Orthodox Radicalism:
Political Doctrine of the Christian Brotherhood of Struggle

Teslya A.A.,

Leading Researcher, Academia Kantiana, Institute for Humanities, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, mestr81@gmail.com

elibrary_id: 616154 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2018.05.05

For citation:

Teslya A.A. Orthodox Radicalism: Political Doctrine of the Christian Brotherhood of Struggle. – Polis. Political Studies. 2018. No. 5. P. 43-56. (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.17976/jpps/2018.05.05


The intensification and radicalization of Russian political life during the 1905 revolution have brought to life several original attempts to reconsider the established position of the Orthodox Church in the Russian Empire and, in general, to rethink the role of religion in modern politics. A special place among these attempts is occupied by the “Christian Brotherhood of Struggle”, an Orthodox political organization established in Moscow in 1905 on the initiative of V.P. Sventsitsky. While the political Christian doctrine of the Brotherhood is based on the opposition of the Church and the state, and unlike a whole series of other synchronous doctrines, in this opposition the state recognizes the “divine” nature, but belongs to the “natural” order, the pagan world (but not devoid of grace). Following the teachings of V.l. Solov’ev’s world process is interpreted as “divine-human” and the process of “deification”, while not having a this-sided end. Thus, both orders, the one of the Church (as the order of anarchy), and the order of the state are synchronous, and the task of the Church is to live within the state being free from it, giving it what it rightfully has, which does not contradict the Church – and, at the same time, trying to transform the world in a Christian way to the extent that it is feasible. Since the nature of the state is pagan, the Church must remain forever “the Church militant,” reconciliation with the state means reconciliation with imperfection, lack of faith – and, consequently, falling into sin. The historical significance of the Brotherhood is a clear statement of the issues of Christian politics and possible methods of political action for the Church in the conditions of the late-modern political community.


Reformation; modern Orthodoxy; Christian policy; Christian socialism; “Christian Brotherhood of Struggle”.


Balakshina Yu.V. Bratstvo revnitelei tserkovnogo obnovleniya (gruppa “32-kh” peterburgskikh svyashchennikov), 1903-1907: Dokumental’naya istoriya i kul’turnyi kontekst [Brotherhood of Zealots of Church Renewal (Group of “32” of St. Petersburg Priests), 1903-1907: Documentary History and Cultural Context]. Moscow: St. Philaret Orthodox Christian Institute. 2015. 424 p. (In Russ.)

Berdyaev N.A. Dukhovnyi krizis intelligentsii [Spiritual Crisis of Intelligentsia]. Moscow: Kanon+. 1998. 400 p. (In Russ.)

Berdyaev N.A. Novoe religioznoe soznanie i obshchestvennost’ [New Religious Consciousness and Public]. Moscow: Kanon+. 1999. 464 p. (In Russ.)

Bulgakov S.N. Khristianskii sotsializm: Spory o sud’bakh Rossii. Pod red. V.N. Akulinina [Christian Socialism: Disputes About Destinies of Russia. Ed. by V.N. Akulinin]. Novosibirsk: Nauka. Sibirskoe otdelenie. 1991. 350 p. (In Russ.)

Bulgakov S.N. Trudy po sotsiologii i teologii. V 2-kh t. T. 2: Stat’i i raboty raznykh let. 1902-1942 [Works on Sociology and Theology. In 2 vols. Vol. 2: Articles and Works of Different Years. 1902-1942]. Moscow: Nauka. 1997. 826 p. (In Russ.)

Chertkov S.V. Nashedshie Grad. Istoriya Khristianskogo bratstva bor’by v pis’makh i dokumentakh [Finding of Civitas. The History of Christian Brotherhood of Struggle in Letters and Documents]. Moscow. Kuchkovo pole; Spasskoe delo. 2017. 472 p. (In Russ.)

Davydov Yu.N. Khristianskaya askeza i trudovaya etika. S. Bulgakov i M. Veber [Christian Asceticism and Work Ethics. S. Bulgakov and M. Weber]. – Bulgakov S.N. Trudy po sotsiologii i teologii. V 2-kh t. T. 2: Stat’i i raboty raznykh let. 1902-1942 [Works on Sociology and Theology. In 2 vols. Vol. 2: Articles and Work of Different Years. 1902-1942]. Moscow: Nauka. 1997. P. 797-815. (In Russ.)

Etkind A. Khlyst. Sekty, literatura i revolyutsiya [Whip. Sects, Literature and Revolution]. Moscow: New Literary Observer. 2013. 644 p. (In Russ.)

Evlampiev I.I. S.N. Bulgakov: pro et contra. Lichnost’ i tvorchestvo Bulgakova v otsenke russkikh myslitelei i issledo- vatelei. Antologiya. T. 1 [S.N. Bulgakov: pro et contra. Personality and Work of Bulgakov in the Assessment of Russian Thinkers and Researchers. Anthology. Vol. 1]. St. Petersburg: Russian Christian Academy for Humanities. 2003. 1000 p. (In Russ.)

Evlogii (Georgievskii). Put’ moei zhizni. Vospominaniya Mitropolita Evlogiya (Georgievskogo), izlozhennye po ego rasskazam T. Manukhinoi [The Path of My Life. Memoirs of Metropolitan Evlogii (Georgievsky). Set Out in His Stories by T. Manukhina]. Moscow: Moscow Worker. 1994. 621 p. (In Russ.)

Keidan V.I. Vzyskuyushchie grada. Khronika chastnoi zhizni russkikh religioznykh filosofov v pis‘makh i dnevnikakh S.A. Askol‘dova, N.A. Berdyaeva, S.N. Bulgakova, E.N. Trubetskogo, V.F. Erna i dr. [Seeking Civitas. Chronicle of Private Life of Russian Religious Philosophers in Letters and Diaries of S.A. Askoldov, N.A. Berdyaev, S.N. Bulgakov, E.N. Trubetskoy, V.F. Ern et al.]. Moscow: School “Languages of Russian Culture”. 1997. 752 p. (In Russ.)

Kolerov M.A. Idealismus militans: istoriya i obshchestvennyi smysl sbornika “Problemy idealizma” [Idealismus Militans: History and Social Meaning of the Collection “Problems of Idealism”]. – Problemy idealizma. Sbornik statei [1902] [Problems of Idealism. Collected Articles [1902]]. Moscow: Modest Kolerov, “Three Squares”. 2002. P. 61-224. (In Russ.)

Merezhkovskii D., Gippius Z., Filosofov D. Tsar’ i Revolyutsiya. Pod red. M.A. Kolerova [Tsar and Revolution. Ed. by M.A. Kolerov]. Moscow: Common Place. 2017. 172 p. (In Russ.)

Plotnikov N.S. Filosofiya “Problem idealizma” [Philosophy of “Problems of Idealism”]. – Problemy idealizma. Sbornik statei [1902]. Pod red. M.A. Kolerova [Problems of Idealism. Collection of Articles [1902]. Ed. by M.A. Kolerov]. Moscow: Modest Kolerov. “Three Squares”. 2002. P. 5-60. (In Russ.)

Polunov A.Yu. Lichnost’ na fone imperii: K.P. Pobedonostsev v vospriyatii tvorcheskoi intelligentsii rubezha XIX- XX vv. [Personality Against the Background of Empire: K.P. Pobedonostsev in Perception of Creative Intelligentsia of the Turn of XIX-XX Centuries]. – Chelovek i lichnost’ v istorii Rossii. Konets XIX-XX v. Materialy mezhdunarodnogo kollokviuma [Human and Personality in History of Russia. End of the XIX-XX Century. Materials of the International Colloquium]. St. Petersburg: Nestor-History. 2013. P. 123-133. (In Russ.)

Rozanov V.V. O nuzhde i neizbezhnosti novogo religioznogo soznaniya [On the Need and Inevitability of a New Religious Consciousness]. – Religiozno-filosofskoe obshchestvo v Sankt-Peterburge (Petrograde). Istoriya v materialakh i dokumentakh. V 3-kh t. T. 1: 1907-1909 [The Religious and Philosophical Society in St. Petersburg (Petrograd). History in Materials and Documents. In 3 vols. Vol. 1: 1907-1909]. Moscow. The Russian Way. 2009. P. 73-82. (In Russ.)

Rozanov V.V. Sobranie sochinenii. V 30 t. T. 11. Poslednie list’ya. Pod obshch. red. A.N. Nikolyukina [Collected Works. In 30 vols. Vol. 11. The Last Leaves. Ed. by A.N. Nikolyukin]. Moscow: Republic. 2000. 382 p. (In Russ.)

Skinner Q. The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Russ. ed.: Skinner Q. Istoki sovremennoi politicheskoi mysli. V 2-kh t. T. 2: Epokha Reformatsii. Moscow: Publishing house “Delo”, RANEPA. 2018. 568 p.)

Sventsitskii V.P. Sobranie sochinenii. T. 1. Vtoroe raspyatie Khrista. Antikhrist. P’esy i rasskazy (1901-1917) [Collected Works. Vol. 1. The Second Crucifixion of Christ. Antichrist. Plays and Stories (1901-1917)]. Moscow. Dar. 2008. 800 p. (In Russ.)

Sventsitskii V.P. Sobranie sochinenii. T. 2. Pis’ma ko vsem: Obrashcheniya k narodu 1905-1908 [Collected Works. Vol. 2. Letters to All: Appeal to People 1905-1908]. Moscow. Dar. 2010. 752 p. (In Russ.)

Teslya A.A. “Poslednii iz ‘ottsov’”: Biografiya Ivana Aksakova [“The Last of “Fathers”: Biography of Ivan Aksakov]. St. Petersburg. Vladimir Dal’. 2015. 799 p. (In Russ.)

Teslya A.A. Russkie besedy: Ukhodyashchaya natura [Russian Conversations: Outgoing Nature]. Moscow: RIPOL- classic. 2018. 400 p. (In Russ.)

Teslya A.A. The Russian Conservative: On the System of K.P. Pobedonostsev’s Political Views in the 1870-1890s. – Russian Sociological Review. 2017. Vol. 16. No. 1. P. 151-172. (In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.17323/1728- 192X-2017-1-151-172

Trubetskoi E.N. Mirosozertsanie V.S. Solov‘eva. V 2-kh t. [The Worldview of V.S. Solov’ev. In 2 vols.]. Moscow: Moscow Philosophical Foundation; Publishing house “Medium”. 1995. (In Russ.)

Volkov S.A. Vozle monastyrskikh sten. Memuary. Dnevniki. Pis’ma [Near the Monastery Walls. Memoirs. Diaries. Letters]. Moscow: Publishing House of Humanitarian Literature. 2000. 608 p. (In Russ.)  


Content No. 5, 2018

See also:

Socialist Vision of Modernity, or Modem Vision of Socialism (Review of a Symposium) • How Is the Crisis of Socialism to Be Interpreted? Is a New Paradigm Needed and Why? • Socialism-Communism versus Democratic Socialism • The Crisis of the Social (Welfar. – Polis. Political Studies. 1994. No5

Timofeyeva L.N.,
Metamorphoses of the russian reformation as perceived by a philosopher and citizen. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No4

Malinovskaya Ye.A.,
Orthodoxy in Central Asia. The Sources and the Modern Time. – Polis. Political Studies. 2008. No2

Oganisyan Yu.S.,
Socialism as the first stage of capitalism. Post-soviet Russia’s experience. – Polis. Political Studies. 2013. No3

Krasin Yu.A.,
Majesty and Tragedy of the Soviet "Experiment". – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No1



   2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991