These two moving studies by the eminent Orthodox theologian and
sophiologist Father Sergei Bulgakov are remarkable in many ways.
The first is a unique consideration -- from the point of view of
Eastern Christianity -- of the Holy Grail, the chalice used by
Joseph of Arimathea to catch the blood and water as it flowed from
Jesus' side when it was pierced on the Cross by the spear of
Longinus. This moment is described in John 19:34. Bulgakov's essay
is a "dogmatic exegesis" of this passage in which, with astounding
passion and precision, he reveals that the Earth itself and hence
the human universe is the Grail wherein Christ lives forever. The
second essay is also unique: the most important contribution to
eucharitic theology by an Orthodox theologian. In the West, the
meaning of the Communion bread and wine as the Christ's Body and
Blood has been interpreted largely in philosophical terms deriving
from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas. Bulgakov insists on a
christological and Gospel-based interpretation, one with tremendous
significance for our understanding of the supernatural and
sophianic nature of a world interpenetrated by the divine. Thus,
this little book is a priceless gift, enriching our understanding
of the Christian mystery and two of its deepest aspects, the Grail
and the Eucharist.
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