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The Church of the Holy Spirit- Nicolas Afanasiev’s Vision of the Eucharist and the Church

By Michael Plekon

In some ways Fr. Nicholas was a man of one idea, or, it may be better to say, one vision. It is this vision that he described and communicated in what appeared sometimes as "dry" and technical discussions. A careful reader, however, never failed to detect behind this appearance a hidden fire, a truly consuming love for the Church. For it was the Church that stood at the center of that vision, and Fr. Afanasiev, when his message is understood and deciphered, will remain for future generations a genuine renovator of ecclesiology.1

Memories and memoirs can be most revealing as well as obscuring. The recently published selections from Fr. Alexander Schmemann’s journals attest to this.2 The quotation above however comes from one of the typically succinct obituaries Fr. Schmemann was accustomed to writing and in many ways summarizes not only who Fr. Nicolas Afanasiev (1893-1966) was but the larger significance of his work.3 It is telling that another vignette of Fr. Afanasiev, in the often acerbic but usually accurate memoirs of Fr. Basil Zenkovsky, both confirms the Schmemann view while adding something which perhaps obscures or even misunderstands the man. Zenkovsky several times notes Afanasiev’s reticent personality, his characteristic diffidence, while at the same time observing the force with which Fr. Afanasiev expressed his convictions. Zenkovsky, as later John Meyendorff, curiously fault Afanasiev for being an historical relativist. I think the methodological precision and rigor of historiography that Afanasiev explicitly discusses both at the beginning and close of The Church of the Holy Spirit witnesses otherwise, and strikingly so.

If there is something of an enigma here it is not so much about Afanasiev as a person but about the history of his work in ecclesiology. Born in Odessa in 1893, his father was an attorney who died when Afanasiev was very young. He was the only remaining male in a household comprised of his mother, grandmother and younger sister. Fr. Afanasiev’s wife observed that his personality was deeply tied to the south of the Ukraine, its sunshine, seashore and countryside, the almost Mediterranean feel of life there.

A gifted student, Afanasiev early on wanted to be a bishop, so attracted was he by the ornate vestments. (He would later point to these as sad relics of a disappeared Byzantium, preserved for no theological reasons in Orthodox liturgical tradition.) Of other possible vocations—teaching, medicine, the priesthood, the first seemed to fit best with his skills and sensibilities. Mathematics became his specialization and it eventually influenced his inscription in the artillery school and then service in this branch of the military in WW I. Afanasiev, like Paul Evdokimov, saw much suffering, death and destruction in these war years, first in the internal conflict and then in the civil strife following the Russian revolution. Marianne Afanasiev notes that it was Fr. Nicolas’ beloved books, Rozanov, Merezhovsky, Soloviev and especially Alexander Blok’s poetry, which sustained him. With thousands of other immigrants he fled in 1920, arriving finally in Belgrade where he enrolled at the University’s theology faculty, returning to the vocational intentions of years before. But it was a hard life as a political exile: new surroundings, a different language, loneliness, a tiny stipend which meant he shared the extreme poverty of fellow refugees.

It was through membership and then service as treasurer in a Russian association that Afanasiev was integrated into a circle of friendships in which he would remain the rest of his life. There was Kostia Kern and SS. Bezobrazoff, later Father Cyprian and Bishop Cassian who would be fellow students and then faculty colleagues at the Paris St. Sergius Theological Institute. Bishop Benjamin (Fedtchenko) and Father Alexis Nelioubov became spiritual fathers to him. Perhaps the most important figure was his “teacher- and friend” Basil Zenkovsky, also later to be his colleague in Paris. Probably no one was more influential in eventually bringing Fr. Nicolas to his career as theologian and faculty member at St. Sergius than Zenkovsky. It was in Belgrade too that through participation in Fraternity of St. Seraphim and most especially, Students’ Movement, later the Russian Christian Students Movement, that Afanasiev was drawn into the eucharistic revival, the “churching of life” of the Movement, inspired by Fr. Sergius Bulgakov. But for all the warmth and attachments that these circles, in them Afanasiev also experienced the rifts and hostilities that he would continue to encounter in the Russian Orthodox churches the rest of his life. Already in the 20s, young and committed Russian Christians were divided on political issues such as the relationship to the Russian state, to Russian history, culture and spirituality. The ecclesiastical schism that emerged between the Karlovtsy Synod and the Exarchate of the Russian Church in Western Europe, Metropolitan Evlogy (Georgievsky) its primate, came to divide families and friends from each other. Afanasiev nevertheless found his love, was engaged then married to Marianne and while completing his degree, took a teaching post in religion at a secondary school in Macedonia. Already part of the movement to raise funds for an Orthodox theological school in the West—this was to be St. Sergius, where he spent his entire academic career, Afanasiev immersed himself as was his character both in teaching and graduate work. Finally after some conflict, he decided to become a student of the distinguished historian A.P. Dobroklonsky, a decision that would shape the rest of Afanasiev’s scholarly endeavors and perspective.

His mentor’s rigorous historiographic research methods would turn Afanasiev into the church historian who refused to turn away from the empirical realities of say the Roman or Byzantine imperial laws and courts an the influence, in the end, the domination of the Church by these. It was also Dobroklonsky who would compel Afanasiev to look beneath a church canon or council to find the cultural and social factors at work with the spiritual actions of the ecclesial body. His first scholarly publications were “The Power of the State and the ecumenical councils,” “The provincial assemblies of the Roman empire and the ecumenical councils,” and “Ibas of Edessa and his era,” studies whose imprint will be found very clearly in the present work being introduced, The Church of the Holy Spirit.

In 1930 Afanasiev came to teach canon law at St. Sergius by its dean, Fr. Sergius Bulgakov, who would also come to have a strong influence on him. From Bulgakov Afanasiev acquired a sense for the centrality of the Eucharist as well as a thorough return to the sources in understanding the Church and its relationship to the world. These very same influences would later be recognized and appreciated by the great liturgical theologian Fr Alexander Schmemann, himself also a student of Bulgakov, as well as colleague and protégé of Afanasiev.

Afanasiev would teach canon law, its sources, history, pastoral implications all the rest of his life at St. Sergius, with the exception of the war years. He became a member both of Fr. Bulgakov’s seminar and the Fraternity of the Holy Trinity that Fr. Bulgakov led, which included writer and social activist Mother Maria Skobtsova, Sister Joanna Reitlinger the iconographer, intellectuals and scholars such as Lev Zander and his wife, Boris Sove, Vladimir Weidlé, George Fedotov, Basil Zenkovsky and Boris Vycheslavtsev, among others.

In addition to canon law Afanasiev also taught Greek and work with the New Testament as text further made him expert as an exegete. He was among the St. Sergius faculty majority who defended Fr. Bulgakov from charges of heresy brought by members of the Karlovtsy Synod (later the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia), Patriarch Sergius of Moscow and the later eminent theologian Vladimir Lossky. In 1936 Fr. Bulgakov dedicated one of the volumes of his great trilogy to Afanasiev as a “souvenir of a year of trials.” In 1937 Afanasiev would be among the contributors to Zhivoe predanie—“Living Tradition,” the strong statement of those Orthodox theologians who saw tradition as dynamic, theology as creative and the task of the Church as engagement with the world and culture within which it lived. All of those already named in the St. Sergius faculty and Holy Trinity Fraternity also contributed.

It is not so difficult to track, in the 1930s, several engagements which converged and set the direction for Fr. Afanasiev’s work from the 1940s till his death in 1966. Already mentioned were the deep and painful experiences of conflict and condemnation, and then division among even close friends who were both Russian and Orthodox Christians. Like other immigrants to the West, however, there was an astonishing discovery of the history an authentic faith of Western Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, and then the frustration of the canonical separation of Eastern and Western Christians as a result of the great schism of 1054. There was also Afanasiev’s continuing historical research into the social, political and cultural sources and factors shaping the great ecumenical councils. Add to this the powerful eucharistic revival urged on by Fr. Bulgakov and his circle and you have many of the elements of The Church of the Holy Spirit, also of the companion volume which he did not complete, The Limits of the Church, as well as the important essay on liturgical renewal, The Lord’s Supper (1950).

On January 8, 1940 he was taken around the altar in procession by Frs. Bulgakov and Kern and ordained a priest by Metropolitan Evlogy. Fleeing the Nazi occupation, he and his family spent some months in the non-occupied south, where the work on the ancient church’s eucharistic ecclesiology was done at the kitchen table. From 1941 until 1947, throughout WWII, Fr. Nicolas served as the pastor of the Orthodox parish in Tunisia at the request of archbishop Vladimir of Nice. His wife recalls in her memoir his dedication to his people, his love for the liturgical services and his efforts to continue work on what would become The Church of the Holy Spirit even without reference resources. Once again as in Skoplje and Saint-Raphaël, the family dinner table became Fr. Nicolas’ workplace between meals and the vision of the Church as the eucharistic assembly: epi to auto—“always everyone and always together for one and the same things” (Acts 2:44) was both a consolation in the deprivation and suffering of the war years as well as encouragement to persist in his recovery of “eucharistic ecclesiology.” Fr. Nicolas was the faithful pastor of his flock. He took care of all the people in his community whether they were Orthodox or Catholic, Muslim or nonbelievers. Upon his return to St Sergius he completed the first version of The Church of the Holy Spirit and defended it for the doctorate in 1950. As Marianne Afanasiev describes it, the last two decades of his life were consumed by a full teaching load, his official positions as treasurer of St Sergius and canon law advisor to the ruling bishop and diocese, and a prominent position in ecclesiology and ecumenical work. As Aidan Nichols points out there is a wealth of theological insight waiting to be discovered in Fr. Nicolas’ many unpublished lectures and studies.

It is remarkable that throughout these busy years from 1947 on that Afanasiev managed to publish numerous articles, many of which formed the body of The Church of the Holy Spirit, The Lord’s Supper and the two-thirds companion volume to the first, The Limits of the Church. 4 At the recommendation of Patriarch Athenagoras I, Afanasiev was appointed an official ecumenical observer at Vatican II, where his ecclesiological work left its imprint particularly in Lumen gentium, the dogmatic constitution on the Church.5 Both a strong proponent of ecumenical activity as well as critic of certain of its outcomes, he witnessed in Rome on December 8, 1965, the formal suspension of the anathemas of the 11th century by Patriarch Athenagoras I and Pope Paul VI. In these last years he published his most powerful ecumenical articles, some assessing the accomplishments as well as the failures of Vatican II and others directed at reunion of the churches. Una sancta , dedicated “to the memory of the pope of Love, John XXIII,” is the most challenging of these. Chronic illness and the wear and tear of a hard life of severe poverty took their toll on Fr. Nicolas. After a few weeks’ illness, during which he believed he saw a young man, a messenger of God waiting for him in his hospital bedroom, he died on December 4, 1966.

It is not as if Fr Afanasiev’s work was simply forgotten after his death. The Church of the Holy Spirit, which he had been revising, was posthumously published in 1971. Perhaps his legacy lived on and was most dramatically effective in the work of Frs Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff. Schmemann turned minds around to the prima theologia, a “liturgical theology” which did not dwell only on the details of liturgical history and the rites but sought to encompass all of ecclesial life, with the liturgy as the source of both faith and practice. Schmemann’s effort to restore as well as reform the liturgical life of the Orthodox Church was massive in impact. Not only did the language of the people return, rather than Slavonic or ancient Greek, the prayers were said aloud, especially the anaphora, the eucharistic prayer. This was not just didactic but so that the entire assembly could pray or better, as Afanasiev repeatedly stressed, could concelebrate the liturgy with the presider as the baptized, priestly, prophetic and royal people of God. Further, Schmemann and Meyendorff fought for the “local church” so crucial for Afanasiev in his efforts to gain autocephaly for his own church body in America with the ultimate goal a united, truly local church in America. Afanasiev is often criticized for having no place for mission or outreach in his ecclesiological view. Yet this alleged deficiency is best countered by attention not only to what he actually wrote but to the engagement with culture and society of Afanasiev’s own “local church,” the Exarchate of Paris and the Orthodox Church in America, shaped by those he helped form, Frs. Schmemann and Meyendorff.

If all of Fr. Afanasiev’s ecclesiological research and interpretation could be summed up it would be the line that has now become familiar: “The Church makes the Eucharist, the Eucharist makes the Church.” Now, years after Vatican II’s dogmatic constition on the Church, Lumen gentium in which Afanasiev’s vision was expressed (credit to him given in the Conciliar Acta) we take for granted the eucharistic nature of the Church and the ecclesial nature of the Eucharist, but previously both the Eastern and Western churches saw things otherwise.6 More often the Church was the canons, the hierarchical structure, the formal ecclesiastical organization, the historical and social institution. More often it was the question of who was in charge, who could do or not do this action. It was a matter of rules, protocols, rubrics, these in turn dependent upon the status of hierarch, cleric or layperson in a complex internal social structure. The “return-to-the-sources” on the part of so many scholars who were Afanasiev’s contemporaries was to both the “mind” and the practice of the Church of the Fathers. The reform here was both restoration of tradition and since that tradition was living, an authentic renewal as well. The way forward was back—to the scriptures, the liturgy and its texts, to the lived experience of the Church as a community that prayed and served God and the neighbor.

As both the present Church of the Holy Spirit and The Lord’s Supper make clear, individualism was the dominant strain in eucharistic celebration as well as piety. This piety made reception of holy communion a rare event, preceded by extreme ascetic practices of “preparation,” govenie, in the Russian idiom. If one could freeze-frame the year of, say 1950, on any given Sunday morning at the principal liturgy there would be few if any communicants in Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches and very likely no eucharistic celebration in other communions such as the Anglican, Lutheran or reformed. The eucharistic nature of the Church and the churchly nature of the Eucharist were by no means dominant in the ecclesial consciousness, nor had they been for years.

Afanasiev was not alone in his efforts to “return to the sources” of the Church’s life. In this he was accompanied by that ecumenical ressourcement group of scholars whose work later shaped much of the thinking of Vatican II. These included Jean Daniélou, Yves Congar, Oscar Cullman, Gregory Dix, Bernard Botte, I.-M Dallmais, M.D. Chenu and Henri de Lubac, among others. The photographs of participants in the first liturgical weeks at St. Sergius Institute (started by Fr. Afanasiev and Fr. Kern in 1953) testify to the ecumenical character of both the “return to the sources” and the efforts in liturgical renewal. Later there was the citation of his name by these and other such as Frs Schmemann and John Meyendorff who were graduates. Theologians such as Aidan Kavanagh, J.M-R. Tillard, Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, Boris Bobrinskoy recognize the importance of his contributions.7 Though aimed at different issues, Paul Bradshaw’s work also confirms the eucharistic shape of ecclesiology.8 Even his critics indicate a debt to his pioneer work in returning to the ecclesiology of the ancient Church.9 Relatively few critics outrightly dismiss Afanasiev’s framework.10

But criticism as well as limitation there must always be. Fr. Afanasiev’s work is now over a half century old. He began it in articles even further back, in the 1930s, but the ecclesiological focus crystallized in the late 1940s. Cut off from research libraries and colleagues by his pastoral care of the Orthodox parish in Tunisia during WWII, Afanasiev only completed a first draft of The Church of the Holy Spirit in 1948, defending it for his doctoral degree that year. He had published many of the chapters as journal articles and he continued this for the second companion volume, The Limits of the Church. But The Church of the Holy Spirit was only published posthumously, first in Russian in 1971 and in French translation in 1975.

Thus it is necessary to locate The Church of the Holy Spirit within the scholarly context of its time, admitting that research has progressed, that other studies would have to be consulted and perhaps even some perspectives modified. Perhaps his interpretation of Cyprian’s “universal ecclesiology” is skewed, taking what Cyprian judged to be a description of the local church in Carthage for the Church worldwide. Possibly criticism stems from uneasiness with many of Afanasiev’s conclusions, reading for example, anti-clericalism into his critique of the emergence of a clerical caste. I wonder whether or not the assumptions of some western, Roman Catholic critics originates in the decentralized, localized ecclesiology Afanasiev sketches, one still evident in the Eastern churches and continually baffling, if not problematic, to some western observers. I would echo Fr. John Meyendorff’s criticism of Afanasiev’s position on the important reforming Moscow Council of 1917-18.11 Afanasiev is critical of the Council’s use of the representation of the lower clergy and laity by delegates. He also objected to the deliberative role these delegates took in that council. Here and elsewhere he seems to draw a definitive line around the particular ministries of bishops, clergy and laity, lines that have been blurred virtually on a regular basis through church history.

Yet despite these and other criticisms, the enduring significance of Afanasiev’s ecclesiological study both in the present volume and his other writings is acknowledged even by critics. The appearance of this work, The Church of the Holy Spirit, in translation will allow both further analysis and criticism as well as assimilation of its conclusions. There is for example at present among the Orthodox (members of the episcopate in particular) significant ecclesiastical opposition to the essential conciliar or sobornal nature of the Church’s liturgy and structure. But when faced with the empirical history of the Church, it is hard to imagine scholarly refutation of its conciliar nature, East or West. Thus while the restorations and reforms of the Moscow Council of 1917-18 were implemented in only a few local churches, it is still difficult to dismiss the Council’s appeals to the liturgy, the scriptures, patristic writings and the structure and actions of many earlier general and local councils.

Likewise it is difficult to refute the eucharistic shape of the Church that Afanasiev points to in so many sources: the Pauline letters, the gospels, the writings of Ignatius of Antioch as well as Cyprian of Carthage whom he views as a proponent of a “universal ecclesiology.” Also there are John Chrysostom, Augustine, the Didache, and Justin Martyr, among others. And then there are both the ancient and present texts of the eucharistic liturgy themselves.

Most often the only work of Fr. Afanasiev's that is referred to is his essay, "The Church that Presides in Love," on the question of the primacy of the see of Peter in the churches.12 There he briefly develops the work that he unfolds in much greater depth in The Church of the Holy Spirit. It is a meticulous examination of the early church's eucharistic ecclesiology. Though often faulted for focusing solely on the Eucharist, the study begins in fact with what happens in baptism and chrismation, namely the consecration of each member of the Church as priest, prophet and king. Contrary to later theology which would divide the Church into clergy and laity on the basis of consecration for ministry, Afanasiev examines the texts of the baptismal liturgy as well as those of ordination and the Eucharist itself to show that all Christians are consecrated to priestly ministry. All the people of God, not just the bishops, presbyters and deacons, celebrate the Eucharist. More precisely, the Eucharist is concelebrated by all, as the prayers in the plural indicate. Likewise the same prayers of ordination as well as the testimonies of such fathers as Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus of Lyons are scrutinized in the emergence of the office of bishop from that of first presbyter. If the Eucharist cannot be celebrated unless done so by the presiders and the rest of the assembly, it follows that the calling and setting apart of the presiders must be for service. All were consecrated in baptism and chrismation for service to God in the Eucharist. All are also consecrated thereby to further service in the Church and the world, the service depending on one’s place (topos) or position in the assembly.

Central to the life of the early Church for Afanasiev was the constant presence and work of the Holy Spirit: “Where the Spirit is, there is the Church and all grace.” Historian that he was, he consistently faulted theologians for neglecting the divine nature and activity of the Church. Nevertheless he also faulted those who would overspiritualize the Church’s structures and activities, seeing such as near-Nestorian tendencies. Afanasiev further stresses the communal nature of the Church. It is not just the sum of its members. Rather, like Durkheim, he recognized that as a collectivity it had a social reality sui generis. In the Church, no one ever spoke or acted alone but “always and everywhere together” with the others, the epi to auto of Acts that punctuates his writings. Fundamental to his vision is the royal priesthood of all the baptized. Fr. Michel Evdokimov personally related many Sunday dinners in which Fr Afanasiev and his own father, the lay theologian Paul Evdokimov, both on the St. Sergius faculty, would discuss their work. Hence their mutual interest in the priesthood of all the baptized, in the connections between the vocations of marriage and monastic life, seemingly opposed to each other, in the assertion of the Church in its fullness in the eucharistic assembly, all the rest of Christian work and life flowing from this center.

One could easily characterize Afanasiev’s view of ecclesiology as pnematological, for while seeing the Church’s primary _expression as the eucharistic assembly, what distinguishes the Church from all other institutions is the presence and the gifts of the Spirit. The paramount gift of the Spirit for Afanasiev, as one can read in the last chapter of The Church of the Holy Spirit, was the “authority of love” (vlast’ lyubvi ). The Spirit’s love ruled the early Church, not laws, clerical elites or political figures. However this graced sense of consecrated membership and eucharistic community did not endure very long on its own. In the chapters that unfold here Afanasiev carefully tracks the emergence of dominance of law and of a clerical caste in the church. Here too one might emphasize that for Afanasiev the elements (panta) of the church that were not formed within the purview of love, even if they endured for centuries, would never be properly “of” the church nor affect its true life as one connected to the kingdom of love.13

The other somewhat controversial emphasis of Afanasiev is his insistence that the structure of that the Church is above all local, the immediate community that celebrates the Eucharist and from this extends itself in ministry to the world. The “local church” was not some isolated, atomic unit over against the universal “Church of God in Christ.” The only church known in the early centuries was the “local church” of this household or this city. That the “local church” possessed all the fullness of the Church was without question. However contrary to his critics, Afanasiev is almost obsessive in his insistence that the local church is only the church in communion with, along with all the other churches. In formulaic terms, 1+1+1=1. The aggregation of many local churches does not constitute a Church greater than any one of them. This said, it is impossible to fault Afanasiev for a reduction of the church to its smallest local _expression. The “parish” of our time may indeed be the “local church” in the sense that the early Christians understood it, yet one cannot simply equate today’s parish with the “local church” of which Afanasiev speaks and pit it against say the deanery, diocese, national church or the church catholic and ecumenical (oikumene).

Afanasiev’s examination of the early church in The Church of the Holy Spirit as well as his careful application of this to the church of his time remains relevant for us today, almost over a half century after he completed the first draft of it. Both the Eastern and Western churches face the challenges of external indifference as well as internal ones of extremism and despair. Fr. Afanasiev’s analysis and in particular his critique of the emergence of legalism and clericalism in the church is distinctive, a voice not heard in Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox theological scholarship and debate. His vision is rooted in the bread and cup on the holy table and in the Spirit-driven community gathered round it.14 He ended the introduction to this work much as his colleague and teacher Fr. Sergius Bulgakov ended many of his books, with the church’s eschatological cry, the name of the One who was to come and always is coming: the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For this reason, his voice deserves to be heard.

Baruch College of the City University of New York, St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church, Wappingers Falls, New York


1 Alexander Schmemann ,St Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, 1966, 10: 4, 209. The imprint of Fr. Afanasiev’s writing and teaching can be found throughout the work of Fr. Schmemann and for that matter, Fr. John Meyendorff. See for example, The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom, trans. Paul Kachur, (Crestwwod NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1988) one of the rare times that Afanasiev is credited explicitly on pp. 14, 17, 19. Also see 242-244.


2 The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983, ed. & trans. Juliana Schmemann (Crestwood NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2000).


3 Biographical sketches of Fr. Afanasiev by his wife, Marianne are the source for what follows: “La genèse de L’Église du Saint-Esprit,’ in both Tserkov Dukha Sviatogo (Paris: YMCA Press, 1971) and L’Église du Saint- Esprit, trans. Marianne Drobot, Paris: Cerf, 1975 and “Nicolas Afanasieff-essai de biographie,” Contacts, 66, II, 1969, 99-111. A substantial online collection of materials on Fr. Afanasiev is maintained by Andrei Platonov: http://www.golubinski.ru/academia/afanasieffnew.htm (last accessed July, 2006). Also see my Living Icons: Persons of Faith in the Eastern Church (University of Notre Dame Press, 2002, 2004), 149-177 as well as Richard Gaillardetz, “The Eucharistic Ecclesiology of Nicholas Afanasiev: Prospects and Challenges for Contemporary Ecumenical Dialogue,” Diakonia, 27, 1994, 18-44.


4 See Marianne Afanasiev’s discussion in L’Église du Saint-Esprit, pp, 20-21 as well as the notes to Nicolas Afanasieff, “L’Église de Dieu dans le Christ,” La pensée orthodoxe 13, 2, 1968, pp. 1-38.


5 See Aidan Nichols, O.P., Theology in the Russian Diaspora: Church, Fathers, Eucharist in Nikolai Afanas’ev, (Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 253, 270. The reference is to Acta Synodalia Sacrosancti Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani Secundi (Vatican City, 1971), vol. I, pt. 4, 87, note 2; vol. II, pt. 1, 251, note 27; vol. 3, pt. 1, 254.


6 See for example The Catechism of The Catholic Church, (NY: Doubleday/ Image, 1995), paragraphs 1118, 1166-67, 1343, 1396, 1407, 2177.


7 See Aidan Kavanagh, On Liturgical Theology (Collegeville MN: Pueblo/Liturgical Press, 1984), J.M.-R. Tillard, Church of Churches; Flesh of the Church, Flesh of Christ, (Collegeville MN: Michael Glazier/Pueblo/Liturgical Press, 1992, 2001); Hilarion Alfayev, “Orthodox Theology on the Threshold of the 21st century,” and Boris Bobrinskoy, “The Holy Spirit in 20th Century Russian Theology,” The Ecumenical Review, 52, July, 2000.


8 Eucharistic Origins, Oxford University Press, 2004.


9 Over the years critics have included Metropolitan John (Zizioulas), Bishop Kallistos (Ware), Aidan Nichols, Peter Plank, T. Camelot, Paul McPartlan, and John Erickson. See among these Joseph G. Aryankalayil. Local Church and Church Universal: Towards a Convergence between East and West: A Study on the Theology of the Local Church according to N. Afanasiev and J. M.-R. Tillard with Special Reference to Some of the Contemporary Catholic and Orthodox Theologians, Fribourg, 2004.


10 An exception appears to be Lucian Turcescu , Dimitru Staniloe: Tradition and Modernity in Theology, (Iasi/ Oxford: Center for Romanian Studies, 2002,) especally “Eucharistic ecclesiology or Open Sobornicity,” pp. 83-103.


11 “Hierarchy and Laity in the Orthodox Church,” Vestnik RSKhD [Messenger of Russian Student Christian Movement] (Paris, 1955,) No. 39, pp. 36-45.


12 The Primacy of Peter, ed. John Meyendorff, (Crestwood NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1992, pp. 91-143. L'apotre Pierre et l' évêque de Rome--A propos du livre d'Oscar Cullmann «Saint Pierre, Disciple -Apôtre - Martyr. Neuchatel - Paris 1952, Theologia ΚΣΤ', Athènes 1955, p. 465-475; 620-641.


13 I am indebted to my colleague Fr. Alexis Vinogradov for this insight.


14 Also see Fr. Afanasiev’s very bold application of his ecclesiological perspective to the issues of restoring unity among the churches in his essays, “Una sancta” and “The Eucharist: The Principal Link between the Catholics and the Orthodox,” in Tradition Alive: On the Church and the Christian Life in Our Time-Readings from the Eastern Church, ed. Michael Plekon, (Lanham MD: Sheed & Ward/Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp. 3-30, 47-49.

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