Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany Speaks in Munich On Leo Tolstoy and His Religious Views

Munich, October 28, 2010

On October 26, 2010, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany lectured at MIR Russian Cultural Center in Munich on the topic “Leo Tolstoy and Religion,” in which he gave a sharp critique of the religious view of the great Russia author.

The topicality of Vladyka Mark’s speech relates to the fact that in contemporary Germany, the philosophical religious outlook of Leo Tolstoy are practically unknown for the common German reader. Most are not familiar with his works “My Confession” and “What I Believe,” which reflected the path of Tolstoy’s spiritual search.

Archbishop Mark described Tolstoy as a person and writer who, though bestowed by God with an uncommon intellect, nevertheless rejected the true faith, attempting to found “his own religion” which had no relation to Christianity or Jesus Christ. His distorted spiritual pursuits and chaos remained with Tolstoy until his very death, noted the speaker.

The “theology” of Tolstoy did not recognize the Triune God and rejected the Mysteries of the Church. At the same time, from his lofty social perch in Russia, Tolstoy tried to provoke criticism of the Orthodox faith.

Still, Vladyka Mark concluded his speech with the following words: “I hope that my spiritual ponderings will not prevent you from reading the works of this remarkable writer.”

This was not the first lecture by Archbishop Mark in Munich on spiritual topics in the Tolstoy Russian Library. Although he most often delivers speeches in Russian, this time he spoke in German. Vladyka had studied in the Historical-Philological Department in Frankfurt-am-Main, and later in Heidelberg University under Professor Dmitry Chizhevsky. Concentrating on the Slavic and English languages, Vladyka Mark, already fluent in Russian, studied Serbo-Croatian, Slovakian, Czech and Macedoniam language and literature. His doctoral dissertation was on “Biographical Literature of the Tver Duchy of the 14th and 15th Centuries.”

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