Aleksey Khomyakov

Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov (Russian: Алексе́й Степа́нович Хомяко́в) (May 13 (O.S. May 1) 1804 in Moscow – October 5 (O.S. September 23), 1860 in Moscow) was a Russian theologian, philosopher, poet and amateur artist. He co-founded the Slavophile movement along with Ivan Kireyevsky, and he became one of its most distinguished theoreticians. His son Nikolay Khomyakov was a speaker of the State Duma.

Khomyakov's whole life was centred on Moscow. He viewed this "thousand-domed city" as the epitome of the Russian way of life. Equally successful as a landlord and conversationalist, he published very little during his lifetime. His writings, printed posthumously by his friends and disciples, exerted a profound influence on the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian lay philosophers, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Konstantin Pobedonostsev, and Vladimir Solovyov. Alexander Herzen's My Past and Thoughts contains a delightful characterisation of Khomyakov.

For Khomyakov, socialism and capitalism were equally repugnant offspring of Western decadence. The West failed to solve human spiritual problems, as it stressed competition at the expense of co-operation. In his own words, "Rome kept unity at the expense of freedom, while Protestants had freedom but lost unity".

Khomyakov's own ideals revolved around the term sobornost, the Slavonic equivalent of catholicity found in the Nicene Creed; it can be loosely translated as "togetherness" or "symphony". Khomyakov viewed the Russian obshchina as a perfect example of sobornost and extolled the Russian peasants for their humility.

Khomyakov died from cholera, infected by a peasant he had attempted to treat. He was buried next to his brother-in-law, Nikolai Yazykov, and another disciple, Nikolai Gogol, in the Danilov Monastery. The Soviets arranged for their disinterment and had them reburied at the new Novodevichy Cemetery.

This page was last edited on 20 March 2018, at 12:34.
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