Dr. Paul L. Gavrilyuk
Aquinas Chair in Theology and Philosophy
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue/JRC 153
St. Paul, MN 55105
Office: John Roach Center 140
Office phone: 651-962-5326
Dr. Gavrilyuk's Amazon author page
Dr. Gavrilyuk's publications and talks at academia.edu
Paul L. Gavrilyuk holds the Aquinas Chair in
Theology and Philosophy at the Theology Department of the University of St
Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he studied physics at
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Russia (1988-1993). He was one of
the first scholars from the former Soviet Union to come to the United States to
pursue graduate work in theology. In 2001, he received his doctorate in
patristics from the Graduate Program in Religious Studies at Southern Methodist
University in Dallas, Texas.
An Orthodox theologian and historian, Dr. Gavrilyuk specializes in Greek patristics and modern Russian religious thought. His areas of interest also include philosophy of religion, liturgical studies, and ecumenical studies. Gavrilyuk is the author or editor of several books: The Suffering of the Impassible God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; Spanish edition in 2012; Romanian edition in 2013), Histoire du catéchuménat dans l’église ancienne [A History of the Catechumenate in the Early Church] (Paris: Le Cerf, 2007; Russian edition in 2001), Immersed in the Life of God: The Healing Resources of the Christian Faith. Essays in Honor of William J. Abraham, co-edited with Douglas Koskela and Jason Vickers (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2008), The Spiritual Senses: Perceiving God in Western Christianity, co-edited with Sarah Coakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012; Polish translation in 2014), and most recently, Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013; Romanian translation in 2015; authorized Russian edition in 2015; expanded Greek edition in 2016). His scholarly articles have appeared in The Journal of Theological Studies, Scottish Journal of Theology, Vigiliae Christianae, Modern Theology, First Things, Studia Liturgica, as well as Greek and Russian academic journals. He is also a contributor to encyclopedias, dictionaries, and multi-author symposia.
An internationally recognized scholar and teacher, Dr. Gavrilyuk has had speaking engagements or taught courses in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Italy, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and United States. His visiting teaching appointments include Harvard Divinity School (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Spring 2007), Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, Summer 2013), the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas (Rome, Italy, Fall 2005), and Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine, March 2005).
At the University of St Thomas, Dr. Gavrilyuk teaches a broad range of subjects, from introductory undergraduate course ‘Christian Theological Tradition’ to more specialized graduate courses, such as ‘Patristics’ and ‘Eastern Christianity’. He is the founder and organizer of the Theology Department’s public lecture series, New Frontiers in Theological Research, and Inderdisciplinary Faculty Colloquium.
For the full list of publications see the curriculum vitae listed above.
The Suffering of the Impassible
God: The Dialectics of Patristic Thought
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
Spanish edition: El Sufrimiento del Dios impasible, trans. Juan Garcia-Baró (Salamanca: Editiones Sígueme, 2012)
Romanian edition: Pătimirea dumnezeului nepătimitor Dialecticile găndirii patristice, trans. Dragoş Dâscă (Ilassy: Doxologia, 2013)
The book provides a major reconsideration of the issue of divine
suffering and divine emotions in the early Church Fathers. Patristic
writers are commonly criticized for falling prey to Hellenistic
philosophy and uncritically accepting the claim that God cannot suffer
or feel emotions. Gavrilyuk shows that this view represents a misreading
of evidence. In contrast, he construes the development of patristic
thought as a series of dialectical turning points taken to safeguard the
paradox of God's voluntary and salvific suffering in the Incarnation.
History of the Catechumenate in the
Russian edition: Istoriia katekhizatsii v drevnei tserkvi (Moscow, 2001)
French edition: Histoire du catéchuménat dans l’Église ancienne, trans. Francoise Lhoest et al. (Paris: Le Cerf, 2007)
The book is a contribution to the
ongoing discussion of the structure and content of the ancient
catechetical practices and their value for the contemporary revival of
Christian initiation. The study traces, in broad lines, the development
of selected regional catechetical practices from the apostolic to the
early Medieval period. Special attention is given to the setting of the
catechumenate in baptismal, liturgical, penitential, ascetic, and
exorcistic practices of the church. The influence of the catechumenate
upon the development of the creeds, doctrine and church architecture is
discussed. The role of the catechumenate among other methods of
conversion is emphasized.
Immersed in the Life of God: The Healing Resources of
the Christian Faith. Essays in Honor of William J. Abraham,
co-edited with Douglas Koskela and Jason Vickers (Grand Rapids, Mich.:
In this volume honoring William J. Abraham, noted
theologians, philosophers, and historians offer erudite analysis of
various aspects of the faith Scripture, conversion, initiation, liturgy,
confession, reconciliation, and more and explore how those elements can
serve to effect healing in broken lives. Brilliantly highlighting the
therapeutic function of the means of grace available in Christian
tradition, Immersed in the Life of God opens a conversation
concerning an important theme too often neglected in the church today. /
Contributors: Frederick D. Aquino, Ellen T. Charry, Paul L. Gavrilyuk,
Douglas M. Koskela, Sandra Menssen, R. R. Reno, Thomas D. Sullivan,
Jason E. Vickers, Geoffrey Wainwright, Robert W. Wall and Jerry L. Wals.
Spiritual Senses: Perceiving God in Western Christianity, co-edited
with Sarah Coakley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012) [Polish translation in 2014]
Is it possible to see, hear, touch, smell and taste God? How do we understand the biblical promise that the 'pure in heart' will 'see God'? Christian thinkers as diverse as Origen of Alexandria, Bonaventure, Jonathan Edwards and Hans Urs von Balthasar have all approached these questions in distinctive ways by appealing to the concept of the 'spiritual senses'. In focusing on the Christian tradition of the 'spiritual senses', this book discusses how these senses relate to the physical senses and the body, and analyzes their relationship to mind, heart, emotions, will, desire and judgement. The contributors illuminate the different ways in which classic Christian authors have treated this topic, and indicate the epistemological and spiritual import of these understandings. The concept of the 'spiritual senses' is thereby importantly recovered for contemporary theological anthropology and philosophy of religion.
Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) [Romanian translation in 2015; authorized Russian edition in 2015; expanded Greek edition in 2016]
Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a "return to the Church Fathers" in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision—the neopatristic synthesis—became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing on Florovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study analyzes how Florovsky's evolving interpretation of Russian religious thought, particularly Vladimir Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov, informed his approach to patristic sources. Paul Gavrilyuk offers a new reading of Florovsky's neopatristic theology, by closely considering its ontological, epistemological, and ecclesiological foundations.
It is common to contrast Florovsky's neopatristic
theology with the "modernist" religious philosophies of Pavel Florensky,
Sergius Bulgakov, and other representatives of the Russian Religious
Renaissance. Gavrilyuk argues that the standard narrative of
twentieth-century Orthodox theology, based on this polarization, must be
reconsidered. The author demonstrates Florovsky's critical appropriation
of the main themes of the Russian Religious Renaissance, including
theological antinomies, the meaning of history, and the nature of
personhood. The distinctive features of Florovsky's neopatristic
theology—Christological focus, "ecclesial experience," personalism, and
"Christian Hellenism"—are best understood against the background of the
main problematic of the Renaissance. Specifically, it is shown that
Bulgakov's sophiology provided a polemical subtext for Florovsky's
theology of creation. It is argued that the use of the patristic norm in
application to modern Russian theology represents Florovsky's
Dr. Gavrilyuk discusses reasons for writing this book and its content in an interview on July 27, 2014.
‘Florovsky’s Monograph Herzen’s Philosophy of History: The New Archival Material and the Reconstruction of the Full Text’, Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014).
‘Creation in Early Christian Polemical Literature: Irenaeus against the Gnostics and Athanasius against the Arians’, Modern Theology 29/2 (April 2013), 22-32.
‘Florovsky's Neopatristic Synthesis and the Future of Orthodox Theology’, in George Demacopoulos and Aristotle Papanikolaou, eds. Orthodox Constructions of the West (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), 102-124, 302-308
‘The Orthodox Renaissance’, First Things (December 2012), 33-37.
‘God’s Participation in Human Suffering in the Early Christian Theology of Martyrdom’, in Terrence Merrigan and Frederik Glorieux, eds., ‘Godhead Here in Hiding’: Incarnation and the History of Human Suffering (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 297-305.
'Harnack’s Hellenized Christianity or Florovsky’s “Sacred Hellenism”: Questioning Two Metanarratives of Early Christian Engagement with Late Antique Culture’, St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 54/3-4 (2010), 323-344.
‘The Retrieval of Deification: How a Once-Despised Archaism Became an Ecumenical Desideratum’, Modern Theology 25:4 (October 2009), 647-659.
‘Baptism in Pseudo-Dionysius’s Ecclesiastical Hierarchy’, Studia Liturgica 39:1 (2009), 1-14.
‘God’s Impassible Suffering in the Flesh: The Promise of Paradoxical Christology’, in T. J. White and J. Keating, eds. Divine Impassibility and the Mystery of Human Suffering (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2009), 127-149.
‘Did Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite Live in Constantinople?’, Vigiliae Christianae 62 (2008), 505-514.
‘The Healing Process of Initiation: Toward the Retrieval of Patristic Catechumenate’, in P. L. Gavrilyuk et al., eds. Immersed in the Life of God: The Healing Resources of the Christian Faith. Essays in Honor of William J. Abraham (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2008), 21-40.
‘The Reception of Dionysius in Twentieth-Century Eastern Orthodoxy’, Modern Theology 24: 4 (October 2008), 707-723. Reprinted in Sarah Coakley and Charles M. Stang, eds., Re-Thinking Dionysius the Areopagite (Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 177-194.
‘Scripture and Regula Fidei: Two Interlocking components of the Canonical Heritage’ and ‘Canonical Liturgies: The Dialectic of Lex Orandi and Lex Credendi’, in Canonical Theism: A Proposal for Theology and the Church, ed. William J. Abraham et al. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans), 27-42, 61-72.
‘Eastern Orthodoxy (Philosophical Theology)’, in Paul Copan and Chad V. Meister, eds., The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion (London: Routledge, 2007), 476-486.
‘The Participation of the Deacons in the Distribution of Communion in the Early Church’, St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 51 (2007), 255-275.
‘Universal Salvation in the Eschatology of Sergius Bulgakov’, The Journal of Theological Studies 57 (2006), 110-132
‘The Kenotic Theology of Sergius Bulgakov’, Scottish Journal of Theology 58 (2005), 251-269.
Ph. D.—Southern Methodist University (2001)
M.T.S—Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University (1995)
B.S.—Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia (1993)
Modern Russian Religious Thought
Philosophy of Religion
Courses taught at the University of St. Thomas
THEO 101 Christian
THEO 220 Early Christian Theology
THEO 388 Orthodoxy and Catholicism in Ukraine (study abroad course)
THEO 498 Studies in Historical Jesus (individual study)
THEO 498 Knowledge of God in Scripture and Tradition (individual study)
CATH 397 Initiation and Worship in the Early Church (study abroad course in Rome)
DVHS 601 Patristics
Spiritual Senses (individual study)
Paths to Holiness
Fathers and Contemporary Church
Courses taught at Harvard Divinity School (Spring 2007)
HDS 2254 Human and Divine Suffering in Late Antiquity
HDS 2255 Introduction to Modern Russian Religious Thought
Courses taught at Southern Methodist University (1998-2001)
ST 6301-2 Interpretation of the Christian Message I & II (advanced M. Div. course in Systematic Theology)
HX 6305-6 The Christian Heritage I & II (introductory M. Div. course in History of Christianity)
HX 8380 Understandings of Atonement in the Christian Tradition (advanced M. Div. course)