Three Orthodox Visions of Ecumenism

in Essays in Ecumenical Theology I
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This chapter is the final one on the theme of Orthodox contributions to Ecumenical Theology. It is dedicated to Nikolai Berdyaev, Fr Sergius Bulgakov and Vladimir Lossky, and their visions of ecumenism, which drew on different sources and expressed different attitudes than those familiar from the Orthodox contribution to institutions such as the World Council of Churches or the Conference of European Churches. The chapter does not aim at placing one type of contribution over against the other, but rather to expand what it is that we reflect on theologically when we speak about a contribution of one Christian family tradition to the whole. There were three previous versions of the text. The first idea to explore these three alternatives was presented in my opening lecture at a conference on “Ecumenical Reception and Critique of Twentieth-Century Orthodox Theology in Exile and Diaspora”, held in Prague in May 2015.1 A second paper, dealing with some other aspects of the theme, was presented under the title: “On What Common Path Do We Embark When We Converse With Others? Three Different Visions of Ecumenism: Berdyaev, Bulgakov, Lossky” at a conference on “Christian Faith, Identity and Otherness: Possibilities and Limitations of Dialogue in Ecumenical and Interfaith Discourse”, at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge in September 2015. The third text, which included work from the previous two, was published as an article entitled: “Three Orthodox Visions of Ecumenism: Berdyaev, Bulgakov, Lossky”.2 This chapter is closest to the article, with some minor changes, so that it fits better with the other chapters of this collection.