Soloviev, Vladimir Sergeevich
Portrait of the Philosopher and Poet Vladimir Soloviev.
Oil on canvas. 113 x 94.
The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Soloviev, Vladimir Sergeevich (1853-1900) Russian philosopher, theologian and poet, born in Moscow, son of the historian Sergey Mikhailovich Soloviev. He proposed a universal Christianity, which would unite the Catholic and Orthodox churches, and attempted a synthesis of religious philosophy with science. His main works were ‘The Crisis of Western Philosophy’ (1875), ‘The Philosophical Principles and Integral Knowledge’ (1877), ‘Russia and the Universal Church’ (1889) and ‘The Justification of the Good’ (1898).
Vladimir Solovyov was born in Moscow on 16 January 1853, in the family of well-known Russian historian Sergey Mikhaylovich Solovyov (1820 – 1879). His mother, Polixena Vladimirovna, belonged to a Ukrainian-Polish family, having among her ancestors a remarkable thinker the 18th century Hryhori Skovoroda (1722 – 1794).
In his teens Solovyov renounced Orthodox Christianity for nihilism though later Solovyov changed his earlier convictions and began expressing views in line again with the Russian Orthodox Church. What prompted this radical change appears to be Solovyov's disapproval of the Positivist movement. In Solovyov's The Crisis of Western Philosophy: Against the Positivists he attempted to discredit the Positivists' rejection of Aristotle's essentialism or philosophical realism. In Against the Postivists, Solovyov took the position of intuitive noetic comprehension, noesis or insight stating consciousness, in being is integral (Russian term being sobornost) and has to have both phenomenon (validated by dianonia) and noumenon validated intuitively. Positivism according to Solovyov only validates the phenomenon of an object denying the intuitive reality people experience as part of their consciousness.
Nikolay Yaroshenko. Portrait of the Philosopher and Poet Vladimir Soloviev
Vladimir Solovyov was also known to be a very close friend and confidant of Fyodor Dostoevsky. In opposition to Dostoevsky's apparent views of the Roman Catholic church, Solovyov has been rumored to have converted to Roman Catholicism four years before his death. It could be said that he did this to engage in the reconciliation (ecumenism, sobornost) between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, a reconciliation that Solovyov outspokenly favored, but Solovyov himself always maintained that he was still a Russian Orthodox believer and that he had never left the Orthodox faith. The rumor that Solovyov converted to Roman Catholicism has been discarded as inaccurate by scholars. Solovyov believed that his mission in life was to move people toward reconciliation or absolute unity or sobornost.
1 October 1894
Pan Mongolism! The name is monstrous
Yet it caresses my ear
As if filled with the portent
Of a grand divine fate.
While in corrupt Byzantium
The altar of God lay cooling
And holy men, princes, people and king
Renounced the Messiah -
Then He invoked from the East
An unknown and alien people,
And beneath the heavy hand of fate
The second Rome bowed down in the dust.
We have no desire to learn
From fallen Byzantium's fate,
And Russia's flatterers insist:
It is you, you are the third Rome.
Let it be so! God has not yet
Emptied his wrathful hand.
A swarm of waking tribes
Prepares for new attacks.
From the Altai to Malaysian shores
The leaders of Eastern isles
Have gathered a host of regiments
By China's defeated walls.
Countless as locusts
And as ravenous,
Shielded by an unearthly power
The tribes move north.
O Rus'! Forget your former glory:
The two-headed eagle is ravaged,
And your tattered banners passed
Like toys among yellow children.
He who neglects love's legacy,
Will be overcome by trembling fear...
And the third Rome will fall to dust,
Nor will there ever be a fourth.
The Eye of Eternity
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me".
Above white earth a single, single
And draws one along a path of ether
To iself - there.
Oh, why is it so? In one steady gaze
All wonders dwell,
The mysterious sea of all life,
And the heavens.
That gaze is so close and so clear -
You, too, will be measureless and sublime -
Master of all.
If desires fly by like shadows,
If vows are empty words,
Is it worth it to live in this fog of delusion,
Is it worth it to live if the truth is dead?
Does one need eternity for useless striving,
Does one need eternity for deceptive words?
What is worthy of life lives without doubts,
A higher power knows no bonds.
Knowing one's own higher power,
Why wail on about childish dreams?
Life is just an exploit,яand the living truth
Shines like immortality in moldering graves.