Sergei Bulgakov

BulgakovSergei Bulgakov (1871-1944) – Longtime colleague and friend of Berdyaev, Bulgakov’s career followed a similar path, although more strongly tied to the Orthodox Church and economics. Bulgakov was also more politically engaged. In addition to contributing to Marxist theory, he was elected as a Christian socialist to Russia’s Second Duma (Parliament) and participated in the Great Sobor (Church Council) in 1917-1918.

Bulgakov was also targeted by Lenin in the arrests and expulsion of The 160 in 1922.

Son of an Orthodox Priest, Bulgakov became ordained in 1918 and was part of the Bratstvo sviatoi Sofii. In exile, he reconstituted the Bratstvo in 1923 and helped found St. Sergius Orthodox Seminary in Paris with financial help orchestrated by the YMCA. Like Solovyov, Bulgakov advocated ecumenism and worked for the reunification of the Christian Churches.

Of all the members of the Bratstvo (with the exception of Struve and Novgorodtsev), Bulgakov made economics his key field of focus and expertise. He may be better known today for his unusual brand of mystical theology wrapped up in Sophiology—a theological concept regarding the Wisdom (Sophia) of God—for which he was condemned as a heretic late in his life.

Bulgakov had no patience for “arm-chair thinkers” and made a very practical impact on the Russian ideas of Spiritual Philosophy. In his comprehensive critique of economic materialism and an alternative, authentically Russian way forward Philosophy as Economy: The World as Household (1918), Bulgakov placed their vision of humanity in concrete terms, both from a technical, economic standpoint and a global philosophical one.

  • The full list of Bulgakov’s writings may be found in: Naumov, Kliment. Bibliographie des oeuvres de Serge Boulgakov. Paris: Institut d’études slaves, 1984.
  • Bulgakov, Sergei, N. Avtobiograficheskie zametki. 2nd ed. Paris: YMCA-Press, 1991.
  • —. Sochinenia v dvukh tomakh. 2 Vols. Moscow: Nauka, 1993.
  • Evtuhov, Catherine. “Sergei Bulgakov: A Study in Modernism and Society in Russia, 1900-1918.” Diss. University of California at Berkeley, 1992.
  • Zander, Lev. Bog i mir. 2 Vols. Paris: YMCA-Press, 1948.

Thanks to the Sergei Bulgakov Online Library (no longer active) for the below citations.  A copy of this very valuable resource has been made here.

Selected Books and Articles by Bulgakov available Online:


  • Milbank on Sophiology – By Joel Garver in his blog, Sacra Doctrina. This relates to Professor John Milbank’s recent (2005) reflections on Sophiology, in Bulgakov and more generally. Milbank’s presentation was given at the Theology and Philosophy Cooperativemeeting on November 18, 2005, in Philadelphia.
  • Sophia – A report by Peter J. Leithart at his blog concerning the presentation by Professor John Milbank at the Theology and Philosophy Cooperativemeeting on November 18, 2005, in Philadelphia. This was in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. Professor Milbank’s presentation touches on an approach to understanding Sophia in Bulgakov’s work and on the meaning and function of Sophia more generally.
  • Sergius Bulgakov on Church Unity – By Andrew Matthews on March 26, 2005, at his Unpopular Opinions: Challenging the status quo in church and stateblog
  • Thoughts on Fr. Sergius Bulgakov– Evlogite blog entry, from September 16, 2004
  • Wisdom Christology– blog thread from August 8, 2004, largely on Sergius Bulgakov
  • On The Eucharistic Dogma– Pontifications blog thread, from June 21, 2004, on this book by Sergius Bulgakov.
  • Running Off at the Keyboard: about the world seen through Catholic eyes– Blog entries for February 1-7, 2004, by Carrie Tomko. Although these are focused largely on Solovyov and Sophiology, there are numerious references to Bulgakov.
  • Should Catholics Follow the Utopian Vision of Modern Democracies? Part III-3 The Problems of Utopia– Blog entry (June 2007) by Henry Karlson at the on-line journal, Nova Vox. Contains reference to Bulgakov’s “Heroism and Asceticism” essay.
  • Sergius Bulgakov on the Incarnation – March 5, 2008, blog entry by Joe Rawls at his The Byzantine Anglo-Catholic blog.
  • Bulgakov Encyclopedia entries on-line:
  • Fr. Sergius Bulgakov– St. Pachomius Library entry by Norman Hugh Redington
  • Sergej Nikolajewitsch Bulgakow – Entry by Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz in the Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon(in German)
  • Sergey Nikolayevich Bulgakov- article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (access to full article requires registration)
  • Sophia – article by Mikhail Sergeev in the Polish encyclopedic dictionary, Ideas in Russia: Russian-Polish-English Leksikon, ed. Andrzej de Lazari, vol. 4, Lodz, Poland, 2001, pp. 524-535.

Other web pages dedicated to Sergius Bulgakov:


Other resources (primary):

  • Problems of Idealism: Essays in Russian Social Philosophy– Book edited by Randall A. Poole. Contains essays by Bulgakov and others.
  • A Bulgakov Anthology: From Marxism to Christian Orthodoxy– Book edited by Nicholas Zernov and James Pain
  • Sophia, the Wisdom of God: An Outline of Sophiology (Library of Russian Philosophy)– By Sergius Bulgakov
  • The Holy Grail and the Eucharist– By Sergius Bulgakov, translated by Boris Jakim
  • The Virgin and the Saints in Orthodoxy – By Sergius Bulgakov, a chapter in Eastern Orthodox Theology(Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995) edited by Daniel B. Clendenin
  • Orthodoxy and Modern Society – Book edited by Robert Bird, University of Chicago. Contains three important essays by Bulgakov: “Social Teaching in Modern Russian Orthodox Theology,” “Russian Society and Religion,” and “Sophia.” Supplemented by a bibliography of Bulgakov’s works in English. This and other relevant titles can also be purchased directly from the author/publisher (Variable Press).
  • Apocatastasis and Transfiguration – Book edited by Robert Bird, University of Chicago. The main part of the book comprises an essay excerpted from Bulgakov’s Bride of the Lamb, part of his sophiological trilogy, which gives a good introduction into Bulgakov’s theology. The essay is supplemented by a memoir of Bulgakov by Sister Joanna Reitlinger and an introduction by the translator, Boris Jakim. This and other relevant titles can also be purchased directly from the author/publisher (Variable Press).
  • “The Correspondence of Bulgakov and Florovsky: Chronicle of a Friendship.” Wiener Slavistischer Almanach (Munich) 38, Fall 1996, pp. 37-49 – By Catherine Evtuhov, Georgetown University. See Professor Evtuhov’s link for other related edited materials.
  • The Light that Never Sets – A book notice (in English) of a book (in Italian) by Sergej Bulgakov, as translated into Italian by Maria Campatelli and introduced by Piero Coda

Other resources (secondary):

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