The article deals with the “political theology” of the Russian Orthodox renovationism / reformation in the first quarter of the 20th century. The beginning of this project is traditionally connected with 1960–1970s works of a Catholic theologian J.B. Metz and a Protestant theologian D. Sölle. Nevertheless this trend in the theory of ideas was actualized in Russia much earlier – in the beginning of the 20th century. In connection with the social upheaval it awakened an Orthodox movement of religious reform – the Renovationist movement. As it is shown in the analysis of the social and political programs of the Living Church during the beginning of the 20th century, on February – October 1917 and in the 1920s an original modification of the Orthodox “political theology” was formed which developed the social and political consequences of the Christian message. Nevertheless its formation and practical realization were hindered by the unsolved problem of the character of the church-state relations, and as soon as the revolutionary wave subsided and the authorities of the Soviet State became stronger, Renovationism declared of its willingness to cooperate. Consequently, the “political theology” born in the early 20th century in the Russian Orthodox Church, in the Soviet context gradually transformed into “theology of power”. One of the causes of such a turn is probably the fact that Renovationism was secondary in relation to the social revolution. Consequently, the movement had to use the state support again. Renovationism is a unique example of balancing on the edge of inversion, of a religious reformatory movement.

Keywords: Political theology, theology of power, the Russian Revolution, the Russian Orthodox reformation, Renovationism, Eschatology, church-state rela­tions.

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2017.2.23-34

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About the author


Dmitriy A. GolovushkinPhD (History), Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Religious Studies, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia;

of. 214, build. 20, 48 Moika River Embankment, St. Petersburg, Russia, 191186; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.