The essay we present here is one of the most unusual and provocative treatments of a theological subject ever penned. It was written in 1844 or 1845 but did not appear in print until 1863‐three years after the author’s premature death. It is an all-the-more amazing document because Alexei Stepanovich Khomiakov, who wrote it, was a layman with no official theological standing. Despite the fact that by profession Khomiakov was nothing more than a retired Cavalry Captain, he was one of the most erudite and versatile men of his time. He was a great dialectician and philosopher; a man of brilliant gifts, a devotional and religious poet of talent, and has been acknowledged by many as one of the greatest theologians ever produced in Russia.

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