chapter  3
22 Pages

Russian Mariology and Bulgakov

ByWalter Nunzio Sisto

Bulgakov is no exception to the dictum “no one lives in a vacuum.” This chapter explores the possible sources of Bulgakov’s Mariology including the Russian manualists as well as the Paris school of theology at St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute. Given the fact that Bulgakov’s Mariology evidenced in The Burning Bush (1926) and The Bride of the Lamb (1945) develop his sections on Mary in his earlier work Unfading Light (1917) as well as his negative assessment of the manualists and lack of references to them and his peers at St. Sergius, there is no good evidence that these schools of thought played a significant role in his Mariology. The two main persons that influence his thought are Vladimir Solov’ev and Pavel Florensky. This chapter argues that just as Solov’ev initiated the analysis of Sophia in Russian Orthodoxy that Pavel Florensky refined and that Bulgakov developed into a system, so also Solov’ev initiated a sophianic interpretation of Mary that Florensky refined and that Bulgakov systematized.