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Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin

Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin

The Search for Orthodox and Catholic Union

Jeffrey Bruce Beshoner

Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin analyzes questions of nationality and religious identity in nineteenth-century Russian history as reflected in the life of Jesuit priest Ivan Gagarin. A descendant of one of Russia’s most ancient and politically powerful families, Father Ivan Gagarin, S.J. (1814–1882), dedicated his life to creating a union between the Orthodox and Catholic churches that would preserve the dogmatic and traditional beliefs of both.

Traditional understandings of Russian identity have emanated from the perspective of the dominant Orthodox religion; this captivating study uses the unionist work of Gagarin to illumine Russia’s national identity from the perspective of Roman Catholicism. Gagarin, who regarded his unionist proposals as necessary for the preservation of Russian stability, often found himself in opposition to the Russian Orthodox Church. While Gagarin believed that church union would preserve Russia from the threats of communism and revolution, the Russian Orthodox Church believed that union would mean the sacrifice of religious truth, ecclesial independence, and religious orthodoxy.

Jeffrey Beshoner’s even-handed analysis reveals that the Roman Catholic Church presented its own share of barriers to attempts at church union. Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin examines Roman Catholic attitudes of superiority vis-à-vis the Russian Orthodox Church and argues that the nineteenth-century Roman Catholic Church simply did not possess the humility or respect for Eastern beliefs that church union required.

Despite the failure of his unionist activity, Gagarin exerted important influence on such contemporary and later Roman Catholic and Russian thinkers as Pope Pius IX, Alexei Khomiakov, and Vladimir Solovev. As the collapse of communism has permitted Russia to again seek its national identity in Russian Orthodoxy, Gagarin’s ideas and perspectives on the relationship between national and religious identity continue to prove relevant.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03166-4
334 pages
Publication Year: 2002

Jeffrey Bruce Beshoner received his Ph.D. in Russian history from the University of Notre Dame. He is currently a member of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of Penance in the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. He resides in Washington, D.C., where he continues to pursue his interests in Russian religious thought and ecumenical history.

“. . . the only book-length treatise on Gagarin in English. This book is highly recommended for library collections in Slavic studies and ecumenism.” — Catholic Library World

“Beshoner’s meticulous analysis makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on religious and church history in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Above all, it provides a full, well-researched account of a prominent Russian Catholic publicist, stripping away rhetoric and polemics to give a coherent account of his views and how he came to them. . . . [A] pioneering monograph.” — American Historical Review

“®ichly detailed discussion . . . full of materials likely to be new to scholars interested in pre-Reform Russia, in which Gagarin was formed, and the post-Reform Russia that he tried to influence. Beshoner has thoroughly investigated archival sources in Russia and the West and mastered the very large literature.” — Russian Review

“. . . Jeffrey Bruce Beshoner surprises readers with an intriguing book that includes nationalism, diplomacy and religion. It provides a multifaceted look into the history of Russia compared with the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century. . . . [It]would be an enlightening supplement to any Russian, nineteenth-century, or religious history course. . . .” — History: Reviews of New Books

“Beshoner’s presentation of Gagarin is valuable and extensive. It gives us another historical example of a division within Christian experience that still troubles many.” —_Journal of the American Academy of Religion_

“. . . handsomely produced. . . .” — Modern Greek Studies Yearbook

“The strength of this book is found in the fact that it finally offers scholars the continuous account of the entire life and times of Gagarin together with a discussion of this work, all in one volume. Students of the Russian Jesuit will also be grateful for the complete listing of Gagarin’s treatises, both major and minor.” — Orientalia Christiana Periodica

“. . . a fascinating story that will be of particular interest to readers who follow current efforts to reestablish the communion that will enable the Church to, in the words of John Paul II, ‘breathe again with both lungs.’ ” — First Things

“Beshoner presents a well-researched and evenhanded examination of the evolution of Gagarin’s thought within the context of the political and theological debates of the time. He shows that the fascinating story of Gagarin, the Don Quixote of Catholicism, exemplifies the futility of all-encompassing projects for the nation’s salvation. His book is richly documented, and he makes generous use of archival material from France, Italy, the Vatican, and Russia. The book is an important resource for scholars interested in the Westernizers/Slavophile controversy, in problems of Russian national identity, in mutual misconceptions between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican, and in ecumenical politics in general.” — Slavic Review

“Beshoner’s meticulous analysis makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on religious and church history in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Above all, it provides a full, well-researched account of a prominent Russian Catholic publicist, stripping away rhetoric and polemics to give a coherent account of his views and how he came to them. . . . [A] pioneering monograph.” — American Historical Review

“®ichly detailed discussion . . . full of materials likely to be new to scholars interested in pre-Reform Russia, in which Gagarin was formed, and the post-Reform Russia that he tried to influence. Beshoner has thoroughly investigated archival sources in Russia and the West and mastered the very large literature.” — Russian Review

“Beshoner’s presentation of Gagarin is valuable and extensive. It gives us another historical example of a division within Christian experience that still troubles many.” — Journal of the American Academy of Religion

“. . . fascinating and thoroughly researched. . . . The volume is a valuable resource for understanding some misguided approaches of Catholicism toward Orthodoxy.” — Theological Studies

P00120

Exegesis and Spiritual Pedagogy in Maximus the Confessor

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Paul M. Blowers

Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin

The Search for Orthodox and Catholic Union

Jeffrey Bruce Beshoner

 Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin: The Search for Orthodox and Catholic Union
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin analyzes questions of nationality and religious identity in nineteenth-century Russian history as reflected in the life of Jesuit priest Ivan Gagarin. A descendant of one of Russia’s most ancient and politically powerful families, Father Ivan Gagarin, S.J. (1814–1882), dedicated his life to creating a union between the Orthodox and Catholic churches that would preserve the dogmatic and traditional beliefs of both.

Traditional understandings of Russian identity have emanated from the perspective of the dominant Orthodox religion; this captivating study uses the unionist work of Gagarin to illumine Russia’s national identity from the perspective of Roman Catholicism. Gagarin, who regarded his unionist proposals as necessary for the preservation of Russian stability, often found himself in opposition to the Russian Orthodox Church. While Gagarin believed that church union would preserve Russia from the threats of communism and revolution, the Russian Orthodox Church believed that union would mean the sacrifice of religious truth, ecclesial independence, and religious orthodoxy.

Jeffrey Beshoner’s even-handed analysis reveals that the Roman Catholic Church presented its own share of barriers to attempts at church union. Ivan Sergeevich Gagarin examines Roman Catholic attitudes of superiority vis-à-vis the Russian Orthodox Church and argues that the nineteenth-century Roman Catholic Church simply did not possess the humility or respect for Eastern beliefs that church union required.

Despite the failure of his unionist activity, Gagarin exerted important influence on such contemporary and later Roman Catholic and Russian thinkers as Pope Pius IX, Alexei Khomiakov, and Vladimir Solovev. As the collapse of communism has permitted Russia to again seek its national identity in Russian Orthodoxy, Gagarin’s ideas and perspectives on the relationship between national and religious identity continue to prove relevant.

ISBN: 978-0-268-03166-4

334 pages

“. . . the only book-length treatise on Gagarin in English. This book is highly recommended for library collections in Slavic studies and ecumenism.” — Catholic Library World

“Beshoner’s meticulous analysis makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on religious and church history in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Above all, it provides a full, well-researched account of a prominent Russian Catholic publicist, stripping away rhetoric and polemics to give a coherent account of his views and how he came to them. . . . [A] pioneering monograph.” — American Historical Review

“®ichly detailed discussion . . . full of materials likely to be new to scholars interested in pre-Reform Russia, in which Gagarin was formed, and the post-Reform Russia that he tried to influence. Beshoner has thoroughly investigated archival sources in Russia and the West and mastered the very large literature.” — Russian Review

“. . . Jeffrey Bruce Beshoner surprises readers with an intriguing book that includes nationalism, diplomacy and religion. It provides a multifaceted look into the history of Russia compared with the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century. . . . [It]would be an enlightening supplement to any Russian, nineteenth-century, or religious history course. . . .” — History: Reviews of New Books

“Beshoner’s presentation of Gagarin is valuable and extensive. It gives us another historical example of a division within Christian experience that still troubles many.” —_Journal of the American Academy of Religion_

“. . . handsomely produced. . . .” — Modern Greek Studies Yearbook

“The strength of this book is found in the fact that it finally offers scholars the continuous account of the entire life and times of Gagarin together with a discussion of this work, all in one volume. Students of the Russian Jesuit will also be grateful for the complete listing of Gagarin’s treatises, both major and minor.” — Orientalia Christiana Periodica

“. . . a fascinating story that will be of particular interest to readers who follow current efforts to reestablish the communion that will enable the Church to, in the words of John Paul II, ‘breathe again with both lungs.’ ” — First Things

“Beshoner presents a well-researched and evenhanded examination of the evolution of Gagarin’s thought within the context of the political and theological debates of the time. He shows that the fascinating story of Gagarin, the Don Quixote of Catholicism, exemplifies the futility of all-encompassing projects for the nation’s salvation. His book is richly documented, and he makes generous use of archival material from France, Italy, the Vatican, and Russia. The book is an important resource for scholars interested in the Westernizers/Slavophile controversy, in problems of Russian national identity, in mutual misconceptions between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Vatican, and in ecumenical politics in general.” — Slavic Review

“Beshoner’s meticulous analysis makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship on religious and church history in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Above all, it provides a full, well-researched account of a prominent Russian Catholic publicist, stripping away rhetoric and polemics to give a coherent account of his views and how he came to them. . . . [A] pioneering monograph.” — American Historical Review

“®ichly detailed discussion . . . full of materials likely to be new to scholars interested in pre-Reform Russia, in which Gagarin was formed, and the post-Reform Russia that he tried to influence. Beshoner has thoroughly investigated archival sources in Russia and the West and mastered the very large literature.” — Russian Review

“Beshoner’s presentation of Gagarin is valuable and extensive. It gives us another historical example of a division within Christian experience that still troubles many.” — Journal of the American Academy of Religion

“. . . fascinating and thoroughly researched. . . . The volume is a valuable resource for understanding some misguided approaches of Catholicism toward Orthodoxy.” — Theological Studies