MY original intention in undertaking to write a book upon the relations of the Russian and English Churches during the last fifty years was to give English readers the opportunity of forming some idea of the opinions concerning the English Church that I have come across during seven journeys in Russia, undertaken with the object of studying the ecclesiastical affairs of that interesting country. English Churchmen, although they have long taken an interest in the fortunes of the Eastern Church, and have always regarded her as an integral part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, have had, as a rule, very few opportunities of acquainting themselves at first hand with the Russian Church, which in numbers constitutes four-fifths, and in learning represents at least nine-tenths, of the whole Eastern Orthodox Communion. If they know anything about her at all, their knowledge is derived from books, and these for the most part written by men who, however much they may sympathise with her, have had little practical experience of her methods of thought and action upon her native soil. Our chaplains at St. Petersburgh and Cronstadt, more than one of whom have conferred a lasting benefit upon Anglican readers by their excellent translations of Orthodox service-books, histories, and dogmatic writings, have nevertheless little time or opportunity for travelling about Russia, and acquainting themselves with the actual working of the Russian Church, which is certainly not seen to its greatest advantage in the cosmopolitan surroundings of the modern capital. Even Dr. Neale himself, who perhaps did more than any other writer, since the beginning of the great Anglican revival of the present century, to acquaint English Churchmen with the history, doctrines, and services of the Orthodox Church, never himself went to Russia; indeed, his whole personal experience of the Eastern Church was confined to a visit of a few days to the capital of the little principality of Montenegro. As a rule, English Churchmen have little idea either of what the Orthodox Church really is, or of the view that her theologians take of the English or of any other Western Communion. They are possessed with the notion that she lives in a state of semi-petrified stagnation, and that she cares little or nothing for what goes on outside of her own limits. They are hardly at all aware of the intelligent interest which is taken by Russian ecclesiastics and theologians in the religious phenomena of the West at the present day, still less have they any notion of the immense amount that has been written about the English Church herself, and the movements which have taken place within her during the present century. It was in order to give Englishmen some conception of what Russian Churchmen during the past half-century have thought and written about the English Church, and by the same means to throw some light upon the tendencies and principles of modern Russian theology, that I set out upon my task. Two limits in point of time naturally suggested themselves to me. The first was to begin where Dr. Newman's volume containing the account of Mr. Palmer's visit to the Russian Church ended, namely, in the year 1842: this constituted an obvious point of departure. The second was, the cordial reception afforded to the Archbishop of Canterbury's letter at the Festival of the ninth centenary of the first Conversion of the Russian Grand Duke Vladimir and his people, celebrated at Kieff in 1888. This, and the Metropolitan Plato's warm-hearted reply, expressing for the first time an explicit desire for the Reunion of the two Churches, seemed to suggest the closing of the old era of estrangement and misunderstandings, and at least provided a suitable termination to a book of the kind that I was contemplating.
I naturally first of all turned my attention to the letters of Mr. Khomiakoff to Mr. W. Palmer of Magdalen, published in a Russian translation in the second volume of his works. I had already begun to translate some of these back into English, when in the summer of 1893, while staying with some Russian friends in the neighbourhood of Moscow, I was informed that Mr. Khomiakoff's original letters in English had been returned by Mr. Palmer to his relations after his death, and were now preserved in the library of the Historical Museum at Moscow. With the assistance of my friends I obtained leave to copy them, and a few weeks later, in St. Petersburgh, came by chance upon a copy of Mr. Palmer's collection of hymns, in which one of his answers is contained in the shape of a letter dedicatory. [See chapter iii. of the present volume.] In the hopes of retrieving the rest of Mr. Palmer's answers, I obtained an introduction to Mr. Khomiakoff's son, Mr. Dmitri Khomiakoff; but although he was able to give me much valuable information concerning Mr. Palmer's relations with his father, and even remembered accompanying him on his visit to Oxford in his early childhood, no trace of the letters was to be found. In the course of the following year, however, three of them were discovered in an old writing-desk by Miss Khomiakoff, who now lives in Mr. Khomiakoff's former house in Moscow, and in the spring of the present year two more were found. These, together with other material which I collected, seemed sufficient for a volume in itself; while the outbreak of the Crimean War, which was the beginning of a new epoch, both in the relations between Russia and England, and in the internal history of Russia herself, seemed to suggest a natural point of division. I therefore decided to divide my subject into two volumes, and to devote the first entirely to the correspondence and relations between Mr. Palmer and Mr. Khomiakoff. The latter's name is not altogether unknown in England; his essays in the French language upon the Latin Church and Protestantism, which were published early in the sixties, are to be found on many of our theologians' bookshelves; but few Englishmen have any notion of the influence which his writings have had of late years in the Russian Church, and it seemed therefore all the more desirable that this volume should be confined to its present limits, in order that as much emphasis as possible should be laid upon his work, and the changes which his writings, and those of the Slavophile school to which he belonged, and of which he was to a great extent the pioneer, have brought about in the modern school of Russian Orthodox theology. I intend therefore to devote the greater part of this Introduction to a description of Mr. Khomiakoff himself, and to give special prominence to his views concerning England, and his influence upon Russian theology. Mr. Palmer's personality is already too well known in England from Cardinal Newman's description of him in his Introduction to his Notes of a Visit to the Russian Church, and from Sir William Palmer's Narrative of Events, to require any notice here.
Alexis Stepanovich Khomiakoff was born on May 1st, 1804 Both on his father's and on his mother's side he was of the purest Russian descent. The ancient, noble family to which he belonged could boast of never having intermarried with foreigners, not even in the cosmopolitan days of the eighteenth century, when the conquests of the western provinces of Russia brought so much German, Swedish, and Polish blood into the ranks of the Russian nobility. His father traced his ancestry back through many generations of Russian history, and in their home were preserved numerous family relics and documents from the times of the Empress Elizabeth, her father Peter the Great, and his father, the Tzar Alexis Michaelovich. At the court of the latter his ancestor, Peter Semenovich Khomiakoff held the post of Grand Falconer, and appears, from the letters preserved in the family archives, which the Tzar wrote to him, to have enjoyed that monarch's special favour. But it was not only memories of the past which contributed to the patriotism and deep religious feeling which formed the main features of Khomiakoff's life and work. The good old traditions of Russia were to him something more than a mere abstraction: all their best characteristics, a sober and perfectly sincere faith, an unostentatious and yet strict and ungrudging attention to the duties of religion, a sympathy for the Russian people and peasantry entirely unartificial and free from cant, and last, but not least, that sound common sense and healthy way of looking at things which Khomiakoff himself used to say (and I am quite inclined to agree with him), are to be seen nowhere to such advantage as in Russian and English families brought up in the true traditions of their country, were all to be found at their very best in the home in which he was brought up. [And not in those of other countries or civilisations, as, unfortunately for their country, has been the case with too many Russian families during the last two centuries.] His father owned two estates in the country, one at Lipetzy, in the Government of Smolensk, in the west of Russia, and the other at Bogocharovo, in the Government of Tula, to the south of Moscow, and in one or other of these they used to pass their summer. But the greater part of the year they lived in Moscow, and it was the ancient capital, 'the heart of Russia,' which of all places was ever nearest and dearest to Khomiakoff's heart. Moreover, the years of his childhood were among the most remarkable and stirring years of Russian history: and it is easy to realise what the effect upon his youthful imagination of the overthrow of Napoleon must have been. Indeed, 'the Deliverance of the Church and State of Russia from the attack of the Gauls, and of the twenty nations which accompanied them'--for this is how that event is described in the Church service-books--was in itself the commencement of the emancipation of Russia from the yoke of those foreign influences, which had so long hindered her true national development, and was the signal for the beginning of that great movement in favour of the intellectual independence and self-consciousness of the Russian nation, in which Khomiakoff was afterwards destined to take so prominent a part, and which has made Russia, both in Church and State, the great and influential power that she is at the present day.
Both his parents, and more especially his mother, were highly gifted and cultivated, and he received an excellent education at home, thoroughly mastering, amongst other things, the French, German, and English languages, as well as Latin, which he read with perfect ease. The latter language was taught him by the Abbé Boivin, a French priest who lived in their family: and it seems that even at this age he used occasionally to try his hand in those polemical discussions for which he afterwards became so famous; for there is an amusing story of how one day he discovered, in a book that he was reading, a solecism in the Latin of a Papal Bull, and immediately put the question to the good Abbé as to how after this he could ever again believe the Holy Father to be infallible! It is needless to say that the Abbé had little difficulty in escaping from the dilemma, but the episode is interesting as suggesting the possibility that the very fact of a man who belonged to a different religion from the rest of the household living in close intercourse with them for so many years, may have had something to do with inculcating in him a taste for the study of the various religious confessions of Christendom, and for the investigation of the principles which underlie their differences.
When he was eleven years of age the whole family moved to St. Petersburgh, where they spent two years. Two characteristic stories arc told about him in respect to this event. It was the year 1815. All the world was talking about Napoleon's escape from Elba, and war was in the air; and accordingly Alexis and his elder brother, Theodore, during the whole journey to St. Petersburgh, talked of nothing else but of how they would go and fight Napoleon, until at last they came almost to believe that this was the object of their journey. On arriving at St. Petersburgh, however, they heard to their disappointment of the battle of Waterloo, and realised that their services would therefore not be required. 'Who is there now for us to go and fight with?' said the elder brother. 'I shall go and raise a revolt amongst the Slavonians,' answered the future leader of the Slavophile movement. Where he got this idea from at the age of eleven he himself never could make out, unless it was from the pictures of the Servian leader, George the Black, which he remembered seeing posted up on the walls of the post-stations between Moscow and St. Petersburgh, and which may have suggested the first feelings of sympathy and enthusiasm for the Slavonic nations under Turkish and Austrian rule. But it probably, in reality, came from his home surroundings, as undoubtedly did the second point which is related concerning this journey, namely, the aversion with which the first sight of St. Petersburgh inspired him. On their arrival in the modern capital, with its wide streets and foreign, or rather cosmopolitan, appearance, so utterly unlike their beloved Moscow with her golden-domed Kremlin, her churches and monasteries, and everything which appeals most to the patriotism and faith of the Russian nation, it was quite impossible to get out of the boy's head that they had found their way into some heathen city, the inhabitants of which were certain to try sooner or later to force them to change their religion: and both boys made a firm resolve together that, rather than accept the religion of the foreigners, they would undergo every kind of torture, and even martyrdom itself.
After remaining two years in St. Petersburgh, the family returned to Moscow, where they remained for three years, until Khomiakoff had to return to St. Petersburgh in order to serve his time in a regiment of Horse Guards. During this period at Moscow he made great progress in his studies, and to the year 1818 or 1819 belongs his first printed work, namely, a translation of Tacitus's Germania, a selection which, in view of his future historical studies, was certainly very significant. In 1825 he made his first journey abroad, spending some time in Paris, and returning to Russia through Austria, and thus making his first personal acquaintance with the Western Slavonic nationalities, whose cause afterwards interested him so much. Soon after this, the war of 1828, which the Emperor Nicholas undertook on behalf of the Orthodox populations in Turkey, broke out, and Khomiakoff immediately entered a regiment of White Russian Hussars, and served with distinction in Bulgaria throughout the campaign. In 1829 he returned straight from Adrianople to Moscow, and on the conclusion of peace resigned his commission and retired from the army. After this, with the exception of his journey to England, of which some account is given in Chapter vii. of this book, he never left Russia, but passed nearly the whole of his life either at Moscow or on one or other of his two country estates. His elder brother died in 1828 and his father in 1836, so that he inherited both, as well as his father's two houses in Moscow.
It is impossible to describe, in the short space afforded in an Introduction of this sort, the full scope and extent of Khomiakoff's many-sided activity. His literary labours, although they for the most part took the form of pamphlets or contributions to periodicals, are quite astonishing, now that we can sec them collected together in the complete edition of his works, not only for their number and their originality, but also for the number of subjects upon which they treat. Philosophy, philology, history, law, art, and poetry, are all represented. Nor was his activity confined to purely literary or speculative pursuits. At the same time that he was elaborating new theories upon the origin of the Edda or the Buddhistic cosmogony, he was writing projects for the emancipation of the serfs in Russia, preparing schemes for the establishment of savings-banks in the country districts, and generally interesting himself in the movements and requirements of his surroundings. A friend of his thus describes him:--
'At the very time when most busy with his literary work, he would be engaged over the invention of some machine or other which he was going to have patented in England, and exhibit in the London International Exhibition, or inventing a new sort of gun, or devising new methods for distilling brandy or refining sugar, or doctoring all the illnesses in the neighbourhood. Next day he would be out with his harriers on his country estate--for there was no better judge of horse or hound in the country than he--or winning the first prize in some shooting-match; and then in the evening he would come home and convulse us all with laughing over his stories, perhaps about some mad Bishop that had been caught in the forests of Kostroma, or else about the zeal of some petty official in the government of Perm for the spread of Christianity, who, when he was recommended for the Order of St. Vladimir in reward for his services, turned out after all to be a Mohammedan, and so was not allowed to receive it! Very few moments after Khomiakoff came into the room, every one in it was sure to be in peals of laughter, frowns would disappear from even the most morose and gloomy faces, all troubles would be forgotten, and then a discussion would begin, which, whether it were upon the most important or the most trifling subject in the world, was certain to be a lively one. For in discussion Khomiakoff was in his true element, and the more lively and exciting the argument became, the more his creative powers were aroused, and to follow him on one of these occasions when he was, so to speak, on his mettle, was a real psychological treat.
'In his arguments, as in his ordinary conversation and his writings, there was much that was paradoxical; his propositions were sometimes inaccurate, and even his conclusions, perhaps, contradictory, but his sallies were so original, so unexpected and fresh in their character, and were delivered with such kindliness, good-nature, and skill, that they always were suggestive and pleasant to listen to. He would often end his sentences with a simple merry laugh, accompanied by an inquiring pause, more especially after some clever retort or happy simile, or when he had detected a fault in his opponent's quotations. Sometimes for a moment he would exasperate you, so that you were ready to abuse him with all your might; but the next moment you would be laughing even more heartily than he himself at your own discomfiture.' [Mr. M. Pogodin: speech before the Russian Literary Society at Moscow, Nov. 6, 1860.]
As far as his machine at the London Exhibition, which is mentioned more than once in the course of the correspondence with Mr. Palmer, was concerned, I cannot resist relating an amusing incident to which it gave rise. He had christened it 'the Silent Motor,' expecting that it would work in complete silence. However, when, on its arrival in London, it was put together by his friends and set in motion on trial before being sent to the Exhibition, it made such an appalling noise that the inhabitants of the neighbouring lodging-houses sent to know the reason for the unwonted and horrible sounds, and threatened legal proceedings if they did not cease. Khomiakoff, when he heard of these unexpected pranks on the part of his 'Silent Motor,' ordered it to be renamed 'the Moscow Motor.' It may easily be believed that he did not soon hear the end of this episode amongst his friends in Moscow!
Khomiakoff had from his earliest days the greatest regard and admiration for England. He was thoroughly well acquainted with our history and our literature, his works are full of references to them, while his friends tell me that he used to recite whole pages of Shakespeare and Byron by heart. A letter which he wrote to a Moscow journal when he came to England in 1847, giving his impressions of the country, is one long panegyric of almost all our customs and peculiarities. Foreigners might think little of us, but this was because, next to Russia, no country was so little known in Europe as England. And the reason of this was that Englishmen did not care to describe themselves, and as for other nations, they tried to imitate us, and imitators are the worst hands at describing that which they endeavour to copy. Englishmen were said to be inhospitable to foreigners, but this he had found by experience to be anything but true. It was merely that Englishmen did not go out of their way to court foreigners, and this for the reason that they could do without them, whereas some nations, not content with the traditions of their own country, ran after foreigners in order to learn from them, while the German liked foreigners because they came to him as pupils, and the Frenchman because they allowed him to show off before them. Foreigners might call the English stiff and ceremonious, and might laugh at their black coats and white shirt-fronts, but while it was true that those hideous appendages of modern civilisation were worn more in England than elsewhere, this was only because Englishmen like cleanliness and tidiness, and everything that witnesses to these qualities. If they were disinclined to talk on the railway, and were sometimes brusque in their manners to strangers, they were more ready than any other nation to help a foreigner if he was really in need of assistance, as he himself had once experienced in Switzerland, when he had run short of money, and an Englishman, whom he had only known for two days, had lent him enough to get back to Russia without any security except his note of hand. If Englishmen were less ceremonious than other nations, it was only because they were more natural. Where was such simplicity of life to be seen as in the London parks, where people rode, not for the sake of showing off, but for their own amusement, and whole families of grown-up people might be seen enjoying themselves as naturally as children? Compare, again, the simple but energetic and incisive oratory of an English member of Parliament with the stilted, artificial phraseology of the French deputy. Where else were men so practical, and where did they go so straight to the mark? You had a gathering of two or three hundred gentlemen lounging in their everlasting black coats in a large room, and some one or other amongst them just standing up in his place and saying what lie had to say, and then sitting down again. And this was the English Parliament, the greatest motive power of modern history. It was in this strain that Khomiakoff described these and many more of our national idiosyncracies. And when he came to our more serious characteristics he was just as generous in his estimate of us. Foreigners might say that we were a nation of shopkeepers, and care about nothing but amassing wealth, but England did more for the spread of Christianity, and spent more of her wealth upon religion and philanthropy, than any other country in Europe. England had taken the lead in abolishing the slave trade, and had so earned the gratitude of the whole human race. He unreservedly maintained that she came nearest to Russia of all countries in her respect for religion, and no Englishman will deny that in this respect he did her full justice. His description of an English Sunday I have given in Chapter vii. Even the ranters in the Park on Sunday and the crowds that listened to them were to him an evidence of the deep religious feeling of the country, however contrary to Russian ideas their methods and doctrines might be.
He took a deep interest in the English party politics of that time, which it must be remembered was the period immediately following upon the first Reform Bill of 1832. He looked upon the Tory party as representing the true traditions of the country, tracing it from the time of the Reformation as being the national party in Church and State, whereas the Whigs he regarded as lineal descendants, through the Puritans, of the foreign Protestant elements then introduced. While recognising that the English party system was an integral part of the nation's life--indeed, he said that if he had to answer the question, 'What is England?' in a single sentence, he should say: 'The land in which Tories fight with Whigs'--he was very far from taking the view which was usually accepted on the Continent at that time that Toryism represented nothing but reaction and class privilege, while Whiggism included all that is covered by the words 'freedom' and 'progress.' On the contrary, he maintained that 'to the intelligent observer, and certainly to any impartial Russian, the paralysing aridity of Whiggism when it is engaged in destroying the past, and its sterility, and, so to speak, lifeless lack of feeling when it attempts to construct, are only too evident.' Although perhaps we may here trace the influence of his Oxford friends and of conversations held upon 'green lawns' and under 'deep shades' in a certain English university, there is no doubt that such a view corresponded exactly with the principles and theories of the national or Slavophile school of thought then arising in Russia, of which Khomiakoff was one of the first and foremost leaders. His poem, 'The Island,' written ten years before his visit to England or Oxford, [A translation of this poem, and another upon Russia, which was made by Mr. Palmer, was kindly copied out and sent to me by the late Lord Selborne, and is to be found in an appendix at the end of this volume. It was written in or about the year 1836, and was not improbably suggested by the events which led to Keble's famous sermon upon National Apostasy and to the Tractarian movement, and shows the interest which Khomiakoff took in England even at this early period of his life.] shows that he had already made up his mind in this respect, while in this letter he applies the Slavophile theory to English religious and political history in the following words:--
'Every community is of necessity in constant motion. This motion may be rapid enough to strike the eye even of an unexperienced observer; it may be so slow as almost to escape the most attentive and intelligent observation. But in any case complete stagnation is impossible; whether it be progress or decline, motion of some sort there must be. This is an universal law. Sound and progressive motion of a community of rational beings is constructed out of two powers or forces, differing indeed in their nature and origin, but capable of harmony and agreement. One of these is fundamental and rooted, belonging to the whole structure, the whole past history of the community; it is the power of life developing itself, of its own accord, from its own beginnings, from its own organic principles; the other, which is the reasoning power of individuals, being grounded upon the power of the community, and only deriving life from its life, is a power which of itself can neither construct nor attempt to construct anything, but being constantly at hand it watches the work of common development, and prevents it from passing over into the blindness of a lifeless instinct, or from surrendering itself to irrational one-sidedness. Both of these powers are necessary, but the second, which is that of the intelligence or intellect, ought to be bound by a living and loving faith to the former, which is the real power of life and creativeness. If the bond of faith and love between the two be broken, dissension and strife make their way in. England once was a Christian state in the fullest sense of the word, but the one-sidedness of Western Catholicism, after fully establishing its supremacy, necessitated and gave rise to Protestantism. The latter, which was born in Germany, passed over from there to England, and was received by her; but England in receiving Protestantism did not recognise its true character. The memories of a Church which once had been free, and of even recent struggles to preserve the remains of this freedom, deceived the English: they assured themselves that they had preserved their religion unchanged, whereas it was clear that they had changed or reformed it, and had abandoned or rejected that which, through the course of long ages, they had regarded as sacred and true; they believed in their own Catholicism even after they had become Protestants. Such is Anglicanism.1 The other sects saw more clearly what they were about, and took a deeper plunge, and developed the freedom of Protestant scepticism with stricter logic. It was inevitable that the religious movement should soon convert itself into a movement of the whole community. The two intellectual forces of the nation were broken asunder, and entered into conflict with one another. The one, organic, living, historical, but weakened by the decline of village community life and by the scepticism of Protestantism, which it had unconsciously admitted, constituted Toryism. The other, individualistic and analytical, not believing in its past, prepared for long previously by the same decline of village community life, and reinforced by the whole of the disintegrating force of Protestantism, constituted Whiggism.
'... In reality every Englishman is a Tory at heart. There may be differences in the strength of convictions, in tendency of mind; but the inner feeling is the same in all. Exceptions are rare, and are as a rule found only in people who either are altogether carried away by some system of thought or beaten down with poverty or corrupted by the life of the large towns. The history of England is not a mere thing of the past to the Englishman; it lives in all his life, in all his customs, in almost all the details of his existence. And this historical element is Toryism. The Englishman loves to see the beafeaters guarding the Tower in their strange mediaeval costume ... he likes the boys in Christ's Hospital still to wear the blue coats which they wore in the time of Edward VI. He walks through the long aisles of Westminster Abbey, not with the conceited vanity of the Frenchman, nor with the antiquarian delectation of the German, but with a deep, sincere, and ennobling affection. These graves belong to his family, and a great family it is; and I am not speaking now merely of the peer or the professor, but about mechanics and cab-drivers; for there is just as much Toryism in the common people as there is in the upper ranks of society. True, this merchant or that artisan will give his vote to the Whigs, if he be convinced that either the public good or his private material interests require it of him; but in his heart he loves the Tories. He will vote perhaps for Russell or Cobden, but all his sympathies are with Wellington and Bentinck. Whiggism may be his daily bread; but Toryism is all his joy in life . . . his sports and games, his Christmas decorations and festivities, the calm and sacred peace of his family circle, all the poetry, all the sweetness of his daily existence. In England every old oak with its spreading branches is a Tory, and so is every ancient church-spire which shoots up into the sky. Under this oak many have enjoyed themselves, and in that ancient church many generations have prayed.'
Such were Mr. Khomiakoff's views about England. I have given them at great length in order that English Churchmen may see that, however unfavourable his views concerning Anglicanism, expressed both in the extract already quoted and in the letters which follow, may seem to be, they certainly were not inspired either by prejudice or by national antipathy. Some of his criticisms will be admitted by all candid Anglicans to have had their justification, others are the inevitable result of the attitude which Eastern theologians are almost logically obliged to assume towards all the Western confessions, whether Roman, Protestant, or Anglican. All will at least admit that the tone in which he conducted his case against the English Church was as free from bitterness and offence as it was, under the circumstances, possible to make it.
I have lately elsewhere given some account of the Slavophile movement in Russia, and do not therefore propose to describe it here at any length. [The Prospect of Reunion with Eastern Christendom, in special relation to the Russian Orthodox Church.--London: English Church Union Office, 1894.] It was a great national movement, in many ways closely resembling the movements which in Italy and Germany has led during the present century to the re-establishment of national unity, and which in other countries have exercised so much influence upon literature and art. It was also a religious movement, a great revival of religious self-consciousness in many respects analogous to our Tractarian movement, and to the other religious revivals for which the nineteenth century has been so conspicuous. But it differed from these movements in other countries in that it represented the national and religious movements in combination: and that this was possible is entirely due to the fact that in Russia the relations between Church and State which existed in the first centuries after the conversion of the Roman Empire are still preserved intact, so far as the actual constitution of Church or State is concerned. In Italy the national movement has been carried forward in the teeth of the opposition of the Church, in Germany the Protestant Church of Prussia, being a mere department of the State, has had little influence either one way or the other with regard to the question of German unification. In Russia, on the contrary, the national and religious movements have gone hand in hand together, and have overcome all obstacles. What these obstacles were may be easily seen from the correspondence contained in this book: but it only requires acquaintance with the Russia of the present day to see how almost completely they have now disappeared.
The great work of Khomiakoff 's life was undoubtedly the definite direction which he gave to the Slavophile movement in Russia in its relation to the Orthodox Church. It is not an exaggeration to say that his theological writings have given a logical form to the idea of the Church which, although it has never received the sanction of an Oecumenical Council, nor even of a general Council of the Eastern Churches, nevertheless undoubtedly underlies the teaching of the Orthodox Church wherever she is met with. This is obviously a matter upon which a member of the Eastern Church can speak with more ease and accuracy than one who belongs to a branch of the Western Church, and I think, therefore, that in order to enable English readers to appreciate the services which Khomiakoff rendered to the Russian Church, and to understand the nature of the change which he was the means of introducing into her current theology, I cannot do better than translate a description of it written by his friend and disciple, Mr. George Samarin, in his introduction to the second volume of Mr. Khomiakoff s works, in which his principal theological writings are contained:--
'According to our ordinary conceptions, the Church is an institution--an institution, it is true, of a special kind, and indeed unique, inasmuch as it is divine--but all the same an institution. This conception has the fault which characterizes almost all our current definitions and notions concerning religious matters. Although it does not in itself contain any direct contradiction to the truth, it is quite inadequate; it brings the idea of the Church down into too low and commonplace a sphere, and in consequence of this the idea itself becomes commonplace, by reason of its close association with a group of phenomena, with which, whatever may be their outward resemblance, she has essentially nothing whatsoever in common. An institution--we know what that word means; and to conceive of the Church as an institution, according to the analogy of other institutions, is easy enough--indeed, rather too easy. There is a volume which we call "the Criminal Code;" there is also a volume which we call "Holy Scripture"; the law has its doctrine and also its forms; the Church has her traditions and her rites; there is also a criminal court, where the criminal code is administered, and which has to bring it to life, to apply it, to administer it, etc.; and thus the Church appears to some of us to be something analogous, inasmuch as she, guided by the Scriptures, proclaims her doctrine, applies it, settles doubtful points, judges and decides. In the one case we have conditional truth, namely, the law, and along with it the legal body, the officials of the law, charged with its administration; in the other we have absolute truth--and here, of course, there is a difference--but, after all, a form of truth which, like the other, is contained either in a book or in a form of words, and she also has her officials and administrators, that is to say, the clergy.
'Now it is certainly true that the Church has a doctrine of her own, and that it constitutes one of her indefeasible manifestations; it is also true that, looking at her from another--that is to say, from the historical point of view--it is as an institution of her own particular kind that she comes into contact with other institutions. Nevertheless, the Church is not a doctrine, nor a system, nor an institution. She is a living organism, the organism of truth and love, or rather, she is truth and love, as an organism.
'From this definition, her attitude towards error of all kind follows as a natural consequence. Her bearing towards error is just that of every organism towards whatever is hostile to, and incompatible with, its own nature. She separates error off from herself, rejects it, and casts it away, and by the very act of drawing a line between herself and error she defines herself, that is to say, the truth; but she does not herself condescend to argue with error, neither does she refute, explain, or define it. Controversy, and the refutation, explanation, and definition of errors are the business, not of the Church herself, but of her theologians. It is the task of ecclesiastical science, or in other words, of theology.
'The heresies of the East gave occasion to an Orthodox school of theology, in order to work the Church's teaching concerning the essence of God, the Trinity and the God-Man, into a harmonious [system of] doctrine; and the cycle of this magnificent development of human thought enlightened by grace from on high was completed before Rome fell away from the Church. Shortly after this the historical destinies of the East underwent a change; her learning and enlightenment were no longer what they had previously been, and, accordingly, the intellectual productiveness of the Orthodox school of theologians necessarily underwent impoverishment. Meanwhile the stream of rationalism, which the Roman schism had admitted into the Church, gave birth to new theological questions in the West, of which the Orthodox East had no cognizance, and as this stream continued its course further, it became divided into two channels, and at length gave birth to two opposite systems of doctrine--Latinism and Protestantism.
'All these new formations arose out of local and exclusively Romano-German elements: Catholic tradition played in them the part of a passive material which was gradually transformed, mutilated, and adjusted to the notions and requirements of these nations; the whole of this intellectual movement, from Nicholas I. down to the Council of Trent, and from Luther and Calvin down to Schleiermacher and Neander, went on entirely outside the Church, and she took no part whatever in it. Nor could it possibly have been otherwise. The Church remained what she had been before; the lamp which had been intrusted to her had not ceased to burn, nor was its light obscured. But the attacks upon her from the West, the formidable efforts of Western propaganda, its attempts, first to refute the Catholic tradition which the Eastern Church held and still holds, and next to make friends and enter into a bargain with her, necessitated the entry of an Orthodox school of theologians into the contest, drew them into controversy, and obliged them to take up some position or other in relation to Latinism and Protestantism.
'And what was it that our school of theologians did? Its action may be described in one word, it parried; [the imperfect tense of the reflexive form of the verb, to parry, or to ward off.] in other words, it took up a position which was essentially defensive, and which consequently subordinated its form and manner of action to those of its adversaries. It took into consideration the questions which Latinism and Protestantism proposed to it, and took them in the same form as that into which Western controversy had shaped them, without even suspecting that error was to be found not only in the conclusions, but also in the very manner in which these questions were stated--indeed, perhaps even more in this than in the conclusions themselves. Accordingly, involuntarily and unconsciously, and without foreseeing the consequences, our school moved off from the terra firma of the Church and passed over on to that land of quagmires, pitfalls, and mines, whither the Western theologians had long been endeavouring to entice it. On advancing thither it was subjected to a cross fire, and was forced, almost of necessity, in order to defend itself against the attacks directed upon it from two opposite sides, to seize upon the weapon which had long before been prepared and adjusted to the work by the Western confessions in their own internecine, domestic conflicts. The inevitable result of course was that, as step by step they entangled themselves more and more in Latino-Protestant antinomies, the Orthodox theologians themselves ended by becoming divided into two sections. They formed themselves into two schools, the one exclusively anti-Latin, the other exclusively anti-Protestant; an Orthodox school in the strict sense of the word ceased to exist. It is, of course, hardly necessary to say that they were unsuccessful in the conflict. A good deal of zeal, learning, and perseverance was no doubt displayed, and not a few individual successes were achieved, more particularly in exposing instances of Latin frauds, concealments, and trickery of all sorts. As far also as the final results were concerned, it is hardly necessary to say that Orthodoxy was not shaken; but for this no thanks are due to our theologians, and indeed we cannot but admit that the contest was conducted by them upon anything but the right lines.
'The mistake which they made at the very outset, in allowing themselves to be led over on to alien soil, entailed three inevitable consequences. In the first place, the anti-Latin school admitted into itself a Protestant, and the anti-Protestant school a Latin leaven; secondly, and as the result of this, each success of either of these schools in its conflict with its rival always resulted in injuring the other, and provided for the common enemy with which both had to deal a fresh weapon against themselves; and thirdly, and most important of all, the rationalism of the West filtered through into Orthodox theology, and crystallised itself there in the form of a scientific setting to the dogmas of the faith--in the shape of proofs, explanations, and deductions. For such of our readers as are unacquainted with the subject we will bring forward some examples of this in a shape which all can understand.
'"Which is the more important, and which serves as the ground to which: Scripture or Tradition?"
'This is how the question is put by Western theology. In this way of stating it Latins and Protestants are at one, and it is in this form that they submit it to our consideration. Our theologians, instead of rejecting it and pointing out the senselessness of opposing to one another two phenomena, each of which is devoid of meaning without the other, and which are both indivisibly intermingled in the living organism of the Church, accepts the question for investigation as it stands, and on this soil enters upon a disputation. Against some Martin Chemnitz or other an Orthodox theologian of the anti-Protestant school enters the lists and says: "It is from tradition that the Scriptures receive their definition, as revealed truth, as revelation; consequently it is from tradition that they receive their authority; moreover, in themselves the Scriptures are not complete, they are obscure and difficult to understand, they often give occasion to heresies, and therefore, taken by themselves, they are not only insufficient, but even dangerous." A Jesuit hears all this. He comes up to the Orthodox theologian, congratulates him on his victory over the Protestant, and whispers into his ear: "You are perfectly right, but you have not followed your argument up to its logical end; there yet remains for you one small step--take the Scriptures away from the laity altogether."
'But at the same time an Orthodox theologian of the anti-Papal type appears on the scene and says: "You are quite wrong! The Scriptures contain within themselves both inward and outward signs of their divine origin; Scripture is the norm of truth, the measure of all tradition, and not tradition the measure of Scripture; the Scriptures were given to all Christians in order that all might read them; they are complete, and require no supplementing, for whatever is not found within them in actual words may be abstracted from them by accurate logical reasoning; and lastly, in every matter necessary to salvation they are clear and perfectly intelligible to the understanding of every man who searches them in good faith." "Excellent!" says the Protestant; "just so; the Bible as the object, the individual intellect investigating it in good faith as the subject, and nothing more is wanted!"
'Another question: "By what is a man justified? By faith alone, or by faith with the addition to it of works of satisfaction?" This is how the question is stated in the Latino-Protestant world, and our Orthodox theologians reiterate it, not perceiving that the very raising of such a question indicates a confusion between faith and irresponsible learning, and between works in the sense of a manifestation of faith, and works in the sense of a manifestation which has passed over into the domain of tangible and visible facts. And so a fresh dispute commences.
'The Jesuit hurries up to the Orthodox theologian of the anti-Protestant school, and enters into a conversation with him, somewhat as follows: "Of course you abhor the sophistries of the Lutherans when they assert that works are not necessary, and that a man may be saved by faith alone?" "Yes, we abhor them." "That is to say, besides faith works are also necessary?" "Yes, certainly." "And therefore, if it is impossible to be saved without works, works have a justificative power?" "Yes, so they have." "But then, suppose the case of the man who, on account of his faith, has repented and received absolution, but has none the less died without having succeeded in accomplishing works of satisfaction; what about him? For such an one we have purgatory, but what have you?" "We," replies our anti-Protestant Orthodox theologian, after talking it over a little bit, "we have something of the same sort: sufferings." "Quite so; that is to say, the place exists; we only differ about what to call it. But that is not all: there is another question besides that of whether there is such a place and what we are to call it. Inasmuch as in purgatory men can no longer perform works of satisfaction, while at the same time these are just what those who have been sent there require, we advance them to them out of the Church's treasury of good works and merits which have been left over to us as a reserve fund by the Saints. But how is it with you?" The anti-Protestant Orthodox theologian begins to get confused, and answers in a low voice: "We have also the same sort of capital; that is to say, the merits of works of supererogation." "But how is it then," the Jesuit, catching him up, replies, "that you reject indulgences and their sale? For, after all, these are only acts of transference. We put our capital out to the exchangers, whereas you keep it hid under the earth. Is this right of you?"
'At the very same time, however, and at the other end of the theological arena, another disputation is being held. A learned Protestant pastor is putting questions to one of our Orthodox theologians of the anti-Latin school: "Of course you reject that nonsense of the Papists, which attributes to the works of men the significance of merits in the sight of God, and a justificative power?" "Of course we do." "And you know that men are saved by faith, and faith alone, without anything more in addition to it?" "Certainly." "Then be so good as to explain to me your reason for having all those penances of yours, and your so-called counsels of perfection, and your monasticism? What is the use of them all? And what value do you expect to receive for them? Moreover, I would ask you to prove to me, that it is necessary to have recourse to the intercession of the Saints. What do you want it for? Or is it that you have no confidence in the power of redemption, made one's own by personal faith?" The Orthodox theologian thoughtfully takes out his text-books, and searches them for the necessary proofs and answers, and finds none. His opponent soon realises this, and proceeds to press the matter home, and asks him: "To pray of course moans to ask God something in the hope of obtaining it?" "True." "And one can only pray, when one expects to obtain something in return for the prayer" "That also is true." "And there is no intermediate state between hell and heaven, between damnation and salvation--for of course purgatory is nothing but a fable, invented by the Papists, which it is hardly necessary to say that you do not accept?" "Oh! of course not." "Very well then: why do you waste your prayers and expend them all to no purpose by praying for the dead? One thing or the other: either you are Papists, or else you are behind the times: you have not yet got so far in your religious development as we Protestants."
'Finally, a Jesuit (belonging to the newest school) comes forward, and turning to the anti-Protestant Orthodox theologian begins to question him once more: "Surely you do not agree with those thrice accursed Protestants in thinking that an isolated individual with a book in his hands, but living outside the Church, is able to discover the truth and the way of salvation by himself!" "Of course not: we believe that there is no salvation outside the Church, which alone is holy and infallible." "Excellent! But if this be so, then the first object of every man's care must be not to forsake the Church, but to be at one with her in all things, both in faith and deed?" "Certainly." "But then, as you know, sophisms and flattery have often forced their way into the Church, and have led the faithful astray under the mask of ecclesiasticism." "Yes, we know that." "And this shows the necessity of a tangible outward sign by means of which every man may unmistakably distinguish the infallible Church?" "Yes, this is necessary," the Orthodox theologian replies, not seeing the trap into which he is being led. "This we have got,--namely, the Pope; but how about you?" "With us it is the full manifestation of the Church in her teaching, and the organ of her infallible faith is an Oecumenical Council." "Yes, and we also acknowledge the authority of an Oecumenical Council; but explain to me how an Oecumenical Council is to be distinguished from one that is not Oecumenical, or merely local? By what visible sign, I mean? Why not, for instance, acknowledge the Council of Florence as oecumenical? And do not tell me that you only admit that Council to be oecumenical in which the whole Church recognises her own voice, and her own faith,--that is to say, the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; for the very problem which we now have before us is to arrive at what and where the Church is." The anti-Protestant Orthodox theologian finds himself at a loss for an answer, and the Jesuit, as a final farewell, says to him: "There is a great deal of good in you, and you and we are both on the same road; but we have arrived at the end, whereas you have not got there yet. We both agree in acknowledging the necessity of an outward mark of the truth, or, in other words, a sign of what is and what is not the Church, but you are searching for one, and cannot find it, whereas we have got one--the Pope; that is the difference between us. You also are in essence Papists, only you do not follow the consequences of your own premises." [Znameni tserkovnosti. These words, which in the original are in italics, are particularly difficult to translate on account of there being no English equivalent for the word tserkovnost. 'Sign of churchness,' or 'churchity,' would exactly render it, if either of these words existed in English.]
'It was on lines such as this that for nearly two centuries the controversy of our two Orthodox schools of theology with the Western confessions dragged along. It was accompanied, as was to be expected, by constant controversy at home between the two schools themselves. As the most complete, exact, and able expression in writing of the line taken by each of them, one has only to mention Theophanes Procopovich's Latin Theology [on the anti-Latin side], and Stephen Javorski's Rock of the Faith [on the anti-Protestant side]; [Stephen Javorski, Metropolitan of Riazan, on the death (A.D. 1700) of the Patriarch Adrian of Moscow, was appointed "Guardian of the Patriarchal Throne," until the establishment of the Holy Synod in 1721. Theophanes Prokopovich, Archbishop of Pskoff, a favourite of Peter the Great, author of the Ecclesiastical Regulations set forth by the Holy Synod, of which he was the presiding member.] all that was published afterwards grouped itself round one or other of these thoroughly representative works, and represented nothing more than extracts from them, more or less feebly restated. Let it be remembered, we are now speaking of our theologians, not of the Church herself. The fortress indeed withstood the assault, and was not shaken by it: but the reason that it was not shaken was that this fortress was the Church of God, and therefore could not fail to maintain her ground; as far as the defence itself was concerned, it is impossible not to admit that it was thoroughly weak and insufficient. The spectators who watched the conflict from outside (and all our cultivated society, with very few exceptions, maintained the attitude of disinterested spectators towards it), judged of the justice of the cause according to the quality of its defence, and were left in perplexity; doubt seized upon many of them, while many more actually took the side of the enemy, some in mysticism, others in Popery, the greater number of course in the latter, inasmuch as there the satisfaction hoped for in taking the step was more cheaply gained. People who considered themselves entirely impartial, that is to say, who imagined, that in having left one shore and not having reached the other, they had, from the lofty height of their religious indifferentism, acquired an aptitude for passing judgment upon the Church, arrived at the notion that Orthodoxy was nothing more than an antiquated and indifferent medium out of which, according to the laws of progress as seen in the West, which was far in advance of us in enlightenment, two tendencies, the one Latin and the other Protestant, had to apportion themselves, and that these, as more fully developed forms of Christianity, were destined in time to divide Orthodoxy between them and eventually to swallow her up. Others there were which said that Latinism and Protestantism, inasmuch as they were contradictory poles mutually excluding one another, could not be the final expressions of the Christian idea, and that, earlier or later, they would have to come to terms and themselves disappear, certainly not in Orthodoxy, which was obsolete and played out, but in some new form of religion which would regard the universe from a higher standpoint. [Literally, 'In some new, higher form of religious world-contemplation.'] Popery, mysticism, and eclecticism--all three were very seriously preached in our midst, and each of them found followers, and met with hardly any resistance from the point of view of the Church. It is evident that our school of theology could not provide materials for a successful resistance. It continued to carry on its polemics on the treacherous soil already described without changing its position: in a word, it simply acted on the defensive. But to defend oneself is not the same thing as to repulse, still less is it the same thing as to gain the victory; in the domain of thought one can only regard as conquered that which has been finally understood and denned to be error. And our Orthodox school of theology was not in a position to define either Latinism or Protestantism, because that in departing from its own Orthodox standpoint, it had itself become divided into two, and that each of these halves had taken up a position opposed indeed to its opponent, Latin or Protestant, but not above him.
'It was Khomiakoff who first looked upon Latinism and Protestantism from the Church's point of view, and therefore from a higher standpoint: [literally, out of the Church, consequently from above] and this is the reason that he was also able to define them.
'We have already said that foreign theologians were perplexed by his brochures. They felt that there was something in them which they had never met with before in their controversies with Orthodoxy; something quite unexpected and new to them. Very likely they were sometimes unable clearly to realise of what this new element consisted; but we at any rate understand what it was. They had at last heard the voice of a theologian not of the anti-Latin, nor the anti-Protestant, but of the Orthodox school. And having met with Orthodoxy in the region of ecclesiastical science for the first time, they began in a confused sort of way to feel that hitherto their whole controversy with the Church had turned upon certain misunderstandings; that their everlasting litigation with her, which had seemed to them almost on the point of completion, was in fact only now beginning, and upon entirely new ground, and that the very position of the two sides had changed, inasmuch as they, Papists and Protestants, had become the accused instead of the accusers, they were called upon for an answer, and it was they that had to justify themselves. . . .
'Not less striking in its novelty was the system upon which Khomiakoff conducted his controversial undertakings. Up to his time our learned theological disputes had lost themselves in particularism. Each position of our opponents, and each of their deductions, were analysed and refuted separately.) We were engaged in detecting forged additions to texts or omissions, and in recovering the meaning of corrupted passages. We compared text with text, and witness with witness, and pelted one another with proofs from Scripture, tradition, and reason. When we succeeded in gaining our point the result was that the proposition of our adversaries was not proven, sometimes perhaps it was even shown to be contrary to Scripture and tradition, and therefore false and to be rejected, but nothing more. Of course this was sufficient in order to refute the error in the form in which it had presented itself: but this obviously was not all that was wanted. The questions, how, why, and from what inner motive causes it had sprung, and what exactly it was in these . that was false, and wherein lay the root of the error, remained still unanswered. These questions they never solved, and hardly even touched upon, and consequently it sometimes happened that after having shaken off an error expressed in one form (as a dogma or decision), we did not recognise it in another form; it sometimes even happened that in the very refutation itself we appropriated it, by transferring over into our own point of view the very motive causes which had given rise to it; its root remained all the same in the earth, and the fresh shoots which it threw out often cumbered our ground. Khomiakoff sets to work in a very different manner. Passing from manifestations to their original causes, he reproduces, if one may so express it, a physical genealogy of each error, and brings them back together to their common starting-point, in which the error, on being exposed to view, reveals itself in its inner inconsistency. This is nothing less than to tear error up by the roots.
'If we go further into Khomiakoff's theological writings, and pass from his system to their contents, we shall find another distinguishing characteristic. They have the appearance of being primarily of a controversial nature; but in reality polemics occupy in them a secondary place, or, to put it more exactly, of polemics in the strict sense of the word, that is to say, of refutations of a purely negative character, there is hardly a trace. It is impossible to take the negative side of his controversies--namely, his objections and refutations, apart from the positive side--that is to say, his explanation of the teaching of Orthodoxy; and this is so, because the one cannot be separated from the other, for they always form one indissoluble whole. There is not a single argument to be found in his works which he has borrowed from the Protestants to use against the Latins, nor has he taken a single argument from the Latin arsenal to use against the Protestants; not one of his arguments but which will be found to be double-edged, that is to say, which is not just as good against the Latins as against the Protestants, and this is because each of his demonstrations is in its essence not a negation, but an affirmative proposition, although it be pointed with a view to controversy. . . .
'When a man stands in a cloud or a fog, he is conscious only of the absence or want of light, but whence the fog came, or how far it extends, or where the sun is, he neither knows, sees, nor can say.
'On the contrary when the sky is clear, and the sun is shining brightly, every passing vapour shows itself off against the sky in all its outlines and limits, as a cloud, as an object the opposite of light.
'Khomiakoff cleared the region of light, the atmosphere of the Church, and consequently false doctrine as it passed across it appeared of its own accord in the shape of a negation of the light, as a dark spot on the sky. The boundaries and outlines of false doctrine became evident and self-defined.
'We speak of false doctrine in the singular and not in the plural number, although we include both Latinism and Protestantism under the term, because from henceforth these two confessions will constitute for us but one single form of error; and this their intrinsic unity can only be seen from one point of view, namely that of the Church, and it was just this that Khomiakoff pointed out to us.! Before his time our theologians always took Latinism and Protestantism to be two contradictories, mutually excluding one another. And this is what they are actually represented to be in the West, because there religious consciousness is irrevocably divided into two parts, and has lost the very notion of the Church, that is to say, of that centre from which these two confessions separated themselves under the influences of the elements which they had imbibed from Rome and Germany. A similar view of them passed over from the West to us, and we adopted their definitions ready made, and looked upon Latinism with Protestant eyes, and vice versâ. At the present-time, thanks to Khomiakoff, all this is changed. Formerly we saw before us the two clearly defined forms of Western Christianity, and Orthodoxy between them, having, as it wore, pulled herself up at the parting of the ways, but now we see the Church, or, in other words, the living organism of truth, intrusted to mutual love; and outside the Church, logical knowledge cut off from a moral basis, that is to say, Rationalism, in two aspects of its development, namely, reason clutching at a phantom of the truth, and selling its freedom into bondage to an external authority--which is what Latinism is, and reason, trying to find out a self-made truth for itself and sacrificing unity to subjective sincerity--or, in other words, Protestantism.'
Such was the change brought about in the current theology of the Russian Church by Khomiakoff's theological writings. Illustrations of his method will be found both in the present volume and in his three Essays in the French language upon the Latin Church and Protestantism which have been already referred to. Its great importance consists in the fact that whatever may be thought of its intrinsic merits--and of course no Western can accept Khomiakoff's views without certain very considerable limitations--it has undoubtedly given logical form and expression to what has been implicitly held by the whole of the Orthodox Eastern Church from the time of the Great Schism downwards.
The great fact to remember about Russia is that she has not in Church or State gone through either a feudal or a scholastic period; and this she owes to the fact of her belonging to the Eastern Orthodox Church. The theology borrowed from the West, which was partly adopted in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Eastern Church, has never sunk very deeply into Eastern religious consciousness. Even documents such as the Articles of the Synod of Bethlehem, which received the approval of the four Patriarchs, are now looked upon as to a great extent obsolete; indeed, in Russia they were never accepted except in a modified form--and this because they were from the first felt not to be in accordance with the true spirit and tradition of the Eastern Church.
If any one wishes to estimate what Khomiakoff has done for Orthodox theology, let him first read the Notes of Mr. Palmers Visit to the Orthodox Church, published by Cardinal Newman, and in the conversations of those with whom Mr. Palmer had his first discussions recognise the results of the schools of theology which Mr. Samarin has described as existing before Khomiakoff's time in Russia, and then, after reading Khomiakoff's theological treatises, let him go to Russia and study the Church there as she exists at the present day. He will not be long in realising how completely the channel into which the Slavophiles led contemporary Russian theological thought corresponds with actual facts. Mr. Khomiakoff always regarded .the declaration of the Eastern Patriarchs given in reply to the encyclical of Pius ix. to the Oriental Christians as the point of departure from which the modern school of Orthodox theology should start. And indeed, just as the Vatican decrees may be said to be the logical outcome of the line taken by Rome at the Great Schism, so when the Eastern Patriarchs declared, 'We have no sort of worldly inspectorship, or, as his Holiness calls it, sacred direction, but are united only by the bond of love and zeal for our common Mother in the unity of the faith. . . . With us neither Patriarchs nor Councils could ever introduce anything new, inasmuch as with us the body itself of the Church is the guardian of her Orthodoxy,' they were for the first time formulating a definition of the principle which underlies the whole teaching of the Orthodox Church. Khomiakoff seized upon this declaration of the Patriarchs, applied it in every imaginable way to Orthodox tradition and practice, and found that it always corresponded with them. It will be found to underlie the whole of his essay upon the Unity of the Church at the end of this volume; while in the second of his Essays upon the Latin Church and Protestantism, after maintaining that it was clearly indicated on the day of Pentecost, for the Holy Spirit, Who was sent to lead the disciples into all truth, came down not only upon the Apostles, but upon all the disciples, he thus defines the difference between the East and West upon this point:--
'When, after having overcome death, the Saviour of men withdrew His visible presence from them, He did not leave them comfortless, but consoled them with the promise that He would be with them to the end of the world. This promise was fulfilled. The Spirit of God descended on the heads of the disciples gathered together in the unanimity of prayer, and restored to them the presence of their Saviour, no longer a presence indeed such as could be apprehended by the senses, but an invisible presence, a presence no longer external, but dwelling within them. From that time forward, notwithstanding the trials that awaited them, their joy was full. And we also have this full and perfect joy, for we know that the Church has not, like the Protestants, to search for Christ, for she already possesses Him, and that she possesses and obtains Him constantly' by the inward action of love, without requiring an external phantom of Christ, such as the Romans believe in. The invisible Head of the Church had no need to bequeath her with an image of Himself in order to pronounce oracles, but has inspired the whole of her with His love in order that she may have the unchangeable truth within herself. [L'Eglise Latin et le Protestantisme, pp. 111-116.]
'Such is our faith. The Church, even on earth, is a thing of heaven; but both the Roman and the Protestant judge of heavenly things as if they were earthly. "There will be disunion," says the Roman, "unless there is an authority to decide questions of dogma." "There will be intellectual servitude," says the Protestant, "if everybody is obliged to agree with all the others." Is this way of speaking in accordance with the principles of heaven or with those of the earth? . . . Catholicism, or rather the universality of known truth, and Protestantism, or rather seeking for the truth, are as a matter of fact elements which have always co-existed together in the Church. The first belongs to the totality of the Church, the second to each of her members. We call the Church universal, but we do not call ourselves Catholics--when this word (or the word Orthodox) is used in speaking of an individual it is only an elliptical form of language--for this word implies a perfection to which we are very far from pretending. When the Spirit of God permitted that the holy Apostle of the Jews should deserve the blame of the Apostle of the Gentiles, He gave us this sublime truth to understand, that the highest intellect and the mind most illuminated from heaven ought to humble itself before the catholicity of the Church, which is the voice of God Himself. Each of us is constantly seeking that which the Church ever possesses. Ignorant, we seek to understand; evil, we seek to unite ourselves to the sanctity of her inward life; ever imperfect in all things, we press forward towards that perfection which is to be found fully displayed only in the manifestations of the Church herself, in her writings, which are the sacred Scriptures, in her dogmatic traditions, in her sacraments, in her prayers, in her decisions, and which, in short, make themselves heard every time that there is an error to refute, a difficulty to solve, or a truth to proclaim within her bosom, in order to sustain the trembling steps of her children. Each one of us is of the earth, the Church alone is of heaven.'
And here we will take leave of Khomiakoff's theological works and opinions. The reason that I have tried to present them as far as possible in his own words, or in those of his disciples, must by this time be obvious. If I had attempted to describe them in my own words, I must, of necessity, have presented them to English readers in a modified form. My object in writing about the Russian Church has ever been to represent her as being not necessarily what I should like her to be, but what she is; and if my readers will forgive a personal reminiscence, I may say that I think that one of the proudest moments of my life was when, in a criticism of one of my articles in The Guardian upon Russia, which appeared hi a Protestant journal, published at Leipzig, and which was anything but friendly towards the line which I took, the writer began his final sentence by the words: 'Birkbeck bemüht sich doch objectiv zu sein'! The time for telling half-truths about the Russian Church, even if it ever existed, has certainly now quite passed away; the question of the Reunion of Christendom is ever coming more and more to the front, and the Russian Church, quite apart from the other Orthodox Eastern Churches which are in full communion with her, is by far the most important national Church now existing, and indeed, next to the Roman Church, is the largest Christian body on the world's surface at the present time. It must be patent to all intelligent observers--and it is well known that no one appreciates the fact better than Leo XIII. himself--that the Reunion of Christendom will not be brought about without her. As Eugenius iv. said of Mark of Ephesus, when he heard that he had not signed the Act of Union at the Council of Florence, so we may say with regard to Russia: 'Without her, all our labours are lost.' And therefore the first object of those who are interested in, and who long for, the Reunion of Christendom, should be, to get really to know her, and to see things from her own point of view. This preliminary step is absolutely indispensable. Whether the views of her theologians are absolutely true, or whether they arc only relatively so, is comparatively an unimportant matter, and may be discussed hereafter. There is much in Mr. Khomiakoff's writings, both in this correspondence and in his other works, which no Anglican can unreservedly accept. While we can readily admit that, there was much in the development of Western theology after the Great Schism which was one-sided, and much that was even altogether erroneous, we can never admit that the West ceased to be part of the Church, or that the whole truth has been committed to the East alone since that unhappy event. We can of course allow that, inasmuch as the East has never admitted the principle of development, and as a matter of fact has obviously hardly changed, even outwardly, since the division between East and West, she is a perfectly faithful representative of the Eastern Church before that unhappy event, while those who really know her, and have seen her practical working, her services, her missions, her monasteries, her guilds, her charities, and all the daily evidences of her vitality in the vast Empire of the Tzars, will certainly allow that she has been wise in adhering to her traditions, that in this lies her great strength, and that that good part which she has chosen is extremely unlikely to be taken from her. But the object for which this book has been published will be very much mistaken, if it is thought that it is intended to throw away doubt upon the claims, both of the English and the Roman Churches, to be considered true members of the Catholic Church. No English Churchman could wish to do this. To return once more to Mr. Khomiakoff: he repeatedly expresses his admiration for the English system of education, and gives the warmest praise to our public schools and universities. Yet at the end of his account of his visit to England he relates how, when he was at Oxford, a clergyman belonging to the Tractarian School said to him: 'How are we to arrest the pernicious effects of Protestantism?' Khomiakoff's ready reply was: 'Shake off your Roman Catholicism!' He seemed hardly to realise that to do this would be to bury the English university and public school system and all that it represents under the earth, and if this conversation took place at the high table of Magdalen, which, as he was Mr. Palmer's guest during his stay at Oxford, is not improbable, it must have been almost enough to make the portraits of Waynflete, Wolsey, and Pole over his head weep from their frames! That it was difficult for an Anglican to join the Church of Rome when once he had realised what the Eastern Church is, even in the discouraging times of the Secession of Dr. Newman and of the Gorham Judgment, is made abundantly clear by the latter part of this correspondence, and at the present day such a thing would be quite impossible. On the other hand, even now that the difficulty about Baptism exists no longer, Eastern writers admit that Reunion of East and West is not in the least likely, even if desirable, to be brought about by individual conversions to Orthodoxy. [Of. an article upon W. Palmer published last month (August) in Moscow in the Ruskij Archiv.]
Mr. Khomiakoff died in the year 1860. He had been staying for about a month, towards the end of the summer, on a small property which he owned in the government of Riazan, looking after its affairs. His eldest son had been with him most of the time, but he had sent him home to Bogocharovo, intending to finish off some literary work which he had on hand, and to follow him in three days. On the night before his death his bailiff had been with him arranging about the affairs of the estate, and left him at two o'clock in the morning of 23rd September in perfect health. He then sat down to write, and continued to do so until about five o'clock, when he felt the first symptoms of cholera. The suddenness of the attack is best illustrated by the fact that his manuscript ended abruptly in the middle of a sentence, at the word 'in.' At seven o'clock, feeling himself getting worse and worse, he sent for the priest, who arrived at eight o'clock, and after confessing and communicating him, administered to him the Sacrament of Unction. During the whole of this service, which in the Eastern Church is extremely long, he retained his consciousness, holding a candle in his hand, at times repeating the prayers with the priest in a whisper, and making the sign of the cross. At three o'clock he became unconscious, and the priest, thinking that the end had come, began reading the commendatory prayers. However, afterwards he recovered consciousness, and the village doctor told him that his pulse was improving. 'Are you not ashamed of yourself,' answered Khomiakoff, 'after having seen so much sickness, not to know the pulse of a dying man?' About twenty minutes before the end, his neighbour, Mr. Muromtzeff, who was the only person with him besides the priest and doctor, said to him: 'You are getting better; the warmth is returning to your limbs, and your eyes are brighter.' 'But to-morrow how bright they will be!' replied Khomiakoff. These were his last words. He died at a quarter to eight in the evening. His body was removed to his beloved Moscow, where it now lies in peace in the cemetery of the great Danileffski Monastery on the outskirts of the city. So svyatimi upokoi, Kriste, dushu raba Tvoego!
The letters of Mr. Khomiakoff throughout this volume have been given in almost exactly the same words as they were written. Any addition which I have made I have put into square brackets, and any alteration which could in any possible manner alter the sense, I have indicated in a footnote. The alterations which I have made without noticing them are extremely small in number, and consist merely of such details as the occasional transference of the position of an adverb, or the alteration of 'will' into 'shall' where the English idiom seemed to require it. I have been careful to initial my own footnotes, and, for the rest, to indicate whether they were those of Mr. Khomiakoff himself or of his Russian translator.
With regard to the orthography of Russian names spelt in English letters, I have throughout reduced them to one system, in order to avoid confusion. The only exception I have made is in the case of Mr. Khomiakoff's own name, which I have left in every case as he spelt it at the end of his letters. The diversity in spelling comes from the very fugitive character of the sounds of unaccented Russian vowels. The name in Russian is spelt Khomyakov', and the first two syllables being short, may very easily be represented by letters other than o and ja. The ô sound in Russian, however, resembles rather the sound of the English o in the word 'testimony' than the broad sound of a. The Kh at the beginning is equivalent to the German Ch. Perhaps the best way of indicating the true sound of the name would be to spell it 'Homiakoff.'
In conclusion, I would express my gratitude for the assistance I have had in preparing this work for the press. It would be difficult to say how much I owe to the late Lord Selborne, not only for providing me with his brother's Confession of Faith upon joining the Church of Rome, and the two poems at the end of the volume, but also for his kind assistance throughout the whole undertaking. All my MSS. of Mr. Palmer's letters were looked over and corrected by him, and the punctuation in them was added by him in pencil. The assistance of the Very Rev. Archpriest E. Smirnoff, Chaplain to the Russian Embassy in London, has also been invaluable: it would be impossible to exaggerate how much I owe to him, not only for helping me in the biographical details in the footnotes, but also for his constant readiness to help me to clear up any difficulty which occurred in the course of the work. I have also to thank many friends in Russia, especially Mr. Dmitri and Miss Mary Khomiakoff, for their assistance throughout, Mme. Bachmetieff for relieving me of much of the labour of copying Mr. Khomiakoff's letters, Mr. Peter Bartenieff for furnishing me with the original text of Mr. Palmer's letters in 1858 to the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, and to Canon Bramley of Lincoln for his valuable help with the theological terms in my translation of Khomiakoff's Essay on the Church.
W. J. BIRKBECK.
THROPE, September 23rd, 1895.