Sophiology

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Ukrainian (Kyiv) Icon, Theotokos as Sophia, the Holy Wisdom, 1812.

In Christian theology, Sophiology is concerned with the interpretation of Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) specifically in the context of Russian Orthodoxy, where a theological controversy regarding the interpretation of Divine Wisdom as a feminine "fourth hypostasis" in the late 19th and early 20th century.[1]

In the Orthodox Church, "sophiology" is often regarded as equivalent to sophianism, which has been condemned as heretical by the Patriarch of Moscow[2] and other Orthodox hierarchs, who decided to "...recognize the teaching of Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov on Sophia the Wisdom of God as heretical".[3]

Personified representations of Holy Wisdom (Ἁγία Σοφία) or the "Wisdom of God" refer in Orthodox theology to the person of Jesus Christ, as illustrated in the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicaea II, 787): "Our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, the self-existent Wisdom of God the Father, Who manifested Himself in the flesh, and by His great and divine dispensation (lit. economy) freed us from the snares of idolatry, clothing Himself in our nature, restored it through the cooperation of the Spirit, Who shares His mind..."[4] More recently it has been stated that, "From the most ancient times and onwards many Orthodox countries have been consecrating churches to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God."[5] There exist Orthodox Christian icons and churches which bear the name "Saint Sophia" (see Hagia Sophia (disambiguation)), but this is typically not in reference to a specific individual, saint or angel, named "Sophia". Often it is a mistaken[dubious ] translation of Ἁγία Σοφία, properly rendered "Holy Wisdom", a Christological title used in the Orthodox Tradition.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ W. Goerdt in The Encyclodedia of Christianity (2008), p. 122.
  2. ^ "The teaching of Professor and Archpriest S.N. Bulgakov -- which, by its peculiar and arbitrary (Sophian) interpretation, often distorts the dogmas of the Orthodox faith, which in some of its points directly repeats false teachings already condemned by conciliar decisions of the Church..." Moscow Patriarchate (1935) Decision No. 93
  3. ^ Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (1935) Decision of the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad of the 17/30 October 1935 concerning the new teaching of Archpriest Sergei Bulgakov on Sophia, the Wisdom of God
  4. ^ Acts of the Second Council of Nicea, http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/nicea2.html
  5. ^ Sobolev, Archbishop Seraphim (1935) The New Teaching concerning Sophia the Wisdom of God. p. 121

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