Original Research - Special Collection: Ignatius van Wyk Dedication

Aspects of political theology in the spiritual autobiography of Saint John of Kronstadt (1829–1908)

Iuliu-Marius Morariu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 74, No 4 | a4993 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v74i4.4993 | © 2018 Iuliu-Marius Morariu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 March 2018 | Published: 24 July 2018

About the author(s)

Iuliu-Marius Morariu, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania; Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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It has been often said nowadays that since the fall of Constantinople, the Eastern-Orthodox Church has not been concerned with political theology. In this research, we will try to show that aspects of the aforementioned topic can be found even in works like the spiritual autobiographies from that space. Therefore, our analysis will focus on the diaries of an important Russian Orthodox priest, Saint John of Kronstadt, who lived in the second half of the 19th century and in the first decade of the 20th century. An important personality of his time, he was a great priest who developed the Eucharistic life, highlighting the relevance of the Holy Liturgy in the Christian life, the social life, offering accommodation, food, money and a place to work for the poor people from his parish and abroad. At the same time, he had a political and intellectual life, being in a good relationship with the tsar and his family, and wrote in his diaries, published during his lifetime and translated into English, his spiritual experiences, his daily life ones and his teaching and opinions on different topics and so on. By highlighting and investigating here episodes like his attitude towards the failed attempt for revolution that took place in Kronstadt in 1905, his relationship with the poor ones and his critique directed to the unfairly attitude of the rich people of his time towards the less fortunate ones or even his preaches against the famous contemporary writer Lev Tolstoy, we will try to show how political theology was understood by such a great father as John of Kronstadt and to emphasise the actuality of some of his ideas related to this topic.


Saint John of Kronstadt; Lev Tolstoy; political theology; communism; socialism; pastoral work; social concern; Orthodoxy; Russia


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