Tradition and innovation in the theology of elder Sophrony Cover Image
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Tradiţie şi reînnoire în teologia Părintelui Sofronie
Tradition and innovation in the theology of elder Sophrony

Author(s): Andrew Louth
Subject(s): Pastoral Theology
Published by: Renaşterea Cluj
Keywords: Fr Sophrony; Tradition; Cross; Russian Orthodoxy

Summary/Abstract: Tradition and innovation are in fact deeply interwoven in the theology of Fr Sophrony. Although Fr Sophrony was initially criticized by his fellow Orthodox for speaking so freely about his personal experience of God, in doing this he was only following the mainstream of the theology of the Russian emigres, amongst whom he may be counted, for whom theology and personal experience were inseparable. Again, Fr Sophrony might be regarded as innovative in the emphasis he lays on sin and darkness, to the point of finding parallels with the Western teaching of St John of the Cross on the Dark Night of the Soul. But this emphasis on the darkness of sin is well represented in the Lenten offices of the Church, and his notion of a human solidarity in sin that is experienced as the darkness of separation, from other human beings and from God, is entirely traditional, as is his understanding of the vicarious nature of ascetical experience, to be expected in a century such as the twentieth that knew so much of the horror of suffering and evil. This led Fr Sophrony to an understanding of the humility of God, and to explore the notion of divine kenosis, finding in such divine self-emptying the revelation of God’s essential nature as Iove, in this developing in innovative ways doctrines that had become characteristic of Russian Orthodoxy.

  • Issue Year: X/2016
  • Issue No: 06
  • Page Range: 63-66
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: Romanian