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Title: The ecclesiology of St Basil the Great : a Trinitarian approach to the life of the Church
Author: Druzhinina, Olga
ISNI:       0000 0004 5919 8824
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis analyses St Basil’s understanding of the Church with a focus on his Trinitarian approach to its life. Although the role of God the Trinity in the life of the Church occupies a considerable place in St Basil’s thought this subject has not been previously addressed by scholars. Based on research of primary texts of St Basil the thesis explores the ideas of the Church that are found in his works, how these ideas shape his ecclesiology, and in what sense there is a Trinitarian approach. The research shows that St Basil perceives the Church in a consistently Trinitarian fashion where all Persons of the Trinity are involved in the life of the community. Moreover, the eschatological perspective from which St Basil sees the divine and human actions reveals the connections between God’s plan at the creation of the world, the existence of the Church and the destiny of humanity, which is Christlikeness and life eternal in the heavenly Ekklesia with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The thesis also brings to light St Basil’s perception of the Church as a two-dimensional mystical reality with a strong bond between both parts (heavenly and earthly). This view has also not received much scholarly attention to date. The analysis of the life of the Church that is grounded in Trinitarian philanthropy provides further insights into St Basil’s understanding of this worldwide fellowship of believers. The thesis shows that the Church is depicted by St Basil as a new social entity where God assembles His children providing for them the proper environment for their growth and development. The study of Basil’s use of metaphors elucidates and enriches the overall picture of the Church that is portrayed in his works as the Mother of believers, the Daughter of the King, the Bride and the Body of Christ. This reveals the relation between the Church and her Trinitarian Creator who is always present with her. Dealing with the mysteries of the Church, its liturgy and penitential discipline, the thesis discloses the inward life of the Church which is closely connected with Trinitarian confession as “saving confession” in Basil’s thought. The same underlying concern for proper Trinitarian teaching is also discussed in relation to the unity of the Church. Special attention is paid to the role of Christian leaders and councils, which should serve as a means of keeping unity and peace inside the local congregations as well as between them. The thesis also explores how St Basil perceives God’s plan for the world and the role of Christians as good servants of the Triune God whose philanthropy they are supposed to reveal through their ministry both to the poor and to the rich. Proceeding with the analysis of the practical achievements, the last chapter demonstrates to what extend St Basil, motivated by his beliefs, was able to apply his ideas about the Church and her relation to God the Trinity in a particular socio-historical context in the life of his monastic communities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Basil the Great ; ecclesiology ; Trinity