Khomyakov, Aleksei Stepanovich

(1804–60)
   Philosopher and Theologian.
   Khomyakov was born in Moscow, Russia, into an aristocratic family. After finishing his course at the University of Moscow, he joined the army, but by 1830 he had retired to his estates where he tried to improve the condition of his serfs. At the same time he participated in the intellectual life of the capital. He was a leader of the Slavophil movement and he saw the Russian Orthodox Church as the only bastion of true Christianity. He believed that the Protestants had overemphasised freedom at the expense of unity and the Catholics had insisted on unity, but had lost sight of freedom. His key concept was ‘Sobornost’, signifying both Catholicity and Conciliarity. He argued that the individual within the Orthodox Church shared in a common life, but at the same time retained his individual liberty. He was particularly critical of post-Enlightenment Western civilisation which he condemned as decadent and materialistic. During the last years of his life, he contributed to Russkaia Beseda, a review promoting the Sobornost ideal. His writings were occasional and covered many topics, but his view of the Church has been highly influential on later Orthodox ecclesiology.
   S. Bolshakoff, The Doctrine of the Unity of the Church in the Works of Khomyakov and Moehler (1946);
   A. Schmemann (ed.), Ultimate Questions: An Anthology of Modern Russian Religious Thought (1965).

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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