Kosik Olga

Guidance for spiritual mentors. Polemical letters of A. F. Losev in context of discussion about the attitude to july Declaration of metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky)

Kosik Olga (2018) "Guidance for spiritual mentors. Polemical letters of A. F. Losev in context of discussion about the attitude to july Declaration of metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia II : Istoriia. Istoriia Russkoy Pravoslavnoy Tserkvi, 2018, vol. 81, pp. 121-138 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturII201881.121-138


The documents published here were created in the period and in the context of church controversy that took place after the release of the July Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky). They date back from the beginning of 1928. The author of the publication puts forward the hypothesis that the two letters belong to the famous philosopher and church fi gure A. F. Losev but were written under the infl uence of the leader of the church opposition Mikhail Alexandrovich Novoselov. Both philosophers were arrested following the case of the “True Orthodox Church”, M. N. Novoselov in 1929, A. F. Losev in 1930. The publication contains two letters to the clergy by A. F. Losev. One of them, the “Letter to the Defender of the Russian Church”, as suggested by the publisher, is addressed to the Athonite elder-Imiaslavets (Russ. имяславец, literally ‘name-praiser’) archimandrite David (Mukhranov). The other, entitled “NN’s Letter to the Elder”, is addressed to the monk of closed-down Zosima’s Hermitage (Зосимова пустынь) Dosifei (Shonin). The letters give reasons for the open severance from Metropolitan Sergius and condemns the compromising or cautious approach to the problem of severance. Looking like a personal document, the letters are designed for a broad audience and bear the function of convincing and attracting adherents of a certain opinion. The letters illustrate a complicated approach to the problem of obeying spiritual authorities, i.e. spiritual fathers and church authorities. Besides, the documents are interesting as a source of information on the church situation in the late 1920s and as a refl ection of complicated spiritual and personal relations arising in this situation. The letters have been discovered in the State Archive of the Russian Federation and in the Central Archive of the Federal Security Service.


Russian Orthodox Church, July Declaration of Metropolitan Sergius (Stragorodsky), M. A. Novoselov, A. F. Losev, hieromonk Dosifei (Shonin), archimandrite David (Mukhranov), handwritten polemic literature, church opposition of the late 1920s and early 1930s, persecution of church, case of “True Orthodox Church”


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  3. Mazyrin A., “K voprosu o polnomochiyah Zamestitelya Patriarshego Mestoblyustitelya. Vzglyad istorika cerkovnoj svyatosti svyashchennika Sergiya Mansurova”, in: Materialy XV Ezhegodnoj Bogoslovskoj konferencii PSTGU, Moscow, 2005, 272–280.

Information about the author

Kosik Olga

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in Philology;
Place of work: St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University for the Humanities; 6/1 Likhov Pereulok, Moscow 127051, Russian Federation;
Post: Senior Research Fellow;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3968-1483;
Email: olga_kosik@mail.ru.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.