The Third Holy Trinity Seminary Colloquium
The colloquium was opened on Friday, October 22, with remarks by His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, Rector of Holy Trinity Seminary, in which he emphasized the unique significance of having Archbishop Evgenii of Vereia, who is so closely associated with the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, as keynote speaker. The Rev. Deacon Vladimir Tsurikov, Assistant Dean, then offered a welcome in which he pointed out that the present conference was the most recent fruit of the professional cooperation between the Moscow Theological Academy and Holy Trinity Seminary.
The keynote address, entitled "The Moscow Theological Academy at the Trinity-Sergius Lavra," was delivered by His Eminence, Archbishop Evgenii, Rector of the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary and Chair of the Educational Committee of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate). Archbishop Evgenii introduced his talk by describing his visit to Holy Trinity Seminary as another in the list of significant firsts in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church since the fall of the Soviet Union. In his address Archbishop Evgenii gave a detailed history of the Moscow Theological Academy in the Trinity-Sergius Lavra from its beginning to the present day, paying particular attention to the leadership of three of the Academy's most notable rectors: Metropolitan Philaret (Drozdov), rector from 1821 to 1867, who was a major influence in the growth of the Academy in general and in the formulation of rubrics of all theological schools in Russia, leaving a permanent seal on the spirit of the Academy, both in its academic and spiritual life; Archpriest Alexander Gorsky, rector from 1862 to 1875, who was known for his encyclopedic erudition, deep piety, and paternal love for the students; and Archimandrite Anthony (Khrapovitsky), rector from 1890 to 1895 and later the first Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, who brought with him a vibrant pastoral-ascetic approach that gave new life to the Academy. Archbishop Evgenii likewise gave attention to the history of the Academy in the twentieth century, from the closing of the Academy to its reopening in the walls of the Lavra in 1947 and culminating in recent reforms. Present as guests during the keynote address were His Grace, Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan, and His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland. Guests were invited for refreshments following the keynote address.
The program on Saturday, October 23, was divided into four sessions, following each of which a question and answer session for the panelists was held. The first session was dedicated to the work of St. Andrei Rublev, a monk of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra; the second was dedicated to an examination of library holding relating to the Lavra; the third looked at the historical place of the Lavra and the memory of its founder, St. Sergius, both in Russia and abroad; the fourth and final session considered some of the most notable professors of the Moscow Theological Academy.Session One: Andrei Rublev
The first session, dedicated to the work of Andrei Rublev, was begun with a talk by Priscilla Hunt, Associate of the Five Colleges, University of Massachusetts, entitled "Andrei Rublev's Old Testament Trinity Icon in Cultural Context." Professor Hunt's paper examined Rublev's celebrated icon as an expression of the spiritual culture of the early fifteenth century flourishing with the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, illuminated the culture's broader context in hesychasm, placed the icon against the background of heyschast-inspired iconography, and summarized and evaluated the contributions of previous scholarship to understanding the relation of this icon to its historical and cultural milieu. Professor Hunt argued that Rublev contributed to a cultural revival brought about by St. Sergius' work in the face of Mongol aggression and internecine strife, expressing in his Trinity icon the qualities and powers inherent in this revival. Rublev's icon penetrates so deeply into ontological mystery that it remains an unparalleled witness to the hesychast spirituality enlightening the Orthodox world in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. At the same time, Professor Hunt concluded, the icon reflects intimately the vision that St. Sergius bequeathed the Russian people, making it an unparalleled witness to the spirituality of the nation.
The second paper in this session, "Patristic Interpretation of the Hospitality of Abraham and Rublev's Icon of the Trinity," was given by the Rev. Fr. Andrew Louth, Professor of Patristic and Byzantine Studies in the Department of Theology at the University of Durham. Fr. Louth's paper, offered in memoriam of the late Sergii S. Averintsev, looked at the patristic interpretation of the episode of Abraham's offering hospitality to the three angels at the Oak of Mamre, and from these considerations offered reflections on Rublev's Trinity Icon. Fr. Louth focused on how the oneness and the threeness of the Holy Trinity are represented in the icon and explored the extent to which the antecedent patristic tradition of exegesis of the hospitality of Abraham sheds light on this. Fr. Andrew suggested that the absence of the figures of Abraham and Sarah in Rublev's icon leads to it no longer depicting worship, but rather inviting it of the beholder. Professor Louth, based on his reading of the patristic exegesis of the visit to Abraham, suggested that Rublev's icon might more properly be interpreted as depicting "One of the Trinity," that is Christ, rather than depicting the Trinity per se .
The third and final paper of the first session, "Andrei Rublev in Modern Russian Culture," was given by Robert Bird, Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago. Robert Bird began by noting that the figure of Andrei Rublev has emerged from almost total obscurity to become one of the most unifying figures in Russian culture despite the fact that practically nothing is known about the man. The situation changed dramatically around 1900, according to Dr. Bird, when the restoration of Rublev's Trinity icon led to an increasing number of attributions and to a wave of interest in the person of Andrei Rublev, who served largely as a symbol of larger principles of traditions. The first major tendency of Rubleviana was his modernist reception by such poets as Nikolai Kliuev, Andrei Belyi, Nikolai Gumiliev, Arsenii Tarkovsky, and Ksenia Nekrasova, as well as by paintings inspired by Rublev's Trinity created by Kuz'ma Petrov-Vodkin, Pavel Filonov, and Sergei Sudeikin. The modernist cult of Rublev gave way immediately after the revolution to the period of "Rublevian Rus," which promoted the patriotic ideal of Rublev as a world-class Russian artist. A third major tendency in the modern reception and appropriation of Rublev, in Robert Bird's reckoning, is most closely identified with the names of Fr. Pavel Florensky and Andrei Tarkovsky, both of whom wove elaborate myths about Rublev's life. Although fictions, their accounts succeeded in tracing the full extent of Rublev's historical absence, pointing our eyes to the invisible reality which left traces in the icons. In Professor Bird's view, the very least that can be said is that the Rublev controversies continue to express significant differences over the nature and place of Tradition, both within the Orthodox Church and within Russian society. At the risk of debasing Tradition, they continue to renew it and render it a palpable presence in the lives of many.Session Two: Library Holdings
The second session, focusing on library holdings relating to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, was opened by a talk by Edward Kasinec, Curator of the Slavic and Baltic Division of The New York Public Library, entitled "Images of the Lavra," which reviewed visual representations of the Lavra, circa 1830-1930, in the collection of The New York Public Library. Mr. Kasinec's talk surveyed a small sampling of more than 100 images of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra held by The New York Public Library. These images - chromolithographs, photogravures, sketches, and original photographs from the Lavra's atelier , as well as other media - touch on three principal aspects of the Lavra: its architecture, the personalities associated with its founding and history, and the artistic content of its sacred space. Mr. Kasinec suggested three broad chronological periods in the history of the Lavra: the century from the pioneering work of Fedor Solntsev to the closing of the Lavra in 1919; the twenties of the last century to the High Soviet period; and the present post-Soviet period. In each of these periods visual representations of the Lavra were used by the political and cultural establishment to foster a specific political agenda to different Russian constituencies. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Kasinec noted that the very presence of these materials in the collections of The New York Public Library is a result of the radical policy of the Soviet regime in selling significant "souvenirs" of Tsarist religious and political power.
"The God-given Treasury," by Irina Vasilievna Pozdeeva, Chief Research Fellow, Department of History, and Chief of the Archeographical Laboratory, both at Moscow State University, followed Mr. Kasinec's talk. According to Dr. Pozdeeva, Russia's Orthodox culture can be identified as having been a "book culture" from its very beginning. Both the old library at the Trinity-Sergius Lavra as well as the present library of the Moscow Theological Academy attest to this fact. While the reputation of the pre-revolutionary library of the Lavra was well known, little information exists about today's collections, which have been developed from scratch. Mrs. Pozdeeva's talk analyzed the present state of both the Lavra's monastic library and the library of the Moscow Theological Academy.
The final paper on this panel was entitled "An Unknown Variant of St. Sergius' Miracle Regarding Metropolitan Isidore in Hilandar Slavic Manuscript #485: Preliminary Observations," delivered by Predag Matejic, Director of the Hilandar Research Library at the University of Ohio. This paper discussed interesting features of Hilandar Slavic Manuscript #485, dated to 1542, a sbornik primarily of Moldavian recension, but with a Serbian portion copied by Hieromonk Sava in 1542. Among the excerpts from saints' lives is a selection from the Life of St. Sergius, which is virtually coincidental in time to the two oldest Russian versions containing these texts, but containing some interesting differences concerning the relation of Russian ecclesial self-identity, vis-^-vis the Patriarch of Constantinople, not yet reflected in recent scholarship.Session Three: St. Sergius and his Lavra in History
The third session, looking at the role of St. Sergius and his Lavra in history, began with a talk by Daniel Rowland, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky and Director of the Gaines Center for the Humanities, entitled "The Memory of Saint Sergius in Sixteenth-Century Russia." Dr. Rowland's talk discussed the role of St. Sergius in the memory of Muscovites and the Muscovite state in the sixteenth century. After a brief discussion of some theoretical approaches to memory, paying particular attention to the notion of the "memory site" ( lieu de memoire ), Dr. Rowland discussed the role of pilgrimages in renewing the memory of St. Sergius in Muscovy as well as the role that St. Sergius was believed to have played posthumously in the history of Kazan' after its conquest in 1552. In conclusion, Dan Rowland discussed the Trinity-Sergius Lavra's role during the Time of Troubles and the impact of St. Sergius on Muscovite memories, arguing that through the many memory devices available within Orthodox culture and beyond, Saint Sergius was conceived in sixteenth century Russia as a living, vital force who affected events large and small on a daily basis.
Scott Kenworthy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Miami University, developed and expanded upon many of Professor Rowland's theoretical comments on memory in his talk, "Memory Eternal: The Five Hundred Year Jubilee of St Sergius, 1892." Professor Kenworthy focused his attention on the celebration of the five-hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Sergius of Radonezh on September 25, 1892, seeking to understand how those who commented on this commemoration interpreted the importance of St. Sergius. This event was marked with great solemnity, including a massive procession from Moscow to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra and speeches given by such preeminent historians such as Vasily Kliuchevsky and E. E. Golubinsky. In addition to demonstrating the continued reverence for St. Sergius, Dr. Kenworthy showed that the massive scale and public attention of the event bear witness to the revival of the Lavra in the nineteenth century. Scott Kenworthy argued that there were various layers of significance attributed to St. Sergius and to the monastery he founded, which was celebrated with him, becoming a celebration of the glories of Moscow and Muscovy's medieval past, of the Russian people and the Russian state, and thereby also a celebration of what was perceived as a return to that glory.
The influence of the Lavra shifted from Russia to England and America in Richard Mammana's talk, "Russia's Oxford:' Trinity-Sergius Lavra Through the Eyes of English Speakers." Mr. Mammana's paper examined the travel writings of ecclesiastical and secular visitors who recorded their visits to the Lavra in English. The writings vary in genre and included poetry, recollections, journals, letters and official reports from both British and American sources and come from the pens of writers as varied as Robert Best, Giles Fletcher, William Coxe and John Parkinson, William Palmer of Magdalen, Edna Dean Proctor, and Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, who referred in his Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church to "that monastery, the Oxford of Russia." Mr. Mammana situated these travel narratives in the larger context of English travelers' accounts of Muscovy, concluding that over time a gradual diminishing of cultural impediments and odium theologicum on the part of the English and American visitors allowed them more fully to appreciate and understand the beauty, life, and significance of the Lavra.Session Four: Professors of the Moscow Theological Academy
The fourth and final session, on notable professors of the Moscow Theological Academy, began with a talk by Hieromonk Evfimii (Moiseev), the Director of the Moscow Theological Academy Press, entitled, "The Unity of Ideal of Service to the Holy Church in the Martyric Feat of the Professors of the Moscow Theological Academy: The Hieromartyr Illarion (Trioitsky), Fr. Pavel Florensky, and I. V. Popov." According to Fr. Evfimii the turn of the nineteenth century saw many changes in the life of the academy and theological education in general. Despite the contradictory, tumultuous, and sometimes hostile views of the times, many professors and teachers of the Moscow Theological Academy continued to serve the Church. Fr. Evimii's talk discussed three such representatives, all of whom perished during the persecutions of the Church. I. V. Popov graduated from the Academy in 1892 and remained as lecturer in Patristics and editor of the famous Bogoslovskii Vestnik . He strongly advocated theology being taught in secular universities to counteract the disparaged opinions among the intelligentsia about the subject. Fr. Pavel Florensky completed his university studies before entering the Academy - an unusual act for the times, considering the academic milieu's hostility towards religion. He graduated in 1908 and stayed to teach the history of philosophy. Famous for presenting his subject in a vibrant and attractive manner, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1911. Although cautious of Florensky's theological innovations, Popov respected his sincerity and dedication to truth. When Florensky assumed editorship of Bogoslovskii Vestnik (after Popov) he attracted new ideas and authors, even women, much to the chagrin of the old guard. Archimandrite Illarion (Troitsky) became inspector of the Academy in 1913. His dissertation, "The New Testament Teaching on the Church," was hailed as an authoritative masterpiece. Illarion was later one of the most vocal proponents of the reestablishment of the Patriarchate at the All-Russian Council. Both Illarion and Popov were sentenced to exile at Solovki. Illarion died in exile, while Popov was executed in 1938; Florensky was sentenced to hard labor and executed in 1937.
The final talk, entitled "At the Trinity in the Academy: N. N. Glubokovskii, Historian of the Moscow Theological Academy," was delivered by Tatiana Alexandrovna Bogdanova of the National Library in St. Petersburg. Among the better-known representatives of the Academy, N. N. Glubokovskii labored extensively to reform theological education, especially with the Russian theological academies. Dr. Bogdanova viewed his research on the history of theological education in precisely this context, discussing his historical writings by drawing on his memoirs Za tridsat' let , which focus on the years 1884 to 1914 as well as the unpublished Moskovskaia Dukhovnaia Akademiia v 1854-1870, 1883 i 1886-1887 godakh po perepiske prof. V. N. Potapova .
Closing remarks were offered by the discussant, Nadiezsda Kizenko, Associate Professor in the Department of History, University of Albany, and Lecturer at Holy Trinity Seminary, who had the formidable task of weaving the many threads of the colloquium into a unified fabric. Professor Kizenko found two themes running through and uniting all the presentations on the Lavra: genius and memory. Dr. Kizenko spoke of genius in the very specific sense of genius loci : the spirit of a place, and the place itself as a repository of that spirit. The Trinity-Sergius Lavra was a repository that captured and reflected the essential religious memory of the Russian nation - its "eternal memory," in the language of the Church - in a unique manner, a memory that was creatively appropriated by each generation, demonstrating the truth of St. Basil the Great's words that the Church ever grows younger.
Following Dr. Kizenko's remarks, Fr. Vladimir Tsurikov, the organizer of the Holy Trinity Seminary colloquia thanked all those present and offered a hand-painted and personally inscribed icon of St. Job of Pochaev, patron saint of the monastic brotherhood at Holy Trinity Monastery, to His Eminence, Archbishop Evgenii, in memory of his historic visit. Archbishop Evgenii in turn thanked Fr. Vladimir and all participants in the conference for their warm welcome and expressed his hope that this conference would serve as another significant step in overcoming the division within the Russian Orthodox Church.
Holy Trinity Seminary would like to thank His Eminence, Metropolitan Laurus, Rector, and Archimandrite Luke, Dean, for their blessing and encouragement in all stages of the planning and execution of the colloquium; Svitlana Malykhina and Viacheslav Boitchenko for providing simultaneous translations of all the talks; the staff of the Slavic and Baltic Division of The New York Public Library, especially Edward Kasinec, Robert H. Davis, Hee Gwone Yoo and Margaret Sandler: Alexis Pjawka and the incoming students, for helping to host the colloquium; Michael Herrick, Slavic Librarian at Holy Trinity Seminary, for organizing an exhibition of Holy Trinity Monastery and Seminary Library holdings relating to the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, the Moscow Theological Academy, St. Sergius of Radonezh, and St. Andrei Rublev; and to all speakers and participants for making this such a successful colloquium.
The proceedings from the First Holy Trinity Seminary Colloquium are collected in the volume Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow 1782-1867: Perspectives on the Man, His Works, and His Times . The proceedings from the Second Holy Trinity Seminary Colloquium were recently published as A. S. Khomiakov: Poet, Philosopher, Theologian . This volume contains a foreword by Marc Raeff, papers by Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), S. S. Khoruzhii, Richard Tempest, Richard Mammana, Paul Valliere, V. A. Koshelev, N. I. Kazakova, Valeria Z. Nollan, and an afterword by Robert Bird. These volume, numbers 1 and 2 in the series "Readings in Russian Religious Culture," edited by Vladimir Tsurikov, may be purchased for $15 each plus shipping and handling from the Holy Trinity Monastery bookstore. The proceedings from the Third Holy Trinity Seminary Colloquium will be published in the near future.