Fr. Georges Florovsky Papers

Subject: Florovsky, Georges, 1893-1979

Collection Date(s): 1929-1979

Extent and Forms of Material:
89 cartons; Correspondence, manuscripts, notes, pictures, postcards, and xeroxed papers. 

Biographical data:
Born in Russia of highly educated clergy family; received gymnasium and university education in Odessa; taught philosophy at Odessa University until 1920, when left with parents and sister to seek refuge in Bulgaria from Russian Revolution. Resided in Sofia; then Prague, where he taught at Russian Law Faculty and married Xenia Ivanovna Simonova, also from Russia. In 1926 moved to Paris where he taught patristics at the St. Sergius Theological Academy until the outbreak ofwar in Europe. Ordained to the priesthood in 1932. Became active in ecumenical work in mid-1930s, initially in the Orthodox-Anglican Fellowship of St.Albans and St.Sergius,then in the formation meetings of the ecumenical movement, mainly of Faith and Order, that after the war led to establishment of the World Council of Churches. Spent war years in Belgrade teaching in Serbo-Russian gymnasium for boys and girls. Towards the war's end, returned via Prague to Paris to take up teaching again at St. Sergius Institute. In 1948 moved to America to teach dogmatic theology and patristics and become Dean at St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary in New York. From 1956 to 1964 11" was professor of Eastern Church History at Harvard University Divinity School.Upon retirement, was appointed Visiting Professor of Slavic and Religion at Princeton University, serving from 1964 to 1972, was then at Princeton Theological Seminary as Visiting Lecturer in Church History until his death in 1979. Continued high level activity in ecumenical movement as a member of the Central Committee and the Executive Committee of  the World Council of Churches until 1962, and as a member of the Commission on Faith and Order until the mid 1970's. Author of four books and over 350 other writings: essays. articles, book reviews, forewords, encyclopedia articles, homiletical writings. sermons. His writings have appeared in some dozen languages. Until the 1930s wrote mostly in Russian, then coinciding with his change pf milieu from work within the Russian emigration in Europe to serving as Orthodoxy's foremost spokesman in the ecumenical movement, apart from his contributions to the World Council of Churches. He became known for his pioneer studies in Patristics and in Russian religious thought and for his remarkable bibliographical erudition. His most: praised work, still a classic, is The Ways of Russian Theology.

Language of Material: English, Russian, Greek, and French

Scope and Content:Collection spans the duration of the creator's career. Includes correspondence, notes, and personal materials from his early years as a student in Europe and later on as a scholar in the United States. Most of the collection consists of xeroxed papers from academic journals and theological literature that were created and annotated by Fr. Florovsky.

Subject Headings

  • Church History
  • Ecumenical Movement
  • National Council of Churches
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Philosophy, Russian
  • Religion--Philosophy
  • St. Sergius Theological Institute (Paris, France)
  • St. Vladimir's Theological Seminary (Crestwood, N.Y.)
  • Theological Education
  • Ukraine--Church History
  • World Council of Churches

System of Arrangement: Aside from the correspondence, which is in chronological order, the rest of the collection is arranged into fourteen general subjects (see below). This finding aid was compiled by Irina Itina (a former librarian at St. Vladimir's) and Anna Tsipenyuk. It was published in Georges Florovsky: Russian Intellectual & Orthodox Churchman, which was edited by Andrew Blane.

Collection Arrangement:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Manuscripts and Papers
  3. Offprints and Xeroxes of Florovsky's Writings
  4. Florovsky Notes
  5. Photographs
  6. Academic Institutions, Religious Societies
  7. World Council of Churches
  8. Xeroxes from Books and Periodicals
  9. Xeroxes from Books and Periodicals with Florovsky Notations
  10. Newspaper, Magazine, Periodical Clippings
  11. Papers of Students and Others
  12. Information Bulletins
  13. Picture Postcards
  14. Miscellaneous