Developing Theology in Russia


Students in Russia and their professors were cut off from Western thought, especially in theology and philosophy, for more than 70 years under the Soviet regime.

“It is absolutely vital that theologians in Russia be brought into the wider academic discussion of the West on matters pertaining to theology, philosophy, and science,” explains John Behr, a former advisor to the John Templeton Foundation and professor of patristics and dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. “There are huge numbers of Christians (of all denominations, though predominantly Orthodox) in Russia, and they are engaged in a real struggle to catch up on what the West has learned over the past century.”

As part of redressing this balance, The Spirit in Creation and New Creation, edited by Michael Welker, senior professor of systematic theology at Heidelberg University and one of the leading theologians in Europe, has been translated into Russian by Sergii Bortnyk. The book was a product of a Humble Approach Initiative (HAI) symposium in 2009 that gave four Russians—two philosophers and two theologians—a chance to interact with 11 scientists and scholars from Western Europe and the United States.

HAI director Mary Ann Meyers said the translation of the book demonstrated the “potential for far reaching focused conversations around important topics that engage the imaginations of scholars in several disciplines.”

The Spirit in Creation and New Creation has been published by St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University Press, a highly-regarded press of a co-educational graduate level theological university in Moscow, established in 1991 for lay men and woman and affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church.