Khondzinskii Pavel, archpriest

The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation» by Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky) and its criticism by Confessor of the Faith Victor (Ostrovidov) and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev)

Khondzinskii Pavel (2014) "The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation» by Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky) and its criticism by Confessor of the Faith Victor (Ostrovidov) and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2014, vol. 57, pp. 98-113 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201457.98-113


«The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation», a well-known work by Archimandrite Sergius (Stragorodsky) that was defended by him as a master’s thesis at the Moscow Theological Academy in 1895, is still considered an etalon in Orthodox theology. Meanwhile, in the first half of the 20th century, it was heavily criticized by at least two prominent members of the Church hierarchy of that time: Confessor of the Faith Victor (Ostrovidov) and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev). This article does not only examine their arguments, but also provides the researcher’s personal understanding of the main theses of the work by Archimandrite Sergius. The researcher’s work in this case is complicated by a large number of patristic texts, which are given by Archimandrite Sergius and the abundance of which hampers the identification of his own original ideas. Nevertheless, the carried out analysis reveals that the dissertation doesn’t contain not only patristic, but any kind of a clear doctrine of the Fall, or of man’s state after the Fall, or of redemption, or of man’s assimilation of redemption fruits. Besides, the theses illustrated in the dissertation by the texts of the Holy Fathers belong not so much to them as to the first Slavophiles, Archimandrite Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the teacher and the senior friend of Archimandrite Sergius, and finally to Immanuel Kant. Consequently, in his doctrine of freedom anticipating grace, Archimandrite Sergius comes dangerously close to Pelagianism. These findings recognize the truth of complaints against the work of Archimandrite Sergius by Confessor of the Faith Viktor (Ostrovidov) and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev).


Sergius (Stragorodsky), Victor (Ostrovidov), Seraphim (Sobolev), Orthodox doctrine of salvation, new theology, pure love, patristic literature, Pelagianism, Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), redemption.


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Khondzinskii Pavel, archpriest