Resource Of Russian Religious And Philosophical Tradition In Constructive Relationship With West


In our work we want to show that spiritual grounds for constructive answers to the challenges of our time have matured for centuries in the depths of the Russian religious and philosophical tradition. Spiritual practice of Hesychast monks formed a special view on the relationship of man with God and with people around. The essence of these relations is dynamic and largely depends on the moral state of those who enter into them. Such attitudes are rooted in the mentality of Russian people and reflected in the national philosophical thought. It was in Russian philosophy that for the first time there was an awareness that the problem of the formation of the general is a problem not so much theoretical and methodological as practical, existential, ontological. Modern social philosophy proceeds from the premise that the general can not be prescribed initially, it appears in the interaction itself and in its study, being the result of the interaction of different systems that do not remove their differences, but fixes the form they generated. Thus, the comprehension of our religious and philosophical tradition can become very fruitful both in philosophical and methodological terms, thereby contributing to going beyond the current consideration of the question of the relationship between Russia and the West.

Keywords: TraditionOrthodoxyhesychasmphilosophycommonrelations


The outer side of the Orthodox spiritual tradition is deeply connected with the role of monasticism, but even in the XIX – early XX centuries this phenomenon was studied little and was insufficiently appreciated by the academic class of Russian society. Only the 30-ies of XX century in domestic theology begins to awaken interest in the living experience of Hesychasm (Orthodox practice). Here were made most important discoveries and significant role was played by the works of Ostrogorskii G., Krivosheina V., Kern, K., Florovskii G., Losskii V. N., Meyendorf I.

Preparatory ground for these fundamental studies included the works of Russian scientists before the revolution of 1917 – Vasiliev A. A. Dorodnicyn, A., Ivaschenko A., Nedetovskii G., Sokolova I. I., Uspenskii P., Uspenskii F. I, Yatsimirskii A. I. Important studies of the topic in theological science, for example, in Gero A., Koffeya D., Mantzaridis G., Papadimitriou G., Radovich, A., Romanidis D. S., Takhiaos A. K., Christ P.

Among the Russian philosophers who reflected in their works not only the General outlook, but also the spiritual experience of Orthodoxy, we can distinguish Kireevskii I.V, Khomyakov A., Leontiev K., Losev A., Florovskii G., and some others. In their works, the possibility of a new, based on the Orthodox spiritual practice of Russian philosophy, which has not received, however, in-depth development, is outlined.

Today the attempt of philosophical understanding of hesychasm and the traditional orthodox understanding of the world in articles by Alekseeva V. A., Bibihin V. V., Kristaleva L. G. Muskhelishvili N. L., Silnitskii G. G., Horuzhev S. S. and others. Works of Krasnopolskaya L. N., Nikonov K. I., Rebelo V. A., Fokina L. A., Y. A. Kukoverova give an idea about the place of anthropological perspectives in Christianity, show the traditional statement of the Orthodoxy of the question about man. The works of Goncharov S. Z., Knyazev V. M., Kopalov V. I., Petrov V. M., Pivovarov D. V., Plotnikov V. I., Shumikhina L. A., and others are devoted to the issues of spirituality, attempts to comprehend the spirit of the Russian people.

Problem Statement

The twenty-first century highlights the problem as a priority, and the fate of the world community will largely depend on a successful solution. This is the need to develop a social model of existence that would imply the all-round harmonization of the dramatically differently directed imperatives of neoliberalism and traditionalism. Before the West and the East, the most difficult, although not hopeless, task is to find a balance between progress in respect of the rights of individuals and minorities, on the one hand, and the preservation of the national, cultural and religious identity of individual peoples on the other.

Ten centuries the attitude of the Russian people was brought up in the spirit of the Orthodox faith. The triumph of Orthodoxy in Russia opened the way for the true flourishing of spiritual culture and Russian statehood. However, it is only now that Russia has the opportunity to enter into a serious debate about the relationship between liberalism and traditionalism in the formation of viable socio-cultural and political standards designed to meet the challenge not only of European but also of global integration.

Modern international standards are essentially exclusively Western and liberal. Apparently this allows F. Fukuyama to write that "the triumph of the West, the Western idea is obvious", because "liberalism does not have viable alternatives now" (Herwitz, 2000). But the logic of the modernist, liberal-centrist division of the world into modern and traditional-although consistent-contradicts many of the usual views on culture and its relationship to civilization. Therefore, in recent years, there has been a revision of the content of tradition, requiring a profoundly meaningful change in the very attitude to tradition.

Tradition today is the field of preserving the changing characteristics of any subject, when it is considered as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Tradition is a manifestation of the universality of life, the immune system of society, the Fund and the substance of culture. Therefore, the problem of tradition is a socio-cultural form of the problem of preservation and renewal of identity, self-identification of phenomena.

Speaking about the role of the Orthodox tradition for Russia, it should be noted that not only in the domestic culture, but also in the entire warehouse of the Russian man, his relationship with God, people and herself, she left her mark. In the spiritual practice of Orthodoxy rooted in man and his discourse, a way of reasoning and thinking, which, if adequately disclosed, may initiate the transition of modern thought and culture in the new paradigm can become a worthy alternative to Western models (Horujy, 2001).

Research Questions

Further development of philosophy involves the critical assimilation of its previous achievements. We should take into account the mistakes of our predecessors, especially since Russian philosophy itself has managed to critically rethink a lot. In our soul, writes G. Florovsky, there is too much play (Bystrov, 2016). Too often the Russian soul fell ill with mystical inconstancy. Often, the category of responsibility just falls out. And here, - says the philosopher, - the plot of the tragedy of the Russian culture. This is a Christian tragedy, a tragedy of free sin, blind freedom.

The Russian intelligentsia is distinguished by the desire to translate the images revealed in intuition into ghostly laces of seductive dreams, where a small truth is combined with a great self-deception (Paranikolaou, 2011). Here there is a danger of substitution, when the game of their inflamed Reason's is taken for the deep reality of historical existence. They accept not life, but its meaning, the content embodied in it (Izmailova, Kovaleva, & Nasyrov 2016). Reality is only an accidental embodiment of the idea. Let these ideas are partly true, - says G. Florovsky, - but their specific appearance is absolutely not true. This is not a living Russia, but a personified "idea" (Bobrinskaya, 2017).

The first who managed to combine Western education with the tradition of the Eastern Church, was I. Kireevsky. He came closest to Optina Desert, which at that time was the center of spiritual revival in Russia. In Optina went for comfort, healing, for advice, guidance, instructions. There were those who got confused in the everyday circumstances, or in philosophical searches, - writes I. M. Kontsevich (Hurley, 2003, p.369). In Optina visited outstanding thinkers of the era, philosophers, writers: Gogol, brothers Kireevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Alexei Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Solovyov, Leontiev and many others.

Mysticism of the Orthodox East for Western scholars was closed, - believes Kireevsky. We inherited from Byzantium the treasures of this spiritual wisdom contained in the works of the Holy Fathers. And our historical task was to build on the Rich Byzantine heritage a new spiritual culture that would fertilize the whole world. And our historical task was to build on the Rich Byzantine heritage a new spiritual culture that would fertilize the whole world (Coates, 2013). At the same time, the way of Russian philosophy lies not in the denial of Western thought, but in filling it with what is revealed in higher knowledge, where the integrity of the spirit, lost in the fall of the first people, but restored in Christianity, is achieved again (Kozyrev & Ter Avest, 2007).

Thus, Kireevsky laid the Foundation of a new spiritual philosophy "integrity of the spirit", which could become the basis for the development of original Russian culture. In it the Russian identity has already reached his full disclosure. Russian thought is freed from centuries of captivity alien to her beginnings, goes on an independent primordial path, turning to the origins of its origin. She's kind of going back to her father's house. But Kireevsky did not manage to finish the conceived work – to create philosophy, he put only its basis and pointed the way (Khabibullin, Suleimanov, Sidorkin, & Arslanov 2017).

Writers and philosophers of the next generation, although visiting Optina, had no real spirit. It could seem, writes I.M. Kontsevich, - that the successor of the Kireevsky case was V. Soloviev. Indeed, in his master's thesis "the Crisis of Western philosophy" he took from Kireevsky ideas almost entirely: the synthesis of philosophy and religion, a view of Western philosophy as the development of rationalism, the idea of the integrity of life, metaphysical knowledge. But here and in the future Soloviev not only outside the "wisdom of the holy fathers", but also outside Orthodoxy, considering himself above the confessional divisions.

Thus, Solovyov, thanks to his exceptional influence on contemporaries, using initially Kireyevsky's ideology, then took the awakening Russian religious thought from the path that he pointed out to her (Shaidullina, Amirov, Muhametshin, & Tyncherov 2017). The idea Solovyov gained followers, and very quickly this philosophy has grown into a coherent direction, which is now known as the metaphysics of all-unity. As S. S. Horuzhy has shown, for Solovyov's philosophy – and following it and for all direction – its status in relation to the Western thought was defined as some new school within classical European philosophical tradition (Tyncherov, Mukhametshin, & Khuzina, 2017). This school combined philosophy with pre-Christian ancient thought, assimilating its concepts and positions in pure form, refusing to translate them into Christian discourse (Khoryzhi, 2012).

The doctrine of Solovyov, and then the whole Russian philosophy of the Silver age-and the whole European philosophy of unity-corresponds to Platonism, according to which the world and its phenomena possess the essence or idea that is in God. The consequence of this is the reductionism inherent in this philosophy, for, for example, when it comes to interaction, unity is understood here as already predetermined, existing or even known.

The main goal and content of the spiritual practice of Orthodoxy is "the ascent of the mind to God and the immediate conversation with Him." This is not the knowledge of the essence or" nature " of God, but the connection of the mind with God, which, for example, for Gregory Palamas was the basis and at the same time the top of the entire spiritual life of man. In the Greek Fathers ' teachings, Divine ideas are more dynamic. They are identified with the will that defines the various forms of the object's connection to the divine creative energies. The direct perception of divine ideas by man is the result of " the transformation of the activities of our senses under the influence of the Holy Ghost."

The constant reference to the need for this transformation of man, covering all aspects of his spiritual and physical being, is an indicative feature of Hesychasm, an important element of the Orthodox tradition. According to this tradition, the presence in us of grace or divine energy, which is the presence of God, requires on our part continuous effort, cooperation, or"synergy". Therefore, we can say that here gnoseology, anthropology and asceticism are inextricably linked.

Despite the aforementioned negative influence of Solovyov, it was in Russian philosophy that for the first time it was understood that the problem of forming a common one concerns not only theory and methodology, but also practice. This is a problem of changing the nature of interaction between social actors and cultural systems. According to S. Frank, in a truly adequate understanding of the concept of common ("we") can be found really accurate understanding of the ontological nature of society as unity. As can be seen, these provisions in a certain way develop ideas of Hesychasm.

However, these ideas are actualized in the modern socio-philosophical methodology, according to which the forms of intersubjective interactions, which are elements of social relations and ensure the reproducibility of social space, can remain open for change. This methodology allows to find а common in the process of concrete interaction (in the characterization of its various lines, levels and subsystems). The general here is not established initially and appears or is identified in the interaction and research (Luyckx, 1999). This is the result of the interaction of different systems, which does not eliminate their differences, but by fixing the form generated by them.

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons Byzantine theology of energies, which had a developed conceptual apparatus and rich perspectives in philosophy, was not initially sufficiently studied in Russia. As a result, the leading line of Orthodox consciousness was closed in the world of monastic and popular religiosity, affecting the culture only indirectly. Currently in Russia are published and reprinted is still not published works of the Holy Fathers-Hesychasts: Anthony the Great, Macarius the Great, Ephraim Syrianna, John Climacus, Maximus the Confessor, Theodore the Studite, Symeon the New theologian, St. Gregory the Sinaite, Gregory Palamas, etc.

The socio-philosophical method of studying the phenomenon of Orthodox spirituality presupposes, on the one hand, a socio-historical approach that obliges to inscribe the Orthodox tradition in the context of real history, and on the other - the understanding of traditions and events of the past, not only historically, but also from the modern point of view. In the XX century real discussions, disputes, clashes of worldviews, dialogue are conducted in the society.

Today, the dialogue between the West, Russia and the Orthodox East can be presented not only as an object of philosophical and socio-humanitarian analysis, but also as a complex dynamic form. This form with a certain historical and methodological approach manifests itself as an evolving series of relationship schemes, which leads to a qualitative transition associated with the transformation of the event into a co-change. Thus, the dialogue turns out to be not only the interaction of established, formed structures (in this case – completed cultural forms), but becomes open, mobile, deployed in the future (Weyembergh, 1995).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose and objectives of this work were as follows:

To reveal the originality of possible ways of Orthodox spiritual tradition socialization in the modern world, to reveal its significance as a socio-cultural phenomenon for solving the problems of our society.

To analyze the potential associated with the Orthodox spiritual tradition of Russian philosophy in solving problems related to modern trends in globalization.

To present opportunities for other ways to unite, on the basis of an understanding of dialogue between Russia and the West enriched by Orthodoxy.

Research Methods

This paper uses a socio-philosophical method of studying the phenomenon of Orthodox spirituality. This suggests:

  • on the one hand, a socio-historical approach obliges the Orthodox tradition to be included in the context of real history;

  • on the other hand - the understanding of traditions and events of the past not only historically, but also from the current, modern point of view. In the twentieth century, real discussions, disputes, clashes of worldviews, and dialogues are held in the society.

Thus, a kind of key to the interpretation of the Orthodox spiritual tradition is for us the idea of dialogue. We do not take theological texts or philosophical literature on our own, but we consider them in a dialogue conditioned by socio-historical realities.


The result of the study can be considered the following conclusions:

A new spiritual philosophy of "integrity of the spirit," whose founder in Russian philosophy is I. Kireevsky can become the basis for the development of original Russian culture. Russian thought is freed from the centuries of captivity, alien to its beginnings, going to an independent original path, referring to the origins of its origin.

In the teachings of the Greek fathers, ideas are more dynamic and can define different forms of communication between the subject and the divine energies. In Russian philosophy, the problem of the formation of a common applies not only to the theory and methodology - it is the problem of changing the nature of interaction between social actors and cultural systems.

Today, the dialogue between the West and Russia can be presented as a complex dynamic form, as an evolving series of schemes of relations that represent not only the interaction of established, formed structures, but become open, mobile, deployed in the future.


In our opinion, the comprehension of the Orthodox spiritual tradition as a socio-cultural phenomenon can become very fruitful both philosophically and methodologically, thereby contributing to going beyond the current consideration of the issue of the relationship between Russia and the West. Today, various schemes of interaction developed within the framework of Russian and Western philosophical traditions can be presented as models for the emerging field of social interactions and social space formed. Such germination of these philosophical and methodological schemes in our reality allows us to include them in the modern philosophical science.


I want to express my huge gratitude to my scientific adviser Plotnikov Vladimir Ilyich, the wise mentor, as well as to Vyacheslav Yevgenyevich Kemerov, head of the Department of Social Philosophy of the Ural State University, whose ideas significantly influenced the writing of this work.


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Yusupov, R. (2018). Resource Of Russian Religious And Philosophical Tradition In Constructive Relationship With West. In I. B. Ardashkin, B. Vladimir Iosifovich, & N. V. Martyushev (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 50. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1402-1408). Future Academy.