan Anthony’s [p. x] name, Fr. Justin gave an answer, well-grounded on the Holy Fa-
thers, to all the points raised by the Metropolitan’s opponents.
When, in my youth, I read the “Dogma of Redemption,” that which captivated me, a fifteen-
year-old youth just beginning to read theological books, was the freshness and depth of the
author’s thoughts, combined with the simplicity of his presentation. And it is with this same
sensation that I experience his thoughts while reading his works now. In general, Metropolitan
Anthony did not perceive the dogmas as abstract, dry formulas, but as revelations given us for
the direction of our life. He understood and explained that Divine truths are not revealed to us in
order to satisfy our inquisitive thirst for knowledge, but in order that we apprehend them with
our heart and soul. Metropolitan Anthony lived them and for this very reason he was able to
transmit them with such force to his flock, and to his students and admirers. Love for God and
for men was his chief characteristic. This sentiment, united with a profound Orthodox erudition,
disclosed to him all the great truths which he set forth for our education and salvation.
I think that many who are interested in Orthodox theology, but especially those who honor
Metropolitan Anthony’s memory, will be grateful to the Holy Transfiguration Monastery for
taking the effort to translate into the English language this remarkable work of our great theolo-

The full title of Fr. Justin Popovich’s work: Dogmatika Pravoslavne Crkve: Pravoslavna filosofija istine
[Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church: Orthodox Philosophy of Truth]. The first two volumes were published in
1932 and 1935 respectively. The third and last volume was not published until 1978, the first two volumes being
reprinted in 1980. See: Thomas Deretich, Orthodox Christianity, Ecumenism, and Moral Relativism, Boston 1998.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. xi] Metropolitan Anthony, the founder of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia,
for the first time in the entire history of Orthodox academic [emphasis added. Ed.] theology, set
forth the teaching of the dogma of redemption in a manner completely in agreement with the
Holy Fathers, with Holy Orthodoxy. This does not mean, however, that this teaching was un-
known to the Holy Fathers of the Church. It lived in the bosom of the Church’s grace-filled life,
and by it all the Saints, all the Doctors and Fathers of the Church lived. Nevertheless, the Ortho-
dox Church brings forth to the level of academic doctrine only that truth which is subject to at-
tack, criticism or mockery by the enemies of the Church, by heretics and atheists. She contrives
nothing, she does nothing which is artificial.
Thus the time came when the Church was constrained by necessity to set her academic the-
ology on a truly Orthodox path. Now this was necessary because the Scholastic school of theol-
ogy had placed the doctrine of redemption entirely within the confines of judicial principles, in-
terpreting it as the Saviour’s redeeming merits and the satisfaction of God’s flouted justice
through Christ’s sufferings. The entire judicial principle found in Orthodox dogmatic theology
was and is foreign to Orthodoxy (since it is foreign to the God of love), and it could not satisfy
the awakening Russian Orthodox thought which had been incessantly knocking at the door of this
mystery of dogmatic theology for a long time. In such instances the Church has need [p. xii] of a
Council, but without the consent of the civil authorities it was not possible at that time to sum-
mon a Council. Therefore the Lord singled out His servant Metropolitan Anthony, so that
through him He might reveal the hidden, mystical aspect of the entire work of redemption. The
Metropolitan’s unbounded love for Christ and his perfect devotion to His Church led him to this
sublime height of theology.
The Scholastic teaching presented the spiritual side of redemption as very impoverished, ab-
stract and even emotional. But for this very reason it concentrated nearly the entire force, sense
and meaning of redemption on the Saviour’s sufferings on the Cross, and consequently it uncon-
sciously fell prey to a kind of one-sidedness like that of the ancient Monophysites. The differ-
ence between these Neo-monophysites and those of old is only that our Neo-monophysites have
for the subject of their theological emphasis not the Saviour’s Divine nature, but His human na-
ture. Therefore, it is not surprising that certain obdurate devotees of Scholasticism, dismayed at
the sudden appearance of a teaching totally unknown to academic theology, immediately accused
Metropolitan Anthony of diminishing the soteriological significance of the Saviour’s suffering on
the Cross. Metropolitan Anthony, however, like a true Chalcedonian, simply restored the aca-
demic understanding of redemption to the theological balance of the dogmatical definition of the
Council of Chalcedon concerning the two natures in Christ. Such is the great service of Metro-
politan Anthony, who applied a healing plaster to Russian academic theology by placing this
foremost dogma concerning our redemption back into the mainstream of the great Ecumenical
Council of Chalcedon.
In church life we know how hard it is for all clergymen who rely on the Scholastic doctrine,
on this Monophysite world-view, to preach before the holy Epitaphios. One famous Russian hi-
erarch, feeling it awkward to speak on the Saviour’s sufferings upon the Cross, the wounds, the
spittings, the blows, on the entire human aspect of the sufferings of the God–Man, managed to
escape from the predicament by concluding his entire sermon with the words, “Brothers and sis-
ters, let us weep!” But the Roman Catholics, [p. xiii] having departed from the Church of Christ
and no longer being under the shelter of the Holy Spirit, have by their tenacious meditation on the
wounds of the nails reached the pathological state of the stigmata, that is to say, an extremely
serious form of the spiritual disease of delusion (prelest).
Howbeit, the crown of all of Metropolitan Anthony’s writings and of his archpastoral activi-
ties in the realm of learning was his disclosure of the moral aspect of the dogma of redemption.
As a true archpastor he looked with pain of heart upon the vacuum which was created between
academic doctrine and his Christian flock. The precious golden link between doctrine and life had
been lost over the recent centuries of Scholasticism’s predominance. But it is better if we present
here our author’s complete thought in his own words:
One must suppose that, during that night in Gethsemane, the thought and feeling of
the God–Man embraced all of fallen humanity numbering many, many millions, and He
wept with loving sorrow over each individual separately, as only the omniscient heart of
God could. In this did our redemption consist. This is why God, the God–Man, and only
He, could be our Redeemer. Not an angel, nor a man. And not at all because the satisfac-
tion of Divine wrath demanded the most costly sacrifice.
For the everyday Orthodox Christian, unskilled in theology, nurtured in Scholastic doctrine,
or simply in worldly literature, this thought will seem commonplace, arid, devoid of any special
content. But for those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,”
for those who are discerning
and reflective, this thought is a true Divine revelation, capable of spiritually enrapturing a human
soul, of moving a hardened heart to compunction and of causing a man to shed tears of repen-
tance. One can say without exaggeration that the dogma of redemption as expounded by Metro-
politan Anthony, is—even without the calling of a Council — the conciliar voice of the entire
Church of Christ. After many [p. xiv] centuries of Scholasticism’s reign, after the notorious
‘Renaissance’ and the submission before German philosophy, such a teaching should be called a
miracle of theological thought, a pinnacle of godly deliberation, equal to the very dogmatical for-
mulation of the Council of Chalcedon in its profundity. That which Chalcedon did for dogmatic
theology, the same Metropolitan Anthony has done for moral theology.
It remains for me to express the ardent desire that in a future Ecumenical Council — if it be
God’s will that one should ever again assemble, none of its members being Communists or Ecu-
menists disguised in Orthodox rassas — that the Scholastic doctrine, which has caused the
Church of Christ so much grief, be definitively and conclusively anathematized. And one further
desire: that some God-inspired ecclesiastical writer would compose a prayer in the spirit and
sense of the dogma of redemption.

The Russian word also means “truth.”
Slowly but surely, with much toil but steadily, this doctrine — so filled with love, joy and
hope — of the great teacher of both the Russian and the Universal Church, Metropolitan An-
thony, breaks its way through the barrier of thorns and thistles, that is, of slander and ignominy.
For “No man, when he hath lighted a lamp, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed,
but he setteth it on a lampstand that they which enter in may see the light” (Luke 8:16).
of Montreal and All Canada
The Dogma of Redemption
The Dogma of Redemption
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 1] For the past thirty years this fundamental dogma of our faith, that is, its formulation,
has undergone continual reformulation, or rather, attempts at such. This activity stands in grati-
fying contradistinction to every other innovation undertaken in our theological science, so barren
from the standpoint of creativity. Thus, this reformulation is not directed against Orthodoxy, nor
does it seek to deviate from her, but rather it is aimed towards true Orthodoxy with the intention
of liberating the science of theology taught in our theological academies and the courses of religion
in the schools from heterodox accumulations. Certainly, in this instance as in others, the negative
aspect of this reformulation, I mean the criticism of the interpretation of the dogma of redemp-
tion accepted in the academies, has been pursued much more exhaustively—that is, in greater de-
tail and more convincingly—than its positive aspect, that is to say, the substitution of the cor-
rupt doctrine by a correct one. No one has as yet given a direct and at least somewhat clear an-
swer to the question, why Christ’s incarnation, sufferings and resurrection are saving for us, un-
less we take into consideration the small leading article published in the Ecclesiastical Herald of
1890 and the little article in the Theological Herald of 1894 composed by the author of the pre-
sent work. But let the reader not think that we force our solution to this inquiry upon him as
something irrefutable. Supposing it were entirely incorrect, we nevertheless [p. 2] maintain that it
is still the only direct and positive answer to the above-mentioned dogmatic query yet formu-
lated. All other authors have restricted themselves either to criticism of the Scholastic teaching
(and in truth, such criticism is often quite precious from the point of view both of its profundity
of thought and of the wealth of its erudition) or to advance a general and very indefinite specula-
tion as an answer to the question, for example: Jesus Christ redeemed us not so much by His suf-
ferings, as by His very incarnation, and just that. But we will return to this consideration; for the
present we will dwell upon (though only in its general aspects) the contemporary criticism of the
teaching of this dogma as it is propounded in courses in religion and theology in our schools.
At the present time it has been sufficiently proven by our theological science that (1) this
doctrine has been borrowed in its entirety from the non-Orthodox Latin theory as formulated by

From all that Metropolitan Anthony has said in this opening paragraph, it is obvious to the unbiased reader
that when he writes: “no one has as yet given a direct and at least somewhat clear answer to the question, why
Christ’s incarnation, sufferings and resurrection are saving for us”, Metropolitan Anthony is not claiming to have
properly elucidated this dogma for the first time ever in the history of the Church — as some of his critics shrilly
assert. Rather, he is stating that, within the academic theological discussion of this dogma during the thirty years
preceding the publication of The Dogma of Redemption, his was the correct and positive resolution of the problem.
Elsewhere in this present work Metropolitan Anthony clearly states that “the reader can see for himself that we have
not called his attention to any fantasies or sophistries of our own, but to the tradition of the Church, to a church
doctrine forgotten (at least in this aspect) by our theological school…”. (Ed.)
Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas Aquinas and Peter of Lombardy; (2) that it is not to be found in
the Holy Bible, nor in the writings of the Holy Fathers,
since in neither place does one encoun-
ter the terms merit and satisfaction upon which juridical conceptions today’s academic teaching
concerning the Redeemer is wholly founded; (3) it has been demonstrated that this doctrine can-
not be made to harmonize either with the doctrine of Divine righteousness or with that of our
Redeemer’s mercy, although it claims to introduce both these Divine properties. We refer those
who are interested in the first two points to the small but very precious article of Professor
Archpriest Svetlov entitled, “An Analysis of Anselm’s Teaching Cur Deus homo [Why God be-
came man ]” and thereafter to Archbishop Sergei’s
magistral dissertation “The Orthodox Doc-
trine of Salvation,” and to the candidature dissertation of Hieromonk Tarasi entitled “The Theo-
logians of Moscow and Kiev in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries,” [p. 3] to be found in
Missionary Survey, 1902. In this last work it is shown how the writings of these latter [Kievan]
theologians, who borrowed from Roman Catholic sources, bear little resemblance to those of the
former [of Moscow] who were free of the influence of Western theology. Here by former writers
Joseph of Volokolamsk, Zinovi of Otyensk, and Maxim the Greek are meant, and by the latter
writers, the Kievans Lavrenti Zizani and Peter Moghila. We note in passing that in the above
work no mention is made of the practically independent Ukrainian theologian, Cyril Trankvillion,
who published his Mirror of Theology in 1618 at the monastery of Pochaev, but, who, alas, to-
wards the end of his life fell away completely from the Church and became a Uniate.
The comprehensive dissertation of Archpriest Svetlov entitled “The Significance of the Cross
in Christ’s Work” and his other essays are also a basic refutation of the Scholastic theory from
the various points of view mentioned above. Archimandrite Ilarion,
Professor of the Theological
Academy and now Archbishop, has been the most emphatic in declaring the moral aspect (our
third point). He, in one of his introductory lectures, exhorted his hearers to take up a crusade
against the expressions (and the very ideas) of redemptive merits and the satisfaction of God’s
justice, as being utterly alien to the Church, despite the fact that they bespeckle our textbooks.
This lecture was printed in one of the fall numbers of the Theological Herald of 1914 or 1915. I
cannot vouch for the exactitude of this date nor can I provide the lecture’s precise title because I
write these lines and pages on the island of Valaam in Lake Ladoga, having at hand only the Bible
in several languages, three volumes of my essays and my memory.
The teaching concerning our redemption taught in the courses of religious schools (I will
never call this the Church’s teaching) gives the enemies of Christianity an occasion for crude de-
rision of us, which is, moreover, difficult to refute. Thus Tolstoy says, “Your faith teaches that

See, for example, the Kontakion of St. Romanos the Melodist entitled “On the Passion of the Lord and the
Lament of the Theotokos” where our Saviour answers the Mother of God’s question, “Why willest Thou, my Son
to suffer and die in order to redeem Adam?” (Trans.) [Marjorie Carpenter, ed. and trans., The Kontakia of Romanos
(Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1970), Vol. 1, pp. 196–203. Ed.]
Stragorodsky, subsequently first Soviet Patriarch of Moscow. (Trans.)
Troitsky, the future Hieromartyr. (Trans.)
St. Isaac the Syrian boldly declares: “Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things
concerning you.… How can you call God just when you come across the Scriptural passage on the wages given to
the workers?… How can a man call God just when he comes across the passage on the prodigal son?… Where, then,
is God’s justice, for while we are sinners Christ died for us! (Ascetical Homilies: No. 51) [Ed.]
Adam committed all sin in my stead and for some reason I must make payment for him, but later
Christ fulfilled all virtue in my stead and I can but sign a receipt for one and the other.” The
Japanese pagans reply to our missionaries, “You preach the most [p. 4] senseless faith, as
though God became enraged with all men for one foolish act of Eve and afterwards executed His
Son, Who was entirely innocent, and only then would He be pacified.” I first spoke out against
the excesses of the doctrine of satisfaction in an essay (which the editors of the journal the Eccle-
siastical Herald sought from me) printed in the Holy Week issue of 1890, entitled “A Reflection
upon the Saving Power of Christ’s Sufferings.” A few days later, in the reception room of Met-
ropolitan Isidore where the corporation of the Academy had gathered to congratulate Vladyka on
the radiant feast of Pascha, the late V.V. Bolotov complimented me in his usual semi-whisper on
“new perspectives in dogmatic theology.” I remarked to him as an explanation of my boldness,
that the theory of satisfaction was not taken by the Roman Catholics from Divine revelation, but
from Roman law; to my reply he said in his semi-whisper, “True, but to be more precise, from
the feudal laws of knighthood.”
And indeed, our academic dogmatic theology maintains that God was offended by Adam and
must be satisfied by some sort of compensative suffering, by someone’s execution. This is a
principle borrowed from Roman and feudal ethics, which was, moreover, successively diffused
throughout the whole array of feudal law. The offended knight considered that he had lost his
honor until he had revenged himself in a precisely defined manner. Firstly, a knight’s revenge had
to be wrought upon a nobleman or a knight like himself, even if he were offended by the mere
servant of a neighboring lord; secondly, his revenge must be taken by the shedding of blood,
whether or not the wound should prove fatal. These senseless principles, unworthy even of that
epoch where the value of men (who were in the given instance, semi-brigands) was not measured
so much by their virtue, as by their strength and cunning in battle, these undesirous remnants of
paganism among the Roman Catholics of the Middle Ages, serve as the basis of the principles of
the duel. They have — to the shame of Europe, America and also, alas, of post-Petrine Russia —
[p. 5] so deeply penetrated into the social morals, that they retain their despotic sway over our
contemporaries, even such as hold the most contrary convictions. The duelists of Turgenyev’s
Fathers and Sons, the nihilist Bazarov and the elderly landed nobleman. Uncle Arkady, were of
this sort. Similar duels have been held between members of the Duma who were as of radically
different convictions as Turgenyev’s two heroes. The despotic power of this prepossession is so
great that even the law recently enacted (in the reign of Alexander III) insists upon its practical
obligation; further, even those types who have renounced everything else of the ‘old world’,
starting with belief in God, dare not protest against it. Yet, it is much more incomprehensible
how believers can be enslaved by this prepossession and say: “I cannot consider him an upright
gentleman who does not requite a slap with blood.” “This means,” as I once said in reply to such
a declaration, “you will deny yourself entrance into Paradise, since there you will find yourself in
‘bad company’. Look at the iconostasis in church; you will see there very few saints who were
not struck, not only on the cheek, but all over their bodies, beginning with our Saviour and His
Apostles, and none of them did what in your opinion an upright gentleman cannot refuse.” My
companion was quite at a loss what to reply, and I doubt if he will ever again suppose that duel-
ing can be combined with faith in the Christian God and the Divine Redeemer.
However, Medieval and more recent Scholastic theology regarded this in a different fashion: it
endeavored to elucidate the very redemption of the human race by Christ’s sufferings from the
point of view of the duel. The Supreme Being, God, was offended by Adam’s disobedience and
man’s disbelief in the Divine injunction regarding the tree of knowledge. This was an extreme of-
fense, and was punished by the curse not merely laid upon the transgressors, but also upon their
entire posterity. Nevertheless, Adam’s sufferings and the agonizing death which befell his de-
scendants were not sufficient to expunge that dreadful affront. The shedding of a servant’s blood
could not effect this; only the Blood of a Being equal in rank with the [p. 6] outraged Divinity,
that is, the Son of God, Who of His own good will took the penalty upon Himself in man’s
stead. By this means the Son of God obtained mankind’s forgiveness from the wrathful Creator
Who received satisfaction in the shedding of the Blood and the death of His Son. Thus, the Lord
has manifested both His mercy and His equity! With good reason do the skeptics affirm that if
such an interpretation corresponds to Revelation, the conclusion would be the contrary: the Lord
would have manifested here both mercilessness and injustice.
The Scholastic theologians nevertheless attempt to reply to this objection by reference to the
voluntary nature of Christ’s sufferings, and to persuade their readers that not only the Son of
God exhibited love in accepting crucifixion, but the Father as well, Who submitted Him to it:
“The love of the Son Who was crucified, the love of the Father Who crucifies Him.”
But this is
a most unpersuasive sophism, a mere juggling of words.
What sort of love is it that crucifies? Who needs it? We do not doubt for a moment that men
could not be saved unless the Lord suffered and arose from the dead, yet the bond between His
suffering and our salvation is quite a different one (emphasis added. Ed.). It is evident how
greatly this juridical teaching concerning our redemption differs from the Church’s understanding
from the fact that the adherents of the first are unable to find a place in the work of our salvation
for that event in our Redeemer’s life which the Orthodox liturgical consciousness considers to be
the most saving for the race of men, and esteems as the object of the feast of feasts and of spiri-
tual jubilation for every man. The more consistent devotees of the juridical theory, that is, the
Roman Catholics, embrace it not only academically, as do we, but also in their very church life,
and thus they have demoted the feast of Pascha and made it of less importance than that of the
feast of Christ’s Nativity. As regards Russian Orthodox academic theology, we find that Profes-
sor Nesmyelov was the first to demonstrate systematically how deeply the saving significance of
Christ’s resurrection is ingrained in the Church’s consciousness and in Liturgical poetry; to him
be honor and glory for these services. His was honor from the [p. 7] moment of his first lecture
on the Resurrection (around 1898), and glory, so it seems, shall be his only in some future era of
our theological science, which, for the last half century has taken a stand of astounding indiffer-
ence towards every creative thought, and has as its sole pursuit the formulation of learned trea-

From The Comprehensive Christian Catechism of the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church (1823) by
Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow.
tises (certainly, this is not devoid of profit) and the compilation of humdrum German mono-
graphs (but this is almost entirely unprofitable). Well then, let us suppose that my readers ask
me, “What right have you to maintain that the juridical theory is alien to Holy Scripture and
Holy Tradition? Is not the Lord Saviour called there a sacrifice, a purification? Is not His Blood
called redeeming and are we not said to be redeemed by His Blood, bought by His sacrifice? Do
not some of the Fathers assert that His sacrifice was offered to the Father, and others, to the
devil who held sway over us? Does not the Apostle say that our sins are nailed (and conse-
quently abolished) to the Cross of Christ, that the Heavenly Father did not spare His Only-Be-
gotten Son for the sake of our salvation, etc., etc?” Those of my readers who are better informed
about sacred revelation will say, “It is true that no such expression as ‘satisfaction of God’s jus-
tice’ or the ‘redeeming merits of the Son of God’ can be found in the Scriptures, yet did not the
Scholastics, who coined these expressions, simply sum up the notions to be found in the Bible
and the Fathers pertaining to our redemption?”
Such questions were posed to me at a gathering of the religious instructors of the city of
Kharkov, when I expounded my views on the dogma of redemption. My words were warmly
received, but because of their unexpected character, they startled several learned teachers of re-
ligion, who, being convinced of their truth exclaimed, “Well then, we must discard everything that
was stuffed into our brains during fourteen years of study in parochial school, seminary and the
academy!” However, we spoke then of merits; as regards the statements of Holy Scripture and of
the Fathers which we have just mentioned, God forbid that we should dare to lessen their signifi-
cance! [emphasis added. Ed.] On the contrary, we shall endeavor not only to conform our further
explication of the [p. 8] dogma of redemption perfectly with them, but further we shall attempt
to remove apparent contradictions (e.g., a sacrifice offered to the Father or to the devil) between
the Fathers of the Church, which contradictions are so malignantly emphasized by the Protes-
tants and their Russian admirers. This we will undertake later in our work, but now let us give a
positive explication of the dogma of redemption.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 9] A positive exposition of the dogma of redemption is a difficult task, especially as our
readers are theologians. It is difficult not because it requires extremely abstract dialectic, but be-
cause the theologically trained minds of our readers and listeners have been so nurtured with the
juridical theory that even those, as for example, Professors Svetlov and Nesmyelov, who would
wish to combat it, cannot free themselves from its grasp. We find in the latter author that al-
though the notion that God the Father received satisfaction through Christ’s sacrifice is refuted,
this same sacrifice is understood as a satisfaction of the conscience of redeemed mankind which
allegedly cannot accept the idea of reconciliation with God without a definite act of vengeance.
Professor Fr. Svetlov quite evades the question as to why Christ’s sufferings are saving for us,
and he maintains that it is Christ’s incarnation and not His sufferings which has the greatest sig-
nificance for our salvation, a significance which Saint Athanasius the Great clearly defined.
Archimandrite Ilarion also develops these same notions, without making any reply to our
question. In 1892 or 1893, while taking the role of an opponent at Fr. Svetlov’s defense of his
dissertation, I pointed out that he did not define the relation [p. 10] between Christ’s sufferings
and our salvation. Thereupon Fr. Svetlov, replied more or less in this manner, “This relation is
not subject to theological definition, but only to the heart’s perception.” Likewise, such distin-
guished professors as P. P. Ponomarev and Archpriest N. V. Petrov do not furnish us with a
definite answer to the question.
Skaballanovich, the competent and energetic professor of the theological academy of Kiev,
was so certain that the relation between Christ’s sufferings and our salvation remains impercepti-
ble by reason, that in his lectures on dogmatic theology in 1908, which I audited in my capacity
of inspector of the academy, he supported his conviction by citing the silence of the Church Fa-
thers on this point. He indicated that the Fathers did not hesitate to employ rational demonstra-
tion to elucidate the most sublime Christian dogmas, namely the dogmas respecting the Trinity,
and Christ, the God–Man, yet for some reason they did not try to explain why Christ’s suffering
is saving for us. He was quite astounded when I expressed the contrary opinion to him in the cor-
ridor after his lecture, that the contemporaries of the Fathers so clearly understood the Saviour’s
redeeming grace that it was unnecessary to elucidate upon it. In the same way, in our days there
is no need to explain to rural Christians what humility, compunction, and repentance are, yet the

Archpriest Svetlov, The Significance of the Cross in Christ’s Work. This is a very valuable book as a criti-
cism of Western erroneous teachings on this matter and of the substance of the juridical theory itself.
intellectual class is in great need of an explanation of these virtues since they have alienated them-
selves from them. Thus, educated Christians who from medieval times have been caught in the
mire of juridical religious concepts, have lost that direct consciousness or spiritual awareness of
their unity with Christ Who co-suffers with us in our struggle for salvation, a unity which the
early Christians kept so fervently in their hearts that it never occurred to the interpreters of the
sacred dogmas and the commentators on the words of the New Testament to explain what every-
one perceived so lucidly. About four years ago I became convinced in a conversation with a cer-
tain affable student of theology (theology of an Orthodox orientation, as taught in our seminar-
ies), how necessary and how [p. 11] difficult it is to do this very thing. I set forth in some detail
what the reader will find in the following pages, but I saw that my companion was still unable to
grasp my thought, even though when I had discussed this topic with the more advanced classes
of the secondary schools, I found that they were able to comprehend it easily, being less steeped
in the juridical theory.
It would be convenient if the juridical theory were at least rational in appearance, since nowa-
days it has become a commonplace to declaim its inner contradictions. A recent champion of this
theory, Levitov, (in Faith and Reason, 1916) refutes it himself under the banner of “ejecting its
excesses,” for when he finishes his elimination, nothing remains of it.
We have already stated our dissatisfaction with the view which transfers the crux of our re-
demption from Christ’s sufferings to His incarnation. It is commendable, however, that the advo-
cates of such a notion have extended the conception of the Lord’s redeeming act to include His
entire earthly life, as this is expressed in Saint Basil the Great’s prayer at the Anaphora; yet their
explanations do not arrive at the pith of their thought. The Lord accepted our nature and became
like us, but why is His holiness communicated to us? Because His incarnation affords us the pos-
sibility of imitating Him, the Perfect Man? Without a doubt this is partially true, but such a
merely Unitarian explanation does not even satisfy the aforementioned Orthodox scholars.
What aspect of Christ’s incarnation, and, we might add, His sufferings, contains the very rea-
son, the very operating force, (the causa efficiens) by which we are made better through our own
suffering? Should we consider Christ’s incarnation saving only because He thereby manifested in
man an aspect of perfection? This is saving and glorious for Him, but why for us? “Human na-
ture was sanctified in Him!” Undoubtedly, but at this stage it would seem that our nature was
sanctified only insomuch as it was manifested in His Person; why then do we derive sanctifica-
tion and improvement from this? If a compassionate king were to hide his dignity, enter a dun-
geon and live with its prisoners, enduring all their deprivations and labors, this would be his [p.
12] personal moral achievement,
but his fellow prisoners would not share in it. Certainly, he
might influence them by his example and his exhortation, but we would never consent to identify
the mystery of redemption with the Saviour’s example of a holy life and the regenerating power
of His teaching. It is said, “He received us into His nature,” but by what means? What thought or

The Russian word подвигъ is rather difficult to translate because of its many nuances. It generally means:
struggle, moral exploit, feat, endeavor. etc. (Trans.)
what action or sentiment in Christ’s life can we indicate as an answer to this query posed in the
instrumental case, the ablativus instrumenti? The authors we have mentioned provide no resolu-
tion to the question, nor (although it should be said that his theme does not provoke the ques-
tion) does even Archbishop Sergei’s superb dissertation “The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation,”
now in its fourth edition.
We mention the book of Archbishop Sergei because of the enormous influence it has indi-
rectly exercised, contributing to the formulation of a correct comprehension of the relationship
between Christ’s exploit and our salvation. The work, relying entirely upon the Fathers of the
Church (whose words the author cites continually, making a great number of quotations), has es-
tablished the simple truth, which was lost by Western Scholastic theology, that our salvation is
nothing else but our spiritual perfection, the subduing of lust, the gradual liberation from the pas-
sions and communion with the Godhead. (This simple truth has escaped the scholastic theology
of the West.) In other words, the Archbishop completely frees the concept of our salvation from
those juridical conditions so foreign to morality by which the Latins and the Protestants have,
although in different ways, deeply undermined the very goal of Christianity as it is expressed by
the Apostle when he says: “For this is the will of God, even your holiness” (I Thess. 4:3).
The following example will serve to demonstrate how deeply this departure from the lofty
principle of the Gospel — which principle we [p. 13] would call ‘moral monism’ — has become
enrooted in our academic consciousness. In a friendly tone, although somewhat heatedly, the late
professor Muryetov made the objection to Archbishop Sergei during the latter’s defense of his
dissertation, that salvation is much more complex than personal (subjective) sanctity and com-
munion with God, since salvation must be joined with justification, that is, the state in which
one is released from the curse laid upon Adam; this means that without such justification per-
sonal sanctity will not bring a man to the Kingdom of Heaven. As I recall, at this point I entered
the discussion and declared that in the New Testament, and especially in Saint Paul, the term
‘justification’ does not have such a specific meaning, it means rather righteousness, that is,
blamelessness, dispassion and virtue. This is the translation of the Greek dikaiosÊnh which has
the same meaning as ègivsÊnh, èretÆ, etc. My words were here confirmed by the talented and
enlightened professor Kliuchevsky (an historian who does not usually concern himself with
theology) who declared that he had studied many ancient Greek juridical proceedings and docu-
ments and could assure us that dikaiosÊnh has in every instance a moral, not a juridical signifi-
cation, the latter being expressed by the word d¤kh.
Our discussion over the terms ‘righteousness’ and ‘justification’, that is, over the ethical
(moral) and juridical understandings of our redemption took our opponent (I mean, M. D.
Muryetov) by surprise. Afterwards, I realized that in our defense there were arguments of in-

The Russian text reads “sanctification”. [As does the KJV. Ed] Here the translators submitted to a Protestant
tendency; the inaccuracy of the translation is apparent from the context itself: “that ye should abstain from fornica-
tion”; and also from the seventh verse of the same chapter, wherein the same Greek word ègiasmÚw has been trans-
lated as “holiness” (“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”) This same word is translated
thus in: Rom. 16:19,22; 1Thess. 4:4; 1Tim. 2:15; Heb. 12:14.
comparably greater weight than our simple interpretation of the texts within the sphere of our
discussion. In fact, even the Russian translation of the Bible, which bears the traces of Protestant
influence (these can be seen in almost all the words set in italics throughout the New Testament,
that is, the translators’ suppositions, and in the preference shown to the [later] Hebrew text of
the Old Testament over the Greek), the word ‘justification’ is placed only seven times in Saint
Paul’s mouth whereas ‘righteousness’ is employed sixty-one times. Further, among the seven [p.
14] occurrences of the word ‘justification’ (оправданiе) three of them have been inserted mistak-
enly for ‘righteousness’
as both Greek and Slavonic have it. Not once do we find оправданiе
(“justification”) in the Slavonic text as a translation of dikaiosÊnh, instead we always find the
word правда (праведность — righteousness). The translators of the Slavonic Gospel used
оправданiе (“justification”) only for the Greek words diaka¤vma, and diaka¤vsiw, terms whose
meaning is opposed to condemnation and imputation, employed by the Apostle in precisely this
sense (that is to say, they stand in contradistinction to condemnation and imputation), as for ex-
ample in Romans 4:25; 5:16,18, and 8:4. Moreover, the Slavonic incorrectly translates
diaka¤vma and diaka¤vsiw by ‘justification’ where these terms have the sense of ‘law’, ‘rule’
(e.g., Rom. 1:32; 2:26; Heb. 9:1, 10; also Luke 1:6; Rev. 15:4). It is thus quite evident that Saint
Paul’s term dikaiosÊnh received the juridical character which it now enjoys among our academic
theologians not from Holy Scripture, but from Lutheran theology. This theology has for the en-
tire four hundred years of its existence directed all its energies to enervate Christianity’s moral
spirit, its spirit of exploit for virtue, and replace this with a doctrine of carefree tranquility, as-
surance in the Redeemer, and the total superfluousness of moral exploit and in general of conflict
with evil on the battlefield of a man’s soul and his life.
We have dwelt on the ideas expressed in the above-mentioned discussion in order to facili-
tate our further explication of the dogma of redemption, for from this discussion we can make
the following deduction: To give an answer to the question as to why Christ’s incarnation, suf-
ferings, and resurrection save us, we must bring out the relation which these sacred events have
to our longing for perfection and the struggle between good and evil within us; we [p. 15] must
explain how Christ’s Passion helps us in this and why we are unable to attain to holiness and
communion with God without it, since such communion (as is well known) is gained in propor-
tion to a man’s dispassion and holiness.
As these subjects have been adequately treated in the works of Archpriest Svetlov, Arch-
bishop Sergei and other authors, we are freed from the obligation of proving (1) that the juridical
theory of redemption came to us from the Latins and not from the Holy Fathers and (2) that re-

I.e., instead of правда or праведность as in the Slavonic text, corresponding to the Greek dikaiosÊnh in
these passages (Rom. 3:24, II Cor. 3:9, Gal. 2:21). As is the case with the other passages in St. Paul (where even
the Russian text has правда), the context also demands that this word be understood morally, not juridically.
demption is nothing else than the gift of grace which enables us to work out our salvation, and
that salvation is spiritual perfection by means of moral conflict and communion with God.
We will speak later of the other expressions and passages in Sacred Scripture which seem to
give a basis for the juridical theory, but now it is time to come to the main thesis of our work.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 16] The thoughts and explanations to follow were briefly stated (as we have said) in the
article which we published in the Ecclesiastical Herald and afterwards in both editions (1900,
1911) of our Complete Works. Having re-read this article, we see that, like the majority of techni-
cal compositions by young authors, it is gauged to readers who share the same level of enlighten-
ment as its author, and consequently it is not simple enough for the general public. We expressed
the same ideas more completely and comprehensively in our article in the Theological Herald
(1894) entitled “The Moral Rudiments of a Most Important Dogma,” but this was written as a
refutation of Kant, who found moral heteronomism in the dogma of redemption (in his Protestant
interpretation of it, of course); thus it too will not be interesting for all Russian readers. Their at-
tention might be more attracted by our third article, “What Significance Does Faith in Jesus
Christ as God Have for our Moral Life?” (Orthodox Companion, 1896), but although it contains
many ideas concerning redemption, it is preeminently directed against Tolstoy who denied the
divinity of Jesus Christ. As its title indicates, this last article explains the true understanding of
redemption only in passing and not as its principle thought.
Two of these articles have been translated into German, French, and (so it seems) English (in
America); however, a special work having the explanation of the dogma of redemption as its [p.
17] central thesis must be written if we are to furnish men who take an interest in theological
questions with a perfectly Orthodox understanding of this dogma. We shall therefore present our
treatise in the order which we have often used in public lectures and classroom discussions (that
is, with seminarians and secondary school students). In other words we shall pay special atten-
tion to what in life continually occurs before our eyes.
Regeneration is the assimilation of redemption through faith, contrary to the notions of
Scholastic theology which divorce one from the other. Every attentive observer of life will have
found cases of spiritual regeneration, perhaps many of them, or may even have consciously expe-
rienced such spiritual regeneration himself, if his piety was not innate, but acquired after tempo-
rary denial of God and His commandments. Both Lutheran and Russian theologians like to de-
scribe regeneration by means of the parable of the prodigal son; yet this depicts the first stage
only, that of repentance, and the Lutheran theologians go no further than this. The Apostles saw
it more completely in the conversion of Zacchaeus, who not only repented, but undertook the
moral exploit of a decisive change of life, so that our Lord said: “Today is salvation come to this
house.” Moreover, this example is of special value since the regeneration of Zacchaeus took place
under the direct influence of our Redeemer.
Our readers, especially if they be priests, will certainly have witnessed similar actions of
grace in the lives of people, but very probably these events did not occur so suddenly, but rather
followed prolonged struggles and repeated falls. What then are the conscious agents by means of
which this work is achieved? (By “conscious” I mean someone’s intentional desire and effort to
bring one who has fallen, or who is an apostate, to his senses and to put him on the path of right-
eousness.) They are threefold: admonition, example, and something yet greater, of which we shall
speak later.
A man who is not thoroughly degraded, who can still believe and pray, but who has lost his
way, is sometimes brought to his senses simply by admonition or good example. But either of
these means can only help such a sinner as has not lost the grace of God, and who can still hold
his ground. However, where the action of these two means indicated above have caused a decisive
moral upheaval (as in the case of the wayfarer’s prayer which Evdokia the [p. 18] harlot heard
through a wall, and because of which she later became a righteous-martyr),
this has happened
not through their [i.e., the means’] own power, but because of a force which has been laid up
within them. This is regenerating force, and by this power Christ redeemed us.
“What!” the reader will exclaim, “do you, then, ascribe the power to redeem to mere mortals
also? Is there not only one Redeemer?” Indeed, there is only one, but He bestows a certain por-
tion of His power to His servants, and especially to the priests. Do not dare to reproach Paul
when he says, “For we are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s
building,” (I Cor. 3:9). And who does not remember his words, “Though ye have ten thousand
instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you
through the Gospel” (4:15). So the Apostle says he is a worker of, or more exactly, a partaker in
the regeneration of the faithful, and not only in their regeneration, but also in their salvation: “I
am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some “(9:22).
The chief question to which we seek an answer is: By what means does our Lord redeem and
regenerate us? But first in order to answer this question we must state what is the inner power of
the spiritual shepherd by the action of which he works the regeneration of the faithful, or rather,
mediates, since it is wrought by Christ and the Holy Spirit. Let us turn again to the life before us,
for it is less difficult to find among men like ourselves similarity to the Apostle than similarity to
Christ. Saint Paul’s words, “I implore you, be ye like unto me, as I am like unto Christ” (I Cor.
11:1), apply also to the servants of God today; zealots for piety have not become extinct and
there are still men whose actions are in harmony with the Apostle’s words which have special
reference to the moral influence that godly men exert (cf. I Cor. 10:33).
A word of instruction is good, still better is an edifying example, but what shall we call that
power which is incomparably superior to either of these? What shall we call that third force,
which we have delayed to define for a time? [p. 19] We reply: this force is compassionate love.

Celebrated by the Church on March l. (Trans.)
The reader should have in mind the basic meaning of ‘compassion’ as ‘co-suffering’. (Trans.)
This power is suffering for another’s sake which sets a beginning to his regeneration.
It is a
mystery, yet not so far removed from us; we can see it working before our very eyes, sometimes
even through us, though we do not always understand it. As a power of regeneration we find it
constantly mentioned not only in stories of the lives of the Saints and the vitae of righteous
shepherds of the Church, but also in the tales of secular literature which are at times wonderfully
profound and accurate. Both recognize in compassionate love an active, overwhelming, and some-
times almost irresistible power; yet the former do not explain wherein lies its connection with
Christ as our Redeemer, and the latter do not even understand it. As a Latin proverb says,
“words teach; example persuades,” but compassionate love pours into the heart of a sinner new
vital power. And if he does not consciously repel it, but is willing to subject his will to the com-
passionate love of his mother (like Bl. Augustine), or friend, or virtuous wife, or spiritual shep-
herd, or of the Chief Shepherd Himself (I Peter 5:4, and like Zacchaeus), the sinner suddenly re-
alizes in his soul, not hopeless impotence, and the indestructibility of the deeply-rooted vices
against which he has fought so often and so vainly, but an influx of new power, a new, vehement
inspiration, or a holy indignation. That which had such attraction for him becomes loathsome;
that which seemed dull and irksome appears beautiful and delightful; and the former lickpenny
and robber exclaims: “Behold Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor, and if I have taken
anything from any man by false accusation, I will restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:9).
[p. 20] We are pointing out a fact the explanation of which we shall offer later. But the fact,
or more exactly the law of psychologic interaction, stares us in the face. Without a doubt, the
compassionate love of one who feels the fall of the loved one with as much pain as if he himself
were the sinner becomes a mighty power of regeneration. Sometimes it takes the form of exhorta-
tion, sometimes of tears (especially in the case of women), or ardent prayer, or entreaties to one
who has fallen. But in all its forms, the causa efficiens is to be measured by the power of com-
passionate love. Experience always verifies this. When you try to reprimand a wanton youth,
your son, or your pupil, he stands there dumbly blinking, his only thought being: “I wish it were
all over!” You threaten him, but he either disregards your threats or grows angry. You see how
useless is your well-reasoned argument, how little your threats affect the unstable will, and either
you in your turn become angry (and then your efforts are all in vain), or else your sorrow for the
youth who is treading the path of immorality increases, you imagine yourself in his place and are
horrified at the things in store for him: expulsion from school, venereal disease, the contempt of
society, perhaps imprisonment and suicide. Your heart fills with compassion and sorrow. Having
paused for a moment, you begin to speak in a different tone, you tell him of your own hesitations
in past days, of the heavy price of internal struggle you had to pay for your own mistakes, how
you now blush, recalling the unkind words spoken to your parents in similar circumstances. And,
behold, the face of your hearer changes, he is shaken in his obduracy, he is ashamed and moved to
tears, makes promises of self-correction, and in the end you reap the reward of your benevolent

If the Apostle Paul undertakes to save men, how foolish is the indignation of the Protestants (and our relig-
ious writer, Neplyuev) at the exclamation ‘Most Holy Mother of God, save us.’ How foolishly they prohibit spiri-
tual shepherds to be called ‘fathers’, as though in obedience to Christ’s words, “and call no man your father upon
earth” (Matt. 23:9) (this was said exclusively to the Twelve, cf. 23:1); in such a case Paul would prove to be an
often transgressor of the Lord’s commands, and John more so, and likewise Stephen who even called the Jewish
priests ‘fathers’ (Acts 7:2) not to mention the fathers of old (cf. 2–15, etc., Rom. 4:16).
impulse. If you are always able to treat the youth with the same angerless, compassionate love,
banishing all trace of vanity from your heart, the Lord will say to you, “Thou hast gained thy
brother” (Matt. 18:15). He will be gradually regenerated, and his acquaintances will marvel and
say that he is another person and is no longer the unruly, sluggardly, dishonest carouser whom
they knew.
But our readers will reply to us, “Excuse us, but what has [p. 21] all this to do with grace, re-
generation and redemption? You speak to us of what takes place even in worldly life.” We reply
that truly this may occasionally take place in the lives of worldly persons (i.e., laymen), but in
worldly life we encounter only the initial glimmers of the manifestation of God’s regenerative
grace. Yet, the more or less lasting and profound effects of such grace are brought to pass only by
men (though indeed they are sometimes laymen) who constantly pray to God and call upon His
all-powerful grace in all their dealings with their children, their students or with others, all the
while humbling themselves before Him, and banishing from their hearts all self-praise and all
earthly objects and aims.
It is very hard to make all this compatible with the usual conditions of life in the world.
Feodor Dostoyevsky, Russia’s great writer, the subject of whose novels is always the spiritual
regeneration of sinners, introduced us to characters, loving and compassionate towards all men,
but hardly ever of the world, though some, like Prince Mishkin, and the father of the “Adoles-
cent,” were in the world. As a character endowed with the plentitude of grace’s qualities,
Dostoyevsky presented us with the Schema-monk elder, and the self-sacrificing young novice as
one harboring the potential for such. It took him a long time to prepare his readers and free them
from their prejudiced attitude towards the inhabitants of the monasteries. In his earlier novels,
Dostoyevsky drew attention not to the instruments of the mystery of regeneration but to the
people who had gone through the experience themselves, mostly under the direct influence of
Providence, that is, by means of disappointments, suffering, sickness, approaching death and the
In his last novel, The Brothers Karamazov, however, he drew the characters of a youth and
an old man who loved their fellowmen so much, that contact with them was always accompanied
by great upheavals of soul, or at least by great moral perturbance, and this was for no other rea-
son but that each man felt he was dear to the Elder Zosima, that the latter, so to speak, entered
into his soul and endeavored to expel from it all evil and call every good thing to life. We find
written in the [p. 22] Prologue
for May 29:
The Elders have said that every man must do for his neighbor whatever he can. He
must, as it were, put on his neighbor’s flesh and carry his entire weight; he must suffer
and rejoice and weep with him in every circumstance, or, in a word, he must be with him
as though he shared the same body and soul. If some affliction befall his neighbor, he must

The Prologue is a Slavonic collection of patristic sayings and stories. It provides selections to be read each
day of the year in accord with the ecclesiastical calendar. (Trans.) (Not to be confused with the modern Prologue
from Ochrid, by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich, which has recently appeared in English. Ed.)
grieve for him as for himself. For, it is written, “We are one body in Christ”, and again,
“one was the heart and soul of the multitude of them that believed.”
“If it is so,” asks the reader, “where, then, is the free will of human beings?” Alas, it is pre-
sent in all its potency. The inward perturbance just awakened has power only to give the soul an
impulse towards a better life, imparting to it hope of possible regeneration. It is the liberty of
free will to accept the call or angrily to reject it.
The inevitable and inescapable action of compassionate, grace-filled love consists only in
leading the soul out of its state of moral indifference, distraction and incomprehension to a defi-
nite decision, to be with God or against Him. Thus Symeon speaking of the Redeemer on the for-
tieth day of His life said, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising up of many in Israel,
…that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34–35). We find the same thought
in the words of Christ to Nicodemus: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the
world and men loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19). The following words are specially
significant: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have
no cloak for their sin; …now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father” (John
15:22, 24).
It follows then that a touch of regenerating grace does not destroy human freedom but draws
men to make a decisive choice between good and evil, and it follows, between self-justification
and self-condemnation (see I Peter 2:7–8 and II Cor. 2:15). John the Baptist, burning [p. 23] with
zeal for the salvation of mankind, called forth in many a sudden decision to change their lives and
they asked, “What shall we do to be saved?” (Luke 3:12). The same was the result of Peter’s
preaching on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:37). On the other hand, there were some who, hearing
John the Baptist preach, were filled with hatred, and, having incited Herodias against him —
though he was guiltless — brought about his execution, to which our Saviour Himself bore wit-
ness (Matt. 17:12–13).
Some thirty years ago there lived on Mount Athos an Elder of great spiritual excellence named
Ieronym, who drew to the formerly sparsely populated monastery of Saint Panteleimon nearly
two thousand other monks. His meekness and charitable attitude towards human frailty were un-
limited, so that very many who had sinned or were about to sin felt the spirit of Ieronym barring
their way, and bringing him to mind they repented and confessed to him. But it was not always
thus. Once it happened that while the Elder sat peacefully at the monastery’s gates, an infuriated
monk ran up to him and set to striking him and tearing his beard. “What’s bothering you?” said
the Elder calmly. “You don’t allow me to live,” cried the unfortunate monk, tormented by inner
temptations. “But, I don’t even remember your face!” replied the blessed man, but the monk lay
already at his feet in tears of repentance.
The great writer Dostoyevsky masterfully described similar effects of compassionate love,
which divides people into the regenerated and the condemned, in his depiction of the unbelieving
visitors of the Elder Zosima, who were so moved by his appearance and his meek words, that
some were filled with repentance, while others were filled with such rage, that, for no apparent
reason, they would break all rules of propriety.
Let none of our readers be offended at our use of Scriptural quotations side by side with pas-
sages from secular writings to explain the holy dogma of redemption. What should we do? For,
although many religious men are put off by the mere mention of secular writings, there are others
who only under great constraint will read and listen to quotations from the sacred Scriptures. [p.
24] And did not our Lord Himself set us an example, in explaining His teaching by parables bor-
rowed from the life of the everyday world? Moreover, we can point to the example of the great
hierarch, Tikhon of Zadonsk, for our justification, since he compiled a whole book under the sig-
nificant title of Spiritual Treasure Gathered From the Secular World.
So we establish the axiom disclosed to us by Divine revelation and confirmed by the experi-
ence of life, that the regenerating principle or force consists of the power of compassionate love.
To some extent it is allowed to exist even in unregenerate humanity. For instance, its activity can
be observed in a mother’s devotion, but only those who live in Christ and depend on His power
for the regeneration of their beloved ones can produce decisive and lasting changes, as in the case
of the mother of Blessed Augustine, whose conversion was so long delayed.
Such strength of compassionate love is the grace-filled fruit of a godly life and of nature (e.g.,
the love of a Christian mother). This is within the reach of the laity who live in God, but usually
their sphere of action is limited to near relatives, or to students (of a pious teacher), or to com-
panions in work or companions by circumstance (Nekrasov takes an example from penal servi-
tude). However, when all men are in question, the earnest of this gift is imparted by the mystery
of Holy Orders. Our Scholastic theology has overlooked this fact, which is very clearly expressed
by Saint John Chrysostom, whose precious words have conclusively convinced me that the “in-
novations” that I made in my capacity as professor of pastoral theology (1893–1900) coincide
with the teaching of the Church, and that, within my own field of study, I do not altogether fight
“as one that beateth the air” (I Cor. 9:26). He says, “Spiritual love is not born of anything
earthly; it comes from above, from Heaven, and is imparted in the mystery of Holy Orders; but
the assimilation and retention of the gift depends on the aspirations of the spirit of man.” (On
In agreement with Chrysostom, Saint Symeon the New Theologian, a later Father of the
Church, considers that he is worthy of the priesthood “who so loves God, that on hearing the
name of Christ alone, [p. 25] he is consumed with love and sheds tears, and who, moreover,
weeps over his neighbor, reckoning as his own the sins of others, sincerely regarding himself as
the chief of sinners, and who, knowing the frailty of human nature, puts his trust in the grace of
God and the fortitude which comes from it, and who, inspired by its fervor, undertakes this task
(the work of priesthood) because of his zeal, disregarding human considerations, and is ready to
lay down his very soul for the commandment of God and love of his neighbor”
(Twelfth Homily, ed. 1869).
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 26] So far we have spoken of the action of compassionate love. And now let us direct our
attention to its vehicles: in what feeling, in what experience it is expressed. Clearly it is found in
inner suffering for others, in compassion. And this brings us to the idea of redeeming suffering.
Now the door is open, and as far as in us lies, we can enter into the meaning of the redeeming
power of Christ’s sufferings.
In the following prayer of Saint Symeon the New Theologian, read before Communion, the
Church clearly teaches the partakers of Christ’s mysteries that the grace of regeneration is
granted to us all in the compassionate love of Christ the Saviour:
Neither greatness of transgressions,
Nor enormity in sinning,
Can surpass my God and Saviour’s
Great long-suffering and mercy
And exceeding love for mankind.
For with the oil of compassion
Thou dost cleanse and render shining
All those who repent with fervour;
And Thou makest them partakers
Of Thy light in all abundance,
And true sharers of Thy Godhood.
These are precious words explaining the mystery of redemption and giving a fuller signifi-
cance to Saint Paul’s words, “For we have not an high priest which cannot have compassion with
our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15). By the words, “O Thou Who dost suffer for and with men, glory be
to Thee,” the fourth antiphonic ode chanted in the Matins of Great Friday says explicitly that
Christ’s suffering was His compassion with mankind.
[p. 27] Speaking of himself as the servant of regeneration, Saint Paul quite clearly expresses
the truth that compassion, full of love and zeal for the flock, is a regenerating power, which
gradually instills spiritual life into those hearts where it had not existed before, just as physical
life is instilled into the child by the birth pangs of its mother, “My little children, of whom I tra-
vail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal, 4:19; cf. John 16:21–22). In another pas-
sage the Apostle writes that the spiritual life of the flock increases in proportion as the teacher
dies bodily through his pastoral pains, “So then death worketh in us, but life in you” (II Cor.
4:12; cf. I Cor. 4:10–16).
In the sacramental prayer of consecration for the successors to the Apostles’ office of serv-
ice, the bishops, the regenerating power of their service is also described as suffering (i.e., com-
passion with the sinful flock); moreover, in the eyes of the people, the bishop takes the place of
Christ, the true Teacher and Redeemer.
As it is not possible for the human nature to bear the Divine essence, by Thy dis-
pensation Thou hast appointed teachers for us having a nature like our own subject to
the passions, who stand before Thy throne …make this appointed steward of the
episcopal grace an imitator of Thee, the true Shepherd, Who hast laid down Thy life
for Thy flock… May he stand unashamed before Thy throne and receive the great
reward which Thou hast prepared for those who have suffered
for the preaching of
Thy Gospel.
The compassionate love of a mother, a friend, a spiritual shepherd, or an apostle is operative
only if it attracts Christ, the true Shepherd. But when it acts within the limits of mere human re-
lations, it can, it is true, call forth a kindly attitude and repentive sentiments, but it cannot work
the radical regeneration of a man. The latter is so hard for our corrupt nature that not unjustly did
Nicodemus, talking [p. 28] with Christ, compare it to an adult person entering again into his
mother’s womb and being born for a second time. To this our Lord replied that what is impossi-
ble in the life of the flesh is possible in the life of grace, where the Holy Spirit, Who descends
from Heaven, operates. In order to grant us this life, Christ had to be crucified [emphasis added.
Ed.] and raised, as the serpent was raised by Moses in the wilderness, that all who believe in Him
should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:13–15). So what those who possess grace can do
to some extent only and for some people only, our Heavenly Redeemer can do, and does do, fully
and for all. Throughout the course of His earthly life, filled with the most profound compassion
for sinful humanity, He often exclaimed, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be
with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17).
He was oppressed with the greatest
sorrows on the night when the greatest crime in the history of mankind was committed, when the
ministers of God, with the help of Christ’s disciple — they because of envy, he because of ava-
rice — decided to put the Son of God to death.
And a second time [emphasis added. Ed.] the same oppressing sorrow possessed His most
pure soul on the Cross, when the cruel masses, far from being moved to pity by His terrible
physical sufferings, maliciously ridiculed the Sufferer; and as to His moral suffering, they were
unable even to surmise it. One must suppose that during that night in Gethsemane, the thought
and feeling of the God–Man embraced all of fallen humanity numbering many, many millions, and
He wept with loving sorrow over each individual separately, as only the omniscient heart of God
could. In this did our redemption consist. This is why God, the God–Man, and only He, could be

The Slavonic text reads пострадавшимъ — ‘those who suffered’ in the sense that a martyr ‘suffers’ for
Christ’s sake, whereas the Greek reads éylÆsasin — ‘those who contended’ in the sense that the martyrs ‘contend’
or struggle in the contest of martyrdom to obtain the prize of eternal blessedness. It would seem that Metropolitan
Anthony has in mind the Slavonic text here. (Trans.)
Commenting further on this passage, St. John Chrysostom declares: “But when He said, ‘How long shall I
be with you,’ He indicates again death to be welcome to Him, and the thing an object of desire, and His departure
longed for, and that not crucifixion, but being with them, is grevious.” (On Matthew: Homily 57) [Ed.]
our Redeemer. Not an angel, nor a man. And not at all because the satisfaction of Divine wrath
demanded the most costly sacrifice. Ever since the night in Gethsemane and that day on Gol-
gotha, [emphasis added. Ed.] every believer, even he who is just beginning to believe, recognizes
his inner bond with Christ and turns to Him in his prayers as to the inexhaustible source of moral
regenerating force. Very few are able to explain why they so simply acquired faith in the possi-
bility of deriving new moral energy and [p. 29] sanctification from calling on Christ, but no be-
liever doubts it, nor even do heretics.
Having mourned with His loving soul over our imperfection and our corrupt wills, the Lord
has poured in to our nature the well-spring of new vital power, accessible to all who have wished
or ever shall wish for it, beginning with the wise thief.
But my readers may ask, “How does this happen? What conditions the causal bond between
suffering and regeneration, if the latter is not an external gift of God to certain men as a reward for
the merit of the One? How are we to explain such a transmission of moral energy from a loving
heart to the hearts of the beloved, from the Sufferer to those for whom He suffered? You have
presented us actual proofs that this is how it happens; you have confirmed it, quoting prayers of
the Church and the sayings of the Fathers and the Bible; finally you wish to explain from this
point of view the death pangs of the Saviour, evidently ascribing to His physical suffering, as
well as to the shedding of His Blood and His death, a secondary importance only; yet we would
wish to know what law governs the communion of the Redeemer with the redeemed, and the in-
fluence of the compassionate will of one man on others, which we have observed ourselves; is
this merely the result of the conscious submission of the will of the beloved to the will of the
loving? Or are we to perceive in such phenomena something more profound, something objective,
something that takes place in the very nature of our souls?”
Certainly, I would say the latter. I have always been very dissatisfied when someone to
whom I have explained redeeming grace retorts from a Scholastic, theological viewpoint in this
manner, “You have only spoken of the subjective, the moral aspect of the dogma, leaving out the
objective and metaphysical (that is to say, the juridical).” To all this I answer, “No, a purely ob-
jective law of our spiritual nature is revealed in the transmission of the compassionate, supremely
loving energy of the Redeemer to the spiritual nature of the man who believes and calls for this
help, a law which is revealed in our dogmas, but of which our dogmatic science has taken no no-
[p. 30] But before I try to elucidate this law, I must refute the current understanding that our
Lord’s prayer in Gethsemane was inspired by fear of the approaching physical suffering and
death. This would be entirely unworthy of our Lord, whose servants in later days (as well as in
earlier times, as for instance, the Maccabees) gladly met torture and rejoiced when their flesh was
torn and longed to die for Christ as if it were the greatest felicity. Moreover, the Saviour knew
well that His spirit was to leave His body for less than two days, and for this reason alone the
death of the body could not hold any terror for Him.
I am perfectly convinced that the bitter sufferings of Christ in Gethsemane came from con-
templation of the sinful life and the wicked inclinations of all the generations of men, beginning
with His enemies and betrayers of that time,
and that our Lord’s words — “Father, if Thou be
willing, remove this cup from Me” — refer not to the approaching crucifixion and death but to
the overwhelming state of profound sorrow which He felt for the human race He loved so dearly.
The correctness of such an interpretation is corroborated by Saint Paul when he speaks of the
prayer in the garden of Gethsemane particularly in connection with the redeeming moral influence
of Christ as the common High Priest of men: “Also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high
priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son… Who in the days of His flesh, when He
had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to
save Him from death, and was heard because of His [p. 31] reverence” (Heb. 5: 5–7).
So you
see that our Lord did not pray that He might be spared death on the Cross; because if He did, it
could not be said that He was heard, as He nevertheless underwent crucifixion and death on the
Cross. He prayed that His overwhelming sorrow for sinful mankind might be relieved; this sor-
row was a “cup”, and He besought the Heavenly Father to take it from Him. “He prayed saying,
O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Mark 14:37; cf. Matt. 26:39; Luke
22:42).It is evident from these testimonies that the Lord did not pray concerning the sufferings
which lay before Him, but concerning that which He underwent “at that hour”, the very hour of
His prayer. If we consider the matter in the light of our own interpretation, what was the manner
in which He was heard? An angel appeared to Him and supported Him. The Heavenly Father
heard His sorrowing Son, crushed by the sight of the world of sinful men, and sent to Him the
witness of a different world, the world of holy angels, who never disobeyed His will and never
rejected His love. The apparition of the angel reassured Jesus, and He courageously went forth to
confront His enemies and His betrayer. This is the sense in which He was heard, and the words
of Saint Paul following those quoted above further confirm our acceptance of the prayer in the
garden of Gethsemane as the prayer of a High Priest. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He
obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of
eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called by God a high priest after the order of
Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:5–10). These words literally confirm what I maintained above, that the

It should be noted that St. John Chrysostom (“Against the Marcionists and Manichaeans”), St. Cyril of Al-
exandria (On Luke. Sermons 146, 147), St. Ambrose of Milan (On Luke. Bk. 10, §56–62), and others demonstrate
that it was not from fear that the Lord prayed “Remove this cup from me.” (Trans.)
St. Cyril of Alexandria and St. Ambrose of Milan say (see references in the previous footnote) that the
Lord’s sorrow in Gethsemane was for Israel which would slay Him and for those who would perish and for the dis-
ciples who should be scattered. St. Ambrose also writes, “Here a deep love works upon His soul, for since He was
doing away with our sins whilst in His flesh, He should also abolish the grief of our souls by the grief of His
soul”(§58). (Trans.)
The King James Version reads here, “in that He feared”; this is a very misleading translation of the Greek
épÚ t∞w eÈlabe¤aw; ‘in consequence of (His) reverence (or piety, godfearingness)’. It is worthy of note that the
Wiclif Version of 1380 reads “for his reuerence,” the Cranmer Version (1539) reads “because of hys reuerence,” and
the Tyndale Version (1534) reads, “because of his godliness.” (Trans.)
compassionate love of Christ is manifest in our hearts as a consecrating power, and in this sense
He is our High Priest.
Now we can return to the question: What is the law of being which makes the above possi-
ble? We have seen that it is actual; [p. 32] therefore, it is logically possible. But in what way?
Here we see the value of the doctrine of Christ’s incarnation. It was made clear that only God,
the omniscient and all-containing, could love every individual man and sorrow over him. Now we
shall see that only a man could transmit his own holiness to the hearts of other men. Briefly, our
Redeemer can be only the God–Man which He actually is.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 33] “The Son of God took up our nature,” said the Apostles and the Fathers of the
Church, and the modern theologians say the same, protesting against the juridical theory of re-
demption (indeed, they wish to say something more profound by these words, but if they actu-
ally have some thought, they have not yet succeeded in expressing it). But before the profound
idea underlying this assertion can be expressed, we must make clear what nature is.
In dogmatic courses students find the perfectly correct explanation of the dogma of the Trin-
ity and of the Godhood and Manhood of Christ in the following: the person or hypostasis is an
individual principle, of which there are three in the Holy Trinity, but one in the God–Man; and
the nature or fÊsiw is the sum total of the properties of this or that nature, be it the nature of
God, or of angels, or of man. There is one such nature in the Trinity, but in the God–Man there
are two. By nature, especially the human nature, we are accustomed to mean only the [p. 34] ab-
straction and the summing up of properties present in every man separately and therefore com-
posing one general abstract idea, and nothing else. But Divine revelation and the dogmas of our
Church teach differently concerning the nature. The nature of the Three Persons of the Holy
Trinity is one, and we do not say that we have three gods, but one God; He has one will, one
thought, one blessedness. Hence we see that the nature is not an abstraction of the common at-
tributes of different objects or persons made by our minds, but a certain real essence, real will and
operation, acting in separate persons.
An objector will reply: “Granted, but all this is so only in the most sublime Divine nature;
only in Him do we know of triunity; and as to the finite beings, men, animals, plants and miner-
als, would it not be correct to accept the current view of the nature, as an abstract concept which
contains the general properties characteristic to the life of each individual? Would you venture to
maintain that all human beings have one will in common, that John, Peter and Paul, in spite of
being three distinct persons, are only one man?”
“Let it be known to you,” I answer, “that Saint Gregory of Nyssa answers this question in
the affirmative.” More than once I have quoted in print his epistle to Ablabius, entitled “That
there are not three Gods.” In this epistle Saint Gregory replies to Ablabius that such an expres-
sion as ‘three men’ is incorrect, because man is one, though there exist separate human persons.
But, we may be asked, what is there in common between them if they hate each other?
The answer to this is contained in the question. God did not create us for hatred and self-love,
and the consciousness of our acute separateness from each other, which each of us has, is an
abnormal consciousness, born of sin. Human beings become free from it gradually as they free
themselves from self-love, and then the self-loving, self-asserting I grows faint in their conscious-
ness, and we replaces it—a new being permeated by love and compassion. This is manifest in a
mother’s relation to her children, in the union of man and wife whose minds and hearts are one, in
Saint Paul suffering the pains of spiritual travail; and it is always manifest in the heart of Christ
the Saviour, wherein lies the power of His compassionate experience of our infirmities, of which
Saint Paul wrote to the Hebrews (4:15).
In spite of all our human separateness, however, we cannot fail to notice within ourselves the
manifestations of the collective universal human will; a will which is not of me, but in me, which I
can only partially renounce, with much labor and struggle. [p. 35] This will is given to me from
without, and yet at the same time it is mine. This is pre-eminently the common human nature.
Before all else, we must place here our conscience, which was given to us, and which almost no
man can completely resist; also our direct involvement and compassion with our neighbor, paren-
tal and filial affection, and much else. Among these attributes are also evil desires, likewise seem-
ingly imposed on us from without: self-love, revengefulness, lust and so on. These are the mani-
festations of our fallen nature, against which we can and must struggle. And so the nature of all
men is the same: it is the impersonal but powerful will which every human person is obliged to
take into account, whichever way the personal free will may be turned: toward good or toward
evil. It is to this also that we must ascribe the law of existence whereby only through the union of
father and mother can a man be born into the world.
And once more my readers may object, saying, “We see that our natural will is similar to that
of others, but we do not see any real oneness, we are not conscious of our oneness with others,
and sometimes compassion for others is replaced in us by malevolence; moreover, we often feel
compassion towards animals and birds, though we are of a different nature.” Yes, at present, all
this is, unfortunately, true, but at the beginning it was not so; it will not be so in the future life;
and it is not so even now in the case of people who live according to God’s will. If you cannot
imagine that you hold your soul in common with others, then read in the book of the Acts, “One
was the heart and the soul of the multitude of them that believed” (4:32). And another record
taken from life is given by Saint Basil the Great. Describing the total unanimity and victory over
self-love of the monks of his day, Saint Basil continues:
These men restore the primal goodness in eclipsing the sin of our forefather Adam; for
there would be no divisions, no strife, no war among men, if sin had not made cleavages
in the nature; they are perfect imitators of Christ and His manner of life in the flesh. For
just as the Saviour in forming the company of the Apostles made common all things and
Himself as well, so do [p. 36] they… They emulate the life of the angels, like them ob-
serving the principle of community through their exactness… These men have seized in
advance the good things of the promised Kingdom, evidencing by their virtuous life and
community an exact imitation of that Kingdom’s mode of life and state… They have
clearly demonstrated to mankind how many blessings were bestowed on it by the Sav-
iour’s incarnation, because in the measure of their strength they gather the (one) human
nature, which had been torn and cloven into thousands of pieces, once more to itself and
to God. And this is chief in the Saviour’s incarnate economy: to gather human nature to
itself and to Himself and, having abolished this evil cleavage, to restore the original unity,
as the best of physicians binds up a body that has been broken in many places, using
healing potions” (Ascetical Statutes, chap. 18).
It seems, therefore, that earlier I have said nothing more than Saint Basil has written in these
lines. The reader can see for himself that we have not called his attention to any fantasies or
sophistries of our own, but to the tradition of the Church, to a church doctrine forgotten (at least
in this aspect) by our theological school, which ever since its foundation in the seventeenth cen-
tury has sought inspiration not so much in ecclesiastical sources as in Latin and Lutheran ones.
And if the reader wishes to find authority for Saint Basil’s words in the words of Christ and the
Apostles, we can easily satisfy him. With reference to the union of all the saved to be enjoyed in
the future life—not in the sense of mere unanimity, but in essential and real oneness, similar to
the oneness of the Persons of the Holy Trinity—one may read the words of One of the Holy
Trinity, “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that
they may be one as We are.... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe
on Me through their word: that they all may be one, as Thou. Father, art in Me, and I in Thee,
that they also may be one in Us. …I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in
one” (John 17:11–23). And Saint Paul fully confirms the words of Saint Gregory, that man must
be one [p. 37] though there are many human persons, when he says, that Christ “is our peace…
having abolished in His flesh the enmity... for to make in Himself of twain [Jews and Gentiles]
one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the
Cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Eph. 2:14–16).
The one Body of Christ, here referred to, is the Church, whose Head is Christ. Sometimes the
Church of the regenerate is simply called “Christ” (for He is her head and her life), and the sons
of the Church are called His members (I Cor. 12:12–13; Eph. 4:13–16). The Lord also teaches of
a new Being, in whom He will be, and in whom He is already united to the faithful, like a tree
which remains the same plant in all of its branches (John 15:1–9). And so the unity of the human
nature, undone by the sin of Adam and his descendants, is to be gradually restored through Christ
and His redeeming love with such power, that in the future life this oneness will be expressed
more strongly than it can now be by the multitude of human persons, and Christ, united with us
all into one Being, shall be called the New Man, or the One Church, being (in particular) its Head.
It appears to me that we have, according to our power, cleared the way to a more perfect un-
derstanding of the mystery of redemption, of its essential, its objective side. The salvation which
Christ brought to humanity consists not only of the conscious assimilation of Christ’s principle
truths and of His love, but also of the fact that by means of His compassionate love Christ de-
molishes the partition which sin sets up between men, restores the original oneness of nature, and
obtains direct access to the spiritual bosom of human nature, so that the man who has subjected
himself to this action of Christ finds new dispositions, new feelings and longings, not only in his
thoughts, but also in his very character, these being created not by himself, but coming from
Christ who has united Himself to him. It then remains for the free will either to call all these to
life or wickedly to reject them. The influence of the compassionate love of a mother, a friend, a
spiritual shepherd, consists (though to a much lesser degree) in this same penetration into the
very nature (fÊsiw), [p. 38] the very soul of a man. He who listens, hesitating between good and
evil, to the wise but disinterested admonitions of a stranger, correlates these true thoughts which
he assimilates with his corrupted nature, but the wavering son of a mother who suffers with him,
or of a grieving and loving spiritual father, will discover new and good dispositions in his soul,
which beckon to him and endeavor to displace the contrary dispositions which he has acquired
by his life of wickedness. The struggle within him begins without his volition, while his own will
only determines the direction the struggle shall take, bringing it to one settlement or to the other.
But the direct entrance of Christ’s nature, of His good volitions into our nature is called grace,
which is invisibly poured into us in the various inner states and outer incidents of our life, and
especially in the holy Mysteries, if these are worthily received, that is, if our conscious, personal
will freely submits itself to the sacramental flow of grace-inspired dispositions which Christ
plants in our souls by the special means of communion which He has established. Let us remem-
ber the words of the Apostle, “Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” and many
other similar sayings by him.
This is the explanation of the fact of the moral regeneration of men by means of the compas-
sionate love of Christ imparted directly to those who seek it, or sometimes indirectly through
Christ’s “co-workers” who partake of His compassionate love. The subjective feeling of compas-
sionate love becomes an objective power which restores the oneness of human nature that had
been destroyed by sin, and which is transmitted from one human soul to others.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 39] It remains for us to resolve the perplexities left after this exegesis which, in our opin-
ion, is strictly in accord with the Church, although it has been forgotten by our schools.
These perplexities are the following: (1) What, then, was the purpose of our Lord’s crucifix-
ion and death? (2) Why is He called a sacrifice for our sins and a propitiation for us of our Heav-
enly Father? and what do the Apostle’s words mean when he says that His Blood cleanses us
from our sins? (3) Why is it said that we became sinners and were condemned through Adam’s
disobedience, if one must explain the whole economy of salvation only within the framework of
moral values and make even metaphysical concepts—for example, nature—dependent on them.
We may suppose that our Russian readers will add that this conversion of the whole of the-
ology into moral monism is, of course, very attractive and is the best refutation of the criticism of
Tolstoy, who found such monism in the teaching of Jesus Christ but completely denied it in the
Epistles of the Apostles and in the Creed, considering the two latter to be a total distortion of
Christ’s teaching. “That is true,” our Russian readers and listeners will say (and they have said
this to me more than once), “but how do you evade or surmount the three obstacles which we
have just placed before you; in them it is certainly not just the influence of feudal law which is
being expressed, but the statements of the Apostles, especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews?”
[p. 40] We have said that the act of redemption consists only in the rebirth of a man, while
rebirth consists in his correction. Does this imply, then, that if a fallen man could correct himself
through repentance alone and through a struggle with himself under the guidance of God’s com-
mandments and the good examples of the righteous men sent by God, that there would be no
need for the redemption? I have read this same question and a definite affirmative answer to it in
Chrysostom’s works; he stated it approximately as follows: if men’s repentance could lead them
to a victory over vice, then the incarnation would not have been necessary.
Let us now ask: Who was responsible for fashioning human nature so that a good desire and
repentance are, nevertheless, powerless to renew a man in actuality and so that he falls helplessly
under the burden of his passions if he does not have grace assisting him? God the Creator, of
course. Further, why could not the Creator make men good by force? Because of His perfect jus-
tice, according to which only the free decision of free creatures is considered good. Why, then, did
the Creator not make human nature in such a way that repentance would immediately make a
man sinless again, as Adam was before the Fall? The answer: because of the same Divine justice
for which evil is so hateful, that the process of freely turning from it toward good is marked by a
long period of warfare and suffering; in addition, once human nature had fallen, it was deprived of
the patience and strength for a victorious battle with sin, and only in isolated instances does it
triumph over it. For a final victory human nature needs help from without, help which is, moreo-
ver, from someone who is both holy and compassionate towards it, that is, from a sufferer and
moreover from a Divine Sufferer, as we explained above.
And so, who is responsible that there are no other means to restore and save men except the
incarnation of the Son of God and the grievous sufferings of His compassionate love for us? The
Creator Who gave our nature such laws that it became so weak in its own powers when it aban-
doned obedience to its Creator.
[p. 41] This is the sense in which one can and should affirm that Jesus Christ was a sacrifice
for our sinful life, for the sin of Adam as the first man and ancestor of sinners. If one wishes, one
can even accept the phrase “satisfaction of God’s justice” in this sense, for if the Lord had been
only merciful and not righteous, only piteous and not just, He could have re-formed human na-
ture without the compassionate, torturous love of His incarnate Son, so that every sinner who
repented and was striving toward perfection would be able by himself to reach spiritual perfec-
tion, and with it, eternal salvation. The Lord told John, “It becometh us to fulfill all righteous-
ness” (Matt. 3:15). Therefore, the act of redemption—the exploit of compassionate love which
pours Christ’s holy will into the souls of believers—could not, as an act of love, violate the other
laws of life, that is, justice. And yet it has not infrequently been considered from this secondary,
non-essential, and incidental viewpoint, a viewpoint which the sons of Roman legal culture, as
well as the Jews, considered extremely important. Such a view of the peripheral aspect of the
event in no way obscures its real meaning as an act of compassionate love. For example, even the
pious deeds of righteous men, martyrs, and monastics, though they were unmercenary ventures,
yet when viewed from the standpoint of law, judicial or even commercial, appear likewise to be
expedient acts. “How excellent is your tradesmanship, O saints,” exclaims the Church in her
hymns, “for ye gave your blood and inherited the Heavens! …Truly good is your commerce, for
disdaining things corruptible, ye received the incorruptible!” (cf. the parable of the merchant who
bought a field with a treasure in it). In exactly the same way, if we consider Christ’s sacrifice
from the viewpoint of criminal, military, or commercial law, it has a definite meaning in each case,
although it is not at all in the sphere of these relationships. Criminal law demands a punishment
for a crime: our Saviour assumed this punishment Himself, by which we mean not only His
physical death, of which we shall speak below, but rather the tortures of compassionate love; and
consequently He was a sacrifice to justice (some theologians understand the latter here to be an
abstract concept — fiat justitia — [p. 42] while others have in mind the Bearer of justice, that is,
God the Father). From the standpoint of martial or, if you will, international law, since sinners
had become the property of the enemy of God, that is, the devil, to whom Eve and her descen-

A subsequent observation by Metropolitan Anthony: “While analyzing our Toward an Orthodox Christian
Catechism, a certain carping critic seized upon one of our answers, in which — while reading it out of context — he
found, or rather, he suspected that he had found, us holding a view of God as the cause of evil …Where in all of
this is the Lord presented as the cause of evil? Here we have merely spoken of the corrupt inclinations; but whether
to submit to them, or struggle against them — that is the affair of each man. …There would be more basis to call
God the cause of evil according to the former school catechism, which imputed the guilt for Adam’s offense to all
his descendants, who had known nothing concerning Adam’s fall, nor Adam himself.” (Ed.)
dants submitted, the devil did not want to surrender those who are being saved to God without a
sacrifice; therefore, the sacrifice was offered to the devil. Further, from the standpoint of com-
mercial law a slave who has been sold may only be returned to his former master by a payment,
and it is in this sense that the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Ye are bought with a great
price” (I Cor. 6:20). None of these explanations contradicts the others in any way, nor in actual-
ity do they contradict the explanation which forms the subject of the present article; but they
have very little in common with the explanations of Anselm, Aquinas, and the later Scholastic
dogmatic theology, which introduces the idea of a duel here.
In particular it has always seemed to us that the comparison of Christ’s Passion to the Old
Testament sacrifices and the consequent understanding of those sacrifices, as well as of pagan
sacrifices, which is generally accepted by Roman Catholics and Protestants (even rationalists), is
completely without foundation. Specifically, these theologians state that the Jews and pagans
viewed the killing of the sacrificial animal as the punishment of an innocent creature in place of
the sinful man or nation which deserved to be punished. I dare say that it is impossible to sup-
port this view of sacrifice with a single verse or event in the Old Testament, although, as is well-
known, the legal regulations about sacrifices fill almost half the books of Moses, especially the
books of Leviticus and Numbers. The animal which was killed was not thought of as being pun-
ished at all, but as providing a meal, which is why flour, oil, and salt were added to it. There were
sacrifices for sin, but the immolation of the animal here was the same as that which accompanied
all priestly actions, as in a peace offering, although there were also some completely bloodless
sacrifices of various grains. It follows then that in the eyes of the [p. 43] people of Old Testa-
ment times a sacrifice meant a contribution,

just as Christians now offer candles, kutiya [kol-
lyva], and eggs in church; the first are to adorn the church, while the others are to be eaten by the
clergy. And just as Christians at the present time know that God does not need the light of can-
dles and tasty kutiya (although the pious person’s contribution to the church is a sort of ascetic
act, as is supporting the clergy of the church according to one’s ability, and there is spiritual com-
fort for the worshippers at the sight of a brightly illuminated church), even so the children of the
Old Testament knew that God does not eat the flesh of bulls and does not drink the blood of
goats (Ps. 49), and does not even need temples made by men’s hands when Heaven itself cannot
contain Him, as Solomon said in his prayer (III Kings 8:27). But the Jews offered sacrifices with
the idea that—given their pastoral way of life—there was no other way of honoring their Exalted
Visitor with their whole heart except by killing the best of their flocks in His honor and offering
Him the best possible banquet they were able to. Thus Abraham acted as a host to the Lord
when He appeared to him in three persons, as did Gideon to the angel, who set the meal he was
offered on fire by touching it with his staff (Judges 6:21); Manoe, Samson’s father, also tried to
feed an angel (Judges 13:15–20).
But nowhere will one encounter the idea that the animal being sacrificed was thought of as
taking upon itself the punishment due man. Even in the instructions about the three-year-old red

Or, offering. The kinship of the Russian word for sacrifice (жертва) and for contribution (пожертвованie)
should be noted. (Trans.)
heifer, one cannot find this idea (despite the Protestant commentators); and the Church does not
refer this law to punishment for sin, but to the Presentation of the Mother of God in the Temple,
that is, to a devout gift to God.
I doubt that sacrifices in the pagan cults had a meaning of punishment. If one can find the idea
of an animal as the expression of men’s sins in the Old Testament, then it must be in the [p. 44]
scapegoat (and even here it is doubtful), which was not, however, killed, but driven out of the
camp into the wilderness (“Leazazel” — a Hebrew expression which has not been fully ex-
The analogy between Christ’s Passion and death and the Old Testament sacrifices is, of
course, repeated many times in the New Testament; but here too these sacrifices are not given
any other interpretation. This analogy is propounded with the most detail in the Epistle to the
Hebrews. What is the point of this analogy? To understand it we must first of all renounce the
Lutheran reinterpretation of the events of the Gospel which was connected with Luther’s re-
forms. Lutherans vehemently desire to present the relationship of Christ and Christianity to the
Mosaic Law and the Old Testament to be the same as that of Luther to Roman Catholicism.
“The Jewish nation was suffocating under the yoke of the ritual despotism of the law, and
Christ, and later the Apostles, freed it from that yoke.” In fact, the opposite happened: only
with great difficulty were Christians reconciled to the loss of the Old Testament cultus which
was so dear to them, while many did not wish in any way to be reconciled to its loss (even the
Apostle Paul continued to fulfill its obligations, see Acts 21:24); they loved it no less than, for
example, the Russian peasants love our church services, the customs of holy Pascha, the birches
on Pentecost, the apples on the Transfiguration, etc. It was hard for them to bear the loss of their
magnificent temple, the Sabbaths, the majestic high priest, the solemn sacrifices, and in general all
the objects of enthusiastic popular worship, the ark, the veil, etc.
The primary goal of Saint Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews was to comfort them in these exter-
nal losses and to explain that the spiritual comfort which those services provided is preserved
twofold among Christians; it is no longer tied to the material temple and a sinful high priest, but
to an eternal High Priest (4:15; 5:10; 7:22; 8:6), to an unending, joyous Sabbath (3:11; 4:11), to a
law better than that of Moses (7:12; 8:7–18), to a superior Divine sacrifice, to access to a Heav-
enly sanctuary not made by human hands, through the washing not just of the body, [p. 45] but
through a sacramental washing away also of the stains of the soul in baptism (9:11–12; 10:22),
for in place of the temple veil was His pure Flesh. The Apostle sets out the same thoughts more
briefly in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians, which was written for the same
reason (the Christians’ concern over the loss of the Mosaic worship services); here he also
speaks of spiritual circumcision, about the handwriting of our sins, about Sabbaths and other fes-
tivals, and about various prohibitions of the law which preserved the Jews from defilement.
It is worth noting that when he speaks of Christ’s sacrifice or even of His sacrificial Blood in
the epistles, the Apostle does not view it as a punishment (even though a voluntary one); rather,
he continues to view it as a gift to God the Father, that is, in agreement with the Old Testament
(Heb. 8:3–4; 9:9–10). Thus Christ’s Blood which was shed on the Cross is, as it were, the same
sort of gift to God as the blood of bulls which accompanied the Jews’ sacrifices. This idea of
Christ’s sacrifice as a gift to God is expressed with particular clarity in the following words of
the Apostle (Heb. 8:3): “Every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices; wherefore, it is
of necessity that this man have something also to offer.” Of course the Apostle Paul does not
exhaust the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice by the explanation of the idea that for the faithful it re-
places the Old Testament priestly actions, the loss of which had so upset them. He says that the
Lord offered Himself as a spotless victim to God, and His Blood cleanses our conscience from
dead works (9:14); the Apostle John says the same thing in his first epistle (1:7). But all these
expressions, as well as the words of these same holy Apostles about the saving power of the
Lord’s Cross, represent in these images (Blood, Cross) the same general concept of redemption
which we explained above (the concept of moral regeneration), for immediately afterwards they
indicate purely moral consequences of this understanding (the cleansing of the conscience from
dead works; the crucifixion to the world by the Cross of Christ, etc.).
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 46] My reader may reply, “If you will, I am ready to agree that even if Christ’s physical
sufferings had not included the shedding of blood, but only blows and physical death, if He had
been put to death not by crucifixion, but by some other means equally torturous and contempti-
ble in men’s eyes, our redemption would still have been accomplished. But could this really have
happened without the physical sufferings and death of the Redeemer? Could it have happened,
let us say, only as a result of the spiritual sorrow and pain which He began enduring from the
start of His earthly life, and especially in Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal? Further, you
somehow give too little importance to Adam’s sin and more to the sins, or rather, the sinfulness
of every man; but did not the Apostle say of Adam, ‘In him all have sinned’”?
It must be granted that these questions are quite reasonable, and one cannot refuse to give
them an appropriate answer. First of all let us consider the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ro-
mans (5:12); “Wherefore, as by one man sin has entered into the world, and by sin, death; and
thus death passed upon all men, in that all have sinned.”
If one is to understand “in that” as
meaning “in which,” then one does not know to what this “which” refers. To the “one man”? But
the words are too far apart. To the world? Possibly. To death? This is also possible, since in
Greek “death” (yãnatow) is of the masculine gender. Let us consider the Russian translation; we
at once see those traitorous italics in which, as we [p. 47] already said, we for the most part find
Roman Catholic and Lutheran conjectures: “because in him all sinned.”
If this translation were
correct, it would be the chief, and possibly even the only, basis for the juridical theory and for
attributing innate vengeance to God. “As from a polluted spring,” we read in our textbook, “there
flows corrupted water,” etc. But, if you will, a spring and water are one thing, whereas living,
morally responsible human beings are something else. It is not by our own will that we are de-
scendants of Adam, so why should we bear the guilt for his disobedience? Indeed, we must strug-
gle greatly in order to appropriate Christ’s redemption: can it be that the condemnation of each
man because of Adam befell men despite each one’s own guilt? After all, the Apostle says here
“that the gift was poured out more richly than the condemnation” (cf. Rom. 5:15), but with the
juridical interpretation the result is rather the opposite. Finally, let us consider the original Greek
text: the words “in that” translate the Greek “§fÉ ⁄” which means “because,” “since” (Latin:
tamen, quod). This same expression (§fÉ ⁄) is encountered in Philippians with the same meaning:
“because ye did take thought” (4:10); the Russian translation is inaccurate here too (in the Syn-

The King James Version avoids the difficulties of the Slavonic translation in its reading “…for that all have
sinned.” (Trans.)
Actually, in the Russian ‘because’ not ‘in him’, is in italics. (Trans.)
odal edition). The synonymous Greek expression has the same meaning of “because” (cf. Matt.
25:40, 45; Rom. 11:13). Therefore, the correct translation of these words of the Apostle Paul is,
“and so death passed upon all men, because all have sinned” (and not just Adam alone). This is
how Blessed Theodoret interprets these words.
And so Adam was not so much the cause of
our sinfulness as he was the first to sin, and even if we were not his sons, we still would sin just
the same. Thus one should think that we are all sinners, even though our will be well directed, not
[p. 48] because we are descendants of Adam, but because the All-knowing God gives us life in the
human condition (and not as angels, for example), and He foresaw that the will of each of us
would be like that of Adam and Eve. This will is not evil by nature, but disobedient and proud,
and consequently it needs a school to correct it, and this is what our earthly life in the body is,
for it constantly humbles our stubbornness. In this regard, this school attains success in almost
all its pupils who are permitted to complete their full course, that is, to live to a ripe old age
(even in a pagan faith);
but some of God’s chosen ones attain this wisdom at an early age,
namely those whom Providence leads to the Heavenly Teacher or to His “co-workers.”
In general it must be said that the translation of these verses from the Epistle to the Romans
(as well as of many other passages in the New Testament) into Russian is completely wrong.
The Apostle Paul distinguishes the event of Adam’s fall as the means, the way through which
sin and God’s wrath appeared in the world from those consequences of it, for which Adam’s sin
was the cause. Thus quite logically the preposition “diã” (“through”) is used in the first case,
while where Adam’s sin is the cause of the corruption of human nature and of mortality, the idea
of the instrumental case is used as an ablativus causae; there is no instrumental case in the
Greek language, but it is replaced by the dative: “I was struck by a stone” — in Greek there
would be a dative case here.
But the Russian version quite incorrectly translates all phrases with “diã” in the instrumen-
tal case. It reads, “Thus, by one man sin entered into the world,” etc., while in Greek it says,
“As through one (diÉ •nÒw) man sin entered into the world.” Adam is not actively responsible for
the indwelling of sin in the whole world, but rather is a sort of door who opened the way for sin.
Similarly, further on (5:16) in Russian it says, “And it is a gift, not a judgment, for the one
who had sinned, for the judgment for one transgression is to condemnation; while the gift of
grace is for justification from many transgressions. For, if by one [p. 49] man’s offense death
reigned, by one,” etc. Here in the Synodal text italics are used, a sign that these words were
thought up by the commentators; but the translation is wrong here. It should more accurately
read, “for the judgment through one man” (Adam), etc. Further on the translation is correct, for,

St. John Chrysostom hardly pauses on this phrase, but whereas his thought approaches the current under-
standing he comments, “for one to be punished for someone else’s fault does not seem quite just” (On Romans:
Homily X). Bishop Theophan the Recluse holds to the Scholastic interpretation of our (i.e., the Russian)
translation: he recognizes “because in him all sinned” as an “exact translation.”
Note Metropolitan Anthony’s words: “in this regard”. He is not speaking here of salvation and eternal life in
the Kingdom, which is granted to the faitful Orthodox Christians, but of a certain moral advancement or humility
attained through enduring tribulations in this present life. This phenomenon is commonly observed and is often
commented upon by many of the Fathers. (Ed.)
although sin did not enter into the world by means of Adam’s deed alone, but only through (diã)
it, still this deed brought death upon all men; hence death reigns not only through the one who
sinned, but it actually was caused by his sin: “toË •nÚw parapt≈mati,” not “diã
parapt≈matow.” Here we do not simply have the modus or means by which death was spread,
but rather its cause (ablativus causae) is directly indicated; therefore the dative case, performing
the function of the instrumental, is used. Further on, in verse 18, he speaks of condemnation,
and again we find an expression with “diã,” not an ablativus causae: “diÉ •nÚw parapt≈matow
efiw pãntaw ényr≈pouw efiw katãkrima.” The same distinction is continued in verses 19 and 20.
Thus men are not condemned for Adam’s sin (cf. Jer. 31:29 and Ezek. 18:2), but for their own
sinfulness, the consequence of which (death) began with Adam (diÉ •nÒw); but all have sinned,
not in Adam, not §n ⁄ (“in whom”), but §fÉ ⁄ (“because”).
Now about the Lord’s crucifixion and His three-day death. Let us leave for a moment even
the interpretation of the dogma which is our own, that is, the Orthodox one, although forgotten
by our schools, and take the juridical viewpoint. From this position it is affirmed that extreme,
torturous suffering of the Son of God was necessary for Adam and his descendants to be par-
doned by God. So be it; but why did it have to be crucifixion on a cross and death, even if only
for three hours? Where was the value of the exploit: in physical suffering or in spiritual torment?
Suppose the first had occurred without the second, as was the case in the deaths of many mar-
tyrs, who rejoiced during physical suffering and death, would the exploit of the God–Man have
been as great, as saving, even from the standpoint of punishment? And so, where is the chief
value of His suffering? In His spiritual [p. 50] torment, of course! We understand it as compas-
sionate love for sinful humanity; the juridical theologians, as the direct taking upon Himself of
God’s wrath; but there could be no other answer, it seems to me, for the question I have posed.
What meaning, then, remains in this case in the crucifixion, the Cross, the humiliation by the
Jews, and the Lord’s death itself? A very profound one, of course, but we shall endeavor to ex-
plain it by asking a different question first.
Let us suppose for a moment that our Lord endured His most extreme torments in His soul
only, for example, during His superhuman prayer (take note of this expression from the Trio-
dion), and then when He had taken leave of His Body, He descended into Hades to preach to the
dead and again returned to earth when He rose from the dead. Would anyone (even theologians)
then be able to imagine the depth of those sorrows and to understand the inner union of His soul
with the whole of human nature, with all men for whom He mourned in His prayer as a mother
mourns her son who is perishing morally (let us recall Gogol’s related image)?
And, if there were one Christian who knew only of the Saviour’s spiritual suffering, and an-
other who had heard the Gospels of the Passion and considered the redemptive suffering of the
God–Man as only a multitude of physical torments and humiliations which were endured (i.e.,
just as hundreds of thousands of martyrs suffered—and no more than that), still the latter proba-
bly would glorify His Passion with greater gratitude and would mourn His death each year with
greater compunction than would the former.
Why is this so? Because our nature is so coarse, so enslaved by bodily sensations and the fear
of death, that it is very difficult for it to enter into the concept of the purely spiritual torments of
Christ when He wept for the sins of others, unless those torments are combined with bodily suf-
fering and humiliation inflicted by His fellow men. Is there anything extraordinary in a man being
downcast and that he begins to languish and grieve? Indeed, the eyewitnesses of the suffering of
that night in Gethsemane—Peter, [p. 51] James, and John—did not understand it; they fell asleep
three times while Christ was praying. The disciples of the Apostle Paul showed just as little ap-
preciation of this pastor’s birth pangs and more willingly submitted to the authority of mystifi-
cation and pretentiousness; remember Paul’s lament, “Though the more abundantly I love you,
the less I be loved” (II Cor. 12:15). “For ye endure it, if a man enslave you, if a man devour you,
if a man take from you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak by way of
reproach, as though we had been weak” (11:20).
And so Christ’s bodily suffering and death were primarily necessary so that believers would
value His spiritual suffering as incomparably greater than His bodily torments, which in them-
selves make anyone who reads or hears the Gospel to tremble.
Both the Lord Himself and the Apostles in His name indicate the significance of the cruci-
fixion to be primarily in this very thing: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men unto Me” (John 12:32). “When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I
am He” (8:28). “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man
be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (3:14).
“Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation [the Jews] only, but that also He
should gather together into one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (cf. 11:51–52)
through the preaching of His death on the Cross and His resurrection. Finally, Paul says of
Christ, from the prophecy of Esaias, “All day long I have stretched forth My hands [from the
Cross] unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Rom. 10:21).
Christ’s cleansing Blood, saving Cross, life-giving tomb, and healing wounds are all expres-
sions and images which are substituted (in the epistles of the Apostles and Fathers, and in the
Church’s prayers) for the general concept of Christ’s redeeming Passion; those aspects of His
exploit, of His saving grief and Passion, which make the greatest impression on us, are taken up
here, especially the Holy Cross, but also the nails, the sponge, and the reed (in the Octoëchos).
We are, of course, far from insisting [p. 52] that the only meaning of our Lord’s bodily suffering
and, in particular, of His crucifixion and death was to provide the faithful with a way of con-
ceiving His spiritual grief. It is probable that because of the connection between the soul and
body, there is a deeper mystical sense here, but in any case, from the viewpoint of moral mo-
nism, the Lord’s crucifixion and death are not without meaning for our salvation, for, by bringing
men to compunction, they reveal to them at least some portion of the redemptive sacrifice, and,
by leading them to love for Christ, they prove saving for them and for all of us.
“Perhaps everything you said is not far from the truth, but we have never heard or read any-
thing like it before we read your explanation of the meaning of these passages in the Gospel and
Epistles, while, to tell the truth, we have never read the passages you cited from the Holy Fa-
thers. But is it not too bold to dare even to touch on such mysteries? ‘The things of God
knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God’(I Cor. 2:12). ‘Think not more highly than one ought to
think’ (Rom. 12:3).”
Before replying to the substance of such perplexities, I feel obliged to note that it is quite in
vain that they support themselves with the words of the Apostle Paul which have been quoted
and which are always being quoted. The latter part of the passage should be translated, “Do not
think more of yourself (and not of God), than you should” (Rom. 12:3).
Instead of explaining
the first passage, let us continue the Apostle’s text:
“The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely
given to us of God, which things also we speak” (I Cor. 2:12), and so on to the end of the chap-
ter. In a word, the sense here is exactly the opposite of that which this passage is given in courses
in the schools; the Russian translation of the New Testament has also introduced its italics here
and distorted the meaning of the text (2:14): “one must judge this spiritually,” instead of “it is
spiritually discerned,” “investigated”—“énakr¤netai.” In speaking of the inscrutability of the
Divinity, Saint John of Damascus concludes, God revealed to us everything necessary for our
salvation and everything else He concealed from us.
Salvation is our conscious process of perfection and communion with God; therefore, the
truths of revelation united with it should be bound to our inner experience and not remain com-
pletely uncomprehended mysteries.
I am convinced that the explanation of the truth of the doctrine of redemption which I have
expounded is in accord with the teaching of the Church, but I am even more firmly convinced of
the Church’s infallibility so that, if it were proven to me that my explanation does not coincide
with her teaching, I would consciously renounce my views on our dogma. But inasmuch as no
one has proven this to me (and I hope no one will), I remain persuaded that the explanation I
have proposed is in complete agreement with Holy Scripture and the Church’s Tradition, while
its apparent novelty results only from the fact that it unfolds the Church’s teaching in the lan-
guage of exact concepts and harmonizes the meaning of this dogma under consideration with the
rest of the most important truths of the Faith.
May 1917 Metropolitan Anthony

The sense one might get out of the Slavonic quoted above is something like, “Do not philosophize more
than it is proper to philosophize.” (Trans.)
Metropolitan Anthony here expresses the universal opinion of the Fathers. St. Cyril of Alexandria says, for
instance, “Our Lord Jesus Christ requires those who love Him to be accurate investigators of whatsoever is written
concerning Him; for He said, ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field.’ For the mystery of
Christ is deposited, so to speak, at a great depth, nor is it plain to the many; but he who uncovers it by means of an
accurate knowledge, finds the riches which are therein” (On Luke, Sermon 146). (Trans.)
The Dogma of Redemption
Holy and Great Friday
April 14/27, 1973
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
[p. 55] Yesterday, in the reading of the Ninth Gospel concerning the suffering of the Saviour,
and this morning, when the Gospel of Saint John was read during the Ninth Hour, we heard the
exclamation made from the Cross, the exclamation of the Conqueror of Hades, death and the
devil, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
What is finished? That was finished which was known to the Lord Omnipotent at the time of
the creation of the world. Finished was that which the whole world was awaiting; finished was
that which was prophesied even in Paradise to the forefathers who had sinned; finished was that
which was foretold to the Prophets, that to which the Old Testament prefigurations pointed;
finished was the redemption of the human race, its salvation from sin, death and condemnation.
Christ the Saviour made this exclamation, I repeat, already a Conqueror Who had fulfilled the
purpose for which He had been sent.
Before this there was heard from the Cross an exclamation of an entirely different nature:
“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). This exclamation was still
that of a sufferer and not a conqueror. This exclamation tells of boundless torment and suffering,
and indicates to us with what terrible sufferings the act of our redemption was accomplished.
But, as the God-inspired Holy Fathers of the Church tell us, and [p. 56] as our great father of the
Church Abroad and renowned theologian, His Beatitude Metropolitan Anthony, expresses with
particular precision, our redemption consisted of two parts, so to speak: first, the Lord Saviour
accepted upon Himself all the weight of our sins, then He nailed them to the wood of the Cross
on Golgotha.
When He walked with the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane, they who were accus-
tomed to seeing Him immovably calm, the Master of all creation, the King and Conqueror of the
elements and the Master of life and death, heard with horror words unheard from Him before:
“My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” The Saviour then asks His disciples, His be-
loved spiritual children, during those unbearably difficult and decisive moments of the Passion,
“Tarry ye here, and watch with Me” (Matt. 26:38).

This text had been distributed in English by the Department of Public and Foreign Relations of the Russian
Orthodox Church Abroad. [Some stylistic changes to the text as distributed have been introduced here (Ed.)]
Here the prayer in Gethsemane begins. In this prayer we see that the Lamb, which was or-
dained at the time of the creation of the world for the salvation of mankind, steps back as if ter-
rified before what is approaching Him and what He has to accept and suffer. Is He so much
afraid of the physical suffering? Is it that which makes Him step back? No!
From the narration of His suffering we see how calmly, how majestically and with what
wonderful, and of a truth Divine, patience He endured the terrible physical, bodily torments.
One has to keep in mind that He was pure and sinless. Suffering is characteristic of sinful na-
ture. He did not have to suffer because there was no sin in Him. Therefore, suffering was for
Him unnatural, and consequently, incomparably more sharp and difficult than for us. And yet,
how did He endure the physical torments?
Let us consider one moment of those torments: He is laid on the Cross, His most pure
hands and feet are pierced by terrible nails. What a dread moment! But He does not think of
Himself. The Saviour of sinners, Who came into the world to save sinners, thinks of them even
here and prays to His Father for His slayers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what
they do” (Luke 23:34). At that moment He does not think of Himself; He [p. 57] forgets His
own suffering; He only prays that the Father would be merciful, would forgive the sin of His
own crucifiers. This is the way in which He knew how to fulfill His act of serving and saving
sinners. Later on, a few hours will pass and He will lead yet another soul to salvation: the soul
of the wise thief.
But here we see that He is so struck with awe at the horror, that He prays to His Father,
“Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me” (Luke 22:42), and even more sharply ac-
cording to Saint Mark, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee” (Mark 14:36). All things
are possible unto Thee; Thou mightest find yet another way. Let this cup pass from Me. So ter-
rible was it, He prays that it will pass from Him.
The Church tells us that Christ the Saviour is the Lamb of God Who takes upon Himself the
sins of the whole world. Yes, He took upon Himself, He accepted as His own, all our sins. And
please remember that this is not simply a phrase written on paper, this is not a vibration of the
air which we term a sound; this is very truth.
In the Garden of Gethsemane during this terrible struggle, He received into His soul the whole
of humanity. As the All-knowing God for Whom there is no future and no past but only one act
of the Divine omniscience and understanding, He knew each one of us, He saw each one of us,
and every one of us did He receive into His soul, with all our sins, our cold unwillingness to re-
pent, with all our weaknesses and moral defilement. And what does He see? In order to save us,
whom He loved so much and whom He received into His soul, He has to take upon Himself all
our sins as if He Himself had committed them. And in His holy, sinless and pure soul every sin
burned worse than fire. It is we who have become so accustomed to sin that we sin without hesi-
tation. As the prophet said, man drinks unrighteousness as a drink (Job 15:16), and does not
count his sins. But in His holy soul every sin burned with the unbearable fire of Hades, and here
He takes upon Himself the sins of the entire human race.
What a torment, what a searing torment it was for His all-holy soul! But on the other hand,
He sees that if He does not [p. 58] accomplish it, if He will not receive upon Himself this weight
of human sins, then humanity will perish for all ages, forever, for endless eternity. Here His hu-
man nature, stricken with horror, steps back before this fathomless abyss of suffering, but His
endless, His boundless, His inexpressibly compassionate love will not consent that humanity
should perish; within Him there occurs a terrible struggle.
Finally, exhausted from this struggle, He goes to those from whom He was seeking compas-
sion and whom He asked to tarry and watch with Him, but instead of commiseration, He finds
them sleeping.
He addressed them—according to one of the Evangelists, he addressed Simon directly—Thou
sleepest, thou who but a short while ago swore that thou wouldst follow Me everywhere, even
unto death; thou sleepest, thou couldst not watch with Me even one hour? “Watch and pray,”
He tells them, for “the spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). He steps away
and again begins His lonely prayer. And at the last His boundless love prevails and He takes
upon Himself the sins of all humanity.
But we see how much this struggle cost Him. The Heavenly Father sent an angel from
Heaven to support Him because His human strength had reached its limit, and we see that He is
exhausted and covered with a terrible bloody sweat which, as medicine states, occurs as a result
of inner spiritual struggles which shake the whole being of a man.
Saint Demetrius of Rostov, meditating on the sufferings of the Saviour says, “Lord Saviour:
why art Thou all in blood? There is yet no terrible Golgotha, no crown of thorns, no scourging,
no Cross, nothing like unto this as yet, yet Thou art all stained with blood. Who dared to wound
Thee?” And the saintly bishop himself answers his question: “Love has wounded Thee.” Love
brought Him to torment and suffering; from this struggle He is covered with blood but comes
forth as Conqueror. And in His redeeming, heroic deed, He took upon Himself our sins and car-
ried them on the Cross to Golgotha, falling under its weight. And there began that other, central
part of our redemption, [p. 59] when He suffered all those sins which He took upon Himself in
Gethsemane, in the terrible torments on the Cross.
The Holy Gospel lifts up a little of the veil covering His suffering on the Cross by the excla-
mation concerning which I spoke before, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
(Matt. 27:46). For this was the principal terror for Him. Probably from this He stepped back
terrified in the Garden of Gethsemane in that He realized what was awaiting Him: He knew that
the Father would forsake Him, all covered with the stains of human sins. Through this exclama-
tion uttered from His lips, the abyss of this measureless suffering is partly revealed to us. If we
were able to look into this abyss, not one of us would remain alive, because from this measureless
suprahuman suffering our soul would melt, perish.
But lo! at last through His suffering He achieved everything for which He came. As the New
Adam, He becomes the forefather of the new, renewed, spirit-filled humanity, and then as Con-
queror He exclaims, “It is finished.” The suffering is ended for Him now and He surrenders His
spirit unto His Heavenly Father.
During the suffering on the Cross, He called unto Him as the least of sinners who is immersed
in his sins, saying, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” and now He again calls
Him Father: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit” (Luke 23:46).
As one of our great Russian preachers said, “The suffering is finished, let the wounds be
healed, let the blood stop flowing; approach now ye Josephs of Arimathea and ye Nicodemuses,
and also ye reverent Magdalenes, come to the Deceased in order to show Him the last honors.”
Let us remember well, beloved brethren, the subjects I lightly touched upon in my sermon.
Blessed is that man who knows how to read the Holy Gospel, who understands it and medi-
tates upon what it tells us.
And now, while worshipping the Saviour entombed, let us remember that the Lord suffered
for our sins, that all these wounds were inflicted by us; and reverently kissing the wounds of the
Crucified with repentance and gratefulness, let us pray to Him that by His grace He will teach us
to be faithful to Him in all the paths of our lives. Amen.
The Dogma of Redemption
[p. 61] Metropolitan Anthony was born in the year 1863 into the noble family of
Khrapovitsky of the district of Novgorod. His secular name was Alexei. In 1885 he finished the
Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, was tonsured a monk and ordained a hieromonk. From
that time until 1897 he was a teacher and, later, rector of the Saint Petersburg Theological Acad-
emy, the Moscow Theological Academy and finally the Kazan Theological Academy. In 1897 he
was ordained Bishop of Cheboksary, in 1899 he was appointed Bishop of Chestopol, in 1900
Bishop of Ufa, and in 1902 Bishop (later Archbishop) of Volhynia, where he remained until the
outset of the First World War. In 1914 he was appointed Archbishop of Kharkov, but immedi-
ately after the Revolution in 1917 Archbishop Anthony was deprived of his diocese and was
confined to the Valaam Monastery. There he wrote his work on the dogma of redemption. Soon
he was elected representative of the learned monastics to the All-Russian Council and thereafter
was unanimously re-elected to his former Kharkov diocese. He received the majority of votes at
the nomination of candidates to the office of Patriarch, but by lot Metropolitan Tikhon was
elected Patriarch.
In 1918 Metropolitan Anthony was appointed Metropolitan of Kiev. Soon after his arrival in
Kiev, however, he was arrested by Petliura’s short-lived Ukrainian government and banished to
Galicia, where he was kept a prisoner in a Uniate monastery. With the help of the French gov-
ernment he was returned to Kiev, but shortly thereafter he had to be evacuated because of the
advance of Bolshevik forces. He then became [p. 62] head of the Church Administration in
Southern Russia. After the defeat of Denikin, Metropolitan Anthony was evacuated to Mount
Athos, but he again returned to the Crimea until a new evacuation in 1920 brought him to Con-
stantinople. With the agreement of the Ecumenical Patriarchate he organized the Supreme Ad-
ministration of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. In 1921, by invitation of the Serbian
Church and King Alexander of Yugoslavia, the Church Administration was transferred to
Sremski-Karlovci, Yugoslavia. There also, Metropolitan Anthony reposed in peace on July
28/August 10, 1936.
[This marks the end of the original English edition of 1979. (Ed.)]
The Dogma of Redemption
Suggested Further Reading in English on this Topic
On-line at http://hocna.org/ “Defense of the Faith”:
The Synodal Resolution Concerning “The Dogma of Redemption” by Metropolitan Anthony
Reply to Vladimir Moss Concerning Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
At http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hocna/files/ “Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky”:
Saint John Damascene and Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky
New Hieromartyr Ilarion Troitsky, Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, and the Moscow Pa-
Letter by Metropolitan Anthony to Fr. Polycarp of Valaam Monastery
“Sorrowful Epistle” by Metropolitan Anthony to the Ecumenical Patriarch Constantine VI
A Eulogy on Metropolitan Anthony by St. John of San Francisco
Printed Text:
Metropolitan Anthony Khrapovitsky, The Moral Idea of the Main Dogmas of the Faith, trans.
Bishop Varlaam Novakshonoff (Dewdney, B. C., Canada: Synaxis Press, 1984; 2
rev. ed.,
2002). [This is the full series of articles by Metropolitan Anthony, of which The Dogma of Re-
demption is one.]
In 1979, at the time that The Dogma of Redemption was first published in English, the fathers
of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston, had already made a thirty-seven page compilation
of patristic citations demonstrating that Metropolitan Anthony’s interpretation of the dogma of
redemption, wherein he states that we are saved by Divine love, is entirely in keeping with the
teachings of the Church. These passages from the Holy Fathers, of which some are quite lengthy,
teach us 1) that God created and sustains all things through His love, and through love the Son
and Word of God became man that we should gain life everlasting; 2) what is the nature of love;
3) concerning love and compassion; 4) that the love which the Saints possess is a perfect reflec-
tion of God’s own love, and indeed it is the Divine love; 5) what the power of love is, and how it
is communicated to others by Christ God and by His saints. God willing, this edifying compila-
tion will appear as an appendix to this revised English edition of The Dogma of Redemption when
it is printed, or perhaps may even be added here to the on-line version at a later date.

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