Вестник Свято-Филаретовского института (May 2018)

Embodying the Idea of Sobornost within the 1917–1918 All-Russian Local Council

  • Fr Ilya Solovyov

Journal volume & issue
no. 26
pp. 111 – 129


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The article is published on the occasion of the centennial anniversary of the 1917– 1918 Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. Its history and proceedings have been thoroughly studied by Russian and foreign church historians. The understanding of the current state of the Russian Church and the hopes for the revival of church life in the XXI century depend on how the experience and the decisions of the Council have been learnt and assimilated. The article points out the factors in church history that determined the uniqueness and significance of the Council. Particular attention is paid to the issue of electing the patriarch, including the procedure. The author represents the positions of both supporters and opponents of reestablishing the patriarchate. The Local Council not only restored the institution of patriarchate but also proposed a system of church administration based on the principles of sobornost. This system endured a very short time and afterwards it has never been implemented elsewhere. The author sees the significance of the Moscow Council in strengthening the idea of sobornost in the believers’ minds, far from being reduced to convening periodic church meetings of different levels but rather consisting in the active participation in the life of the Church of all its members – laity, clergy and episcopate.