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'Pancosmic' Church - Specific Romanesc: Ecclesiological Themes in the Writings of Nichifor Crainic between 1922 and 1944
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is concerned with the Romanian Orthodox poet, director of the journal Gândirea, and theologian, Nichifor Crainic (1889-1972), and with the two over-arching ecclesiological themes in his writings between 1922 and 1944 — the pancosmic Church and specificul românesc (the particularity of Romanian identity). Though these are fundamentally related to each other, there are many tensions between them, as the relationship between local and particular identity and pancosmic universality is worked out against the complex political backdrop of 20-th century Romania. Crainic strove to shape a sense of Romanian national identity that was inseparable from an Orthodox understanding of the nature and destiny of the human person – a transfiguration of human life within a transfigured cosmos.

Against the background of Crainic’s life and work, and the historical antecedents and context of his era, the hypothesis that his vision of the ‘pancosmic Church’ was the foundation of his thinking, and the context and object of his theological writings is tested in this work.

Crainic introduced for the first time into Romanian academic theology the preoccupation with mystical theology. In recognising theosis as the goal of the divine-human relationship, that is, of the theandric mode of operation revealed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, Crainic was firmly rooted in the Orthodox patristic tradition and in its cosmic understanding of the Church’s life and identity as foretaste of the eschatological age. Proceeding from his vision of the pancosmic Church, his interpretation of culture, in particular Romanian culture, art and Byzantine artistic style, and of the relationship between Church and nation, opens up a fresh understanding of personal holiness and corporate national identity. In a stance that was not common in the political arena, Crainic saw the national ideal as a transitional ideal, asserting that the permanent ideal of a nation is to transcend itself.

The pancosmic Church is presented in Crainic’s ecclesiology as the consummation of the whole created order, visible and invisible, in Christ, enabling specificul românesc, the particularity of Romanian national identity, to be understood as an important though transitional and transformative step, an ever changing movement towards that eschatological destiny.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Teologiska institutionen , 2008. , 309 p.
Keyword [en]
Crainic, ‘pancosmic’ Church, Church-State relations, demophilia, ethnocracy, specificul românesc, Gândirea, Romanian Orthodox Church, cosmic ecclesiology, Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, hesychasm, theosis, hierarchy, nationalism
National Category
Religious Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8734ISBN: 978-91-506-2005-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-8734DiVA: diva2:172041
Public defence
2008-05-14, Geijersalen, Universitetshuset, Uppsala, 10:00
Available from: 2008-04-23 Created: 2008-04-23Bibliographically approved

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