A Churchman & A Prophet by Brian McDonald

A Churchman & A Prophet

Georges Florovsky: Russian Intellectual, Orthodox Churchman
edited by Andrew Blane
Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1995.
(444 pages: $19.95, paper; $29.95, cloth)

reviewed by Brian McDonald

Genius has been defined as the capacity to hold contradictory ideas together for an extended period of time—without going mad. The late Fr. Georges Florovsky, the greatest theologian of twentieth-century Orthodoxy, had more than his share of this paradoxical capacity. The two major commitments of his long and fruitful life—an unwavering belief in Orthodoxy as the true Church of Christ and a deep devotion to the ecumenical movement—would seem to be in utter contradiction to one another. It is a tribute to his success in holding these antinomies together that he won the admiration of both the narrowest of traditionalist true believers and the broadest of mainline ecumenists—groups not otherwise noted for their capacity for making common cause with just anything or anybody. Georges Florovsky: Russian Intellectual, Orthodox Churchman, edited and co-authored by Andrew Blane, emeritus professor of Russian history in the City University of New York, thoroughly explores the character and thought of Florovsky and lays bare the unity beneath these apparent contradictions.

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