Bulgakov Sergey Nikolaevich, Russian philosopher, theologian, Orthodox priest: biography
Russian philosopher-theologian Sergei Bulgakov -a man of uneasy fate. He was able to go through doubts and find his way to God, creating his own doctrine of Sophia, was able to overcome the mistrust of friends and church disapproval and live according to conscience and faith.
Childhood and family
Born Bulgakov Sergey Nikolayevich 16 (28) July1871 in the city of Livny, in a large family of a priest, rector of a small church in a cemetery. Sergei's father raised children (and they had seven) in Orthodox traditions. The family regularly attended church services, the children listened, and later themselves read the sacred books. Sergei recalled with gratitude the childhood years, when he came in contact with the beauty of Russian nature, reinforced by the solemn grandeur of the liturgy. It was at this time that he experienced a harmonious union with God. He was brought up as an exemplary Christian, in the early years he sincerely believed in God.
Years of study
At the age of 12 Bulgakov Sergey began to study in the spiritualschool, at this time he was, in his words, "the faithful son of the Church." After graduating from high school, he enters a spiritual school in his native town of Livny. At this time, he seriously thinks about linking his life with serving God. Four years later, after completing his studies at the school, Bulgakov enters the seminary in Orel. Here he studied for three years, but at this time there is a significant change in his outlook, he is experiencing a deep religious crisis that condemns him to disbelief in God. Having lost his faith in Orthodoxy, Bulgakov left the seminary in 1987 and after that he studied for another two years at the classical gymnasium in Yelets. Later he entered the Moscow State University, the Faculty of Law. In 1894, he successfully withstands the final examinations and receives a master's degree with the right to teach.
Already in the first seminary courses Bulgakov Sergeyhas great doubts in religious postulates and will survive the deepest crisis of faith, which pushes him not only to leave the seminary, but also to rapprochement with the very popular at this time Marxists. He works hard in this new philosophical direction and quickly becomes the leading theoretician of Marxism in Russia. However, he soon realizes the inadequacy of this theory and evolves toward idealism. In 1902 he even wrote an article "From Marxism to Idealism," in which he explains the change in his views.
These changes in his views are quitecorrespond to the spirit of the times, for the Russian intelligentsia of that period was characterized by a fascination with German idealism and subsequently religiousness. Acquaintance with Bebel and Kautsky, the works of V. Soloviev and L. Tolstoy lead him to search in the field of Christian politics for the solution of the question of good and evil. For a while, Bulgakov is fond of cosmology, following Nikolai Fedorov. These searches, which he himself designated as "social Christianity", fit perfectly into the evolution of Russian philosophical thought of this period.
Gradually the thought of Bulgakov matures and forms, the path of his philosophical quest perfectly reflects his first significant work - the book "The Light of the Unknown".
Upon termination of university Sergey Bulgakov(his biography is connected not only with philosophy, but also with teaching) remains at the department for the purpose of writing his doctoral dissertation, and he also begins to teach political economy in the Imperial Technical School of Moscow. In 1898, the university sends him for two years on a scientific trip to Germany. In 1901 he defended his thesis and received the post of an ordinary professor at the Department of Political Economy of the Kiev Polytechnic Institute. In 1906 he became a professor at the Moscow Commercial Institute. Bulgakov's lectures reflect the path of his quest, many of them will be published as philosophical and socio-economic works. Later he worked as a professor of political economy and theology of the Taurida University and professor of church law and theology in Prague.
Experiences of social activity
Having joined the Marxists, in 1903 BulgakovSergei participates in the illegal constituent congress of the Liberation Union, whose members were N. Berdyaev, V. Vernadsky, I. Grevs. As part of the Union, Bulgakov spread patriotic views, as editor of the magazine "New Way". In 1906, the philosopher took an active part in the creation of the Union of Christian Politics, from which passes to the deputies of the Second State Duma in 1907. However, soon the views of anti-monarchists cease to be close to him, and he passes to the opposite side. From that moment on, he no longer makes attempts to enter social movements and focuses his activity on writing philosophical and journalistic works.
In 1910 Sergei Bulgakov, whose philosophyapproaches the main point of his development, gets acquainted with Pavel Florensky. The friendship of the two thinkers greatly enriched Russian thought. During this period, Bulgakov finally returns to the bosom of religious, Christian philosophy. He interpreted it in a church-practical aspect. In 1917, his stage book "The Light of the Unknown" was published, and this year Sergei Nikolaevich takes part in the All-Russian Local Council, which restores the patriarchate in the country.
The philosopher at this time thinks a lot about the waysdevelopment for the country and the intelligentsia. He experienced the revolution as a tragic death of everything that was dear to him in life. Bulgakov believed that at this difficult moment a special mission of preserving spirituality and humanity falls on the shoulders of priests. Civil war strengthened the sense of apocalypse and pushed Sergey Nikolaevich to the most important decision in life.
Path of the priest
In 1918, Bulgakov takes the priesthood. Initiation takes place on June 11 in the Danilov Monastery. Father Sergius closely collaborates with Patriarch Tikhon and gradually begins to play quite a significant role in the Russian Church, but everything changed the war. In 1919, he went to the Crimea to take his family, but he would not be able to return to Moscow. At this time, the Bolsheviks exclude Bulgakov from the teaching staff of the Moscow Commercial Institute. In Simferopol, he works at the university and continues to write philosophical works. However, the Soviet government that came there soon deprives him of this opportunity.
In 1922, Sergei Bulgakov, whose books are notwere pleased with the new Soviet power, was deported to Constantinople with his family. He was given a document for signing, stating that he was being expelled from the RSFSR forever and, if returned, would be shot. From Constantinople, the Bulgakovs move to Prague.
Sergei Nikolaevich never tried to leaveHomeland, which was very dear to him. All his life he proudly spoke of his Russian origin and actively supported Russian culture, forced to exist abroad. He dreamed of visiting Russia someday, but this was not meant to come true. At home, the son of the Bulgakovs remained Fyodor, whom they had never seen before.
In 1922 Bulgakov Sergey arrived in Prague,where he begins to work at the Russian Institute at the Faculty of Law. At this time, Prague was called "Russian Oxford", here after the revolution worked such representatives of religious philosophy as N. Lossky, G. Vernadsky, P. Struve, P. Novgorodtsev. For two years, Bulgakov taught here theology. In addition, he performed services in the student's temple of Prague and in one of the suburban parishes.
Bulgakov lived in an institute dormitory under thethe name "Free", where a brilliant team of Russian scientists and thinkers gathered. Father Sergiy became the founder of the magazine "The Spiritual World of Students", in which the most interesting articles of theological content were published. He also became one of the main organizers of the Russian Student Christian Movement, whose members were leading Russian emigre thinkers and scholars.
The Paris Period
In 1925, Father Sergius and his family moved toParis, where, with his active participation, the first Orthodox Theological Institute opens, where he becomes the dean and professor. Since 1925, he has made many trips, having traveled almost all the countries of Europe and North America. The Paris period is also characterized by the intensive philosophical work of Bulgakov. The most notable works of his time are: the Lamb of God trilogy, The Lamb's Bride, The Comforter, the book The Burning Bush. Being dean of the St. Sergius Institute, Bulgakov Sergey creates a real spiritual center of Russian culture in Paris. He organizes the construction of a complex called the Sergievskoe Podvorye. Over 20 years of his leadership there is a whole town of buildings and temples. Also, Father Sergiy worked a lot with young people, becoming a well-known enlightener and mentor for students.
The big tests fell on Bulgakov's share inDuring the Second World War, he was already seriously ill at that time, but even in these conditions he did not stop his work on the creation of religious and philosophical works. He was very worried about the fate of his country and all of Europe.
Sofia Bulgakov's sophiology
The philosophical concept of Bulgakov is inseparableis connected with theology. The central idea - Sophia the Wisdom of God - was not new to religious thought, it was actively developed by V. Soloviev, but with Father Sergius she became a deep inner experience, a revelation. Bulgakov's religious and philosophical works lacked integrity and consistency, he rather confesses in his books, talks about his own mystical experience. The main spiritual concept of his theory, Sophia the Wisdom of God, is understood by him in different ways: from the embodied femininity as the foundation of the world to the main unifying force of existence, universal wisdom and goodness. Bulgakov's theory was condemned by the Orthodox Church, he was not accused of heresy, but pointed out mistakes and miscalculations. His theory did not acquire a complete form and remained in the form of quite diverse reflections.
Bulgakov Sergey Nikolaevich lived a richevents life. As early as 1898, he married the daughter of the landowner Elena Ivanovna Tokmakova, who had passed with him all the life's trials, and there were many of them. The couple had seven children, but only two of them survived. The death of the three-year-old Ivashka became a deep, tragic experience for Bulgakov, she pushed the thinker to reflect on the wisdom of the world. In 1939, the priest found a throat cancer, he suffered a severe operation on the vocal cords, but learned by incredible effort to speak after this. However, in 1944 he suffered a blow, which led to his death on July 13, 1944.