The Church of the Holy Spirit, written by Russian priest and scholar Nicholas Afanasiev (1893–1966), is one of the most important works of twentieth-century Orthodox theology. Afanasiev was a member of the “Paris School” of émigré intellectuals who gathered in Paris after the Russian revolution, where he became a member of the faculty of St. Sergius Orthodox Seminary. The Church of the Holy Spirit, which offers a rediscovery of the eucharistic and communal nature of the church in the first several centuries, was written over a number of years beginning in the 1940s and continuously revised until its posthumous publication in French in 1971.
Vitaly Permiakov's lucid translation and Michael Plekon's careful editing and substantive introduction make this important work available for the first time to an English-speaking audience.
"Nicholas Afanasiev is perhaps the most important ecclesiologist of modern times in the Orthodox world. The Church of the Holy Spirit is a very important book, a magnum opus, demonstrating that Afanasiev himself is undoubtedly a major twentieth-century theologian.” —John McGuckin, Nielsen Professor of Early Ecclesiastical History, Union Theological Seminary
“One of the great contributions of the Second Vatican Council was its recovery of a Eucharistic ecclesiology. Yet over a decade before the council, one of the most influential theologians of the Eastern Orthodox communion, Nicholas Afanasiev, was helping his own tradition recover its Eucharistic foundations. The publication of one of his most significant works, The Church of the Holy Spirit, which the University of Notre Dame Press has now made available in English translation, will allow contemporary readers to discover the provocative, insightful and sometimes idiosyncratic perspectives of this seminal Orthodox theologian.” —Richard R. Gaillardetz, Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies, University of Toledo.
“Fr. Nicholas Afanasiev's The Church of the Holy Spirit is truly a seminal work of the twentieth-century, an indispensable monument of theological reflection on the Church and her Liturgy. Written over many years, in sustained engagement with the historical experience of the Church and contemporary Eastern and Western theology, the work became itself a catalyst in both eucharistic practice and ecclesiological reflection. This splendid English translation will provide the opportunity for Afanasiev's contribution to be more fully appreciated and critically appropriated.” —Rev. Dr. John Behr, Dean, St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary