London: Geoffrey Bles/The Centenary Press, 1948. First edition. Octavo, original navy cloth, original dust jacket. Cloth boards bright, early owner signature, two small ink stamps, very gentle wear to corners and spine ends. A near-fine copy. Item #783
"I COME TO SPEAK IN THE NAME OF A HUNDRED MILLION RUSSIAN CHRISTIANS, IN FULL AND FIRM CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WILL NOT REPUDIATE ME" First edition in English of the Russian philosopher's controversial work—in the original dust jacket by George Mansell. The publication in English translation (by Herbert Rees) of Russia and the Universal Church was part of the further introduction of Solovyev to English readers, begun with the success of The Meaning of Love. "Solovyev was disposed to find truth everywhere, and his great passion was to unify the world in truth and love. Having sensed the growing pessimism and nihilism of Western secular thought, Solovyev had turned to religion to find the organizing principle of life. He maintained that the conception of Sophia (Wisdom), preserved in Eastern Orthodoxy, contains the central and all-comprehending revelation which will unify creation by uniting it to God" (Frank N. Magill). Solovyev's lengthy Introduction notes the controversy: "this work is an abridgment of a larger work in the Russian language at which I have been working for seven years, but which has not been allowed to appear in my own country." The work was written in French (to evade Tsarist censorship) and published in France in 1888. The text consists of three sections: Part One. The State of Religion in Russia and the Christian East, Part Two. The Ecclesiastical Monarchy Founded by Jesus Christ, Part Three. The Trinitary Principle and its Social Application. Solovyev views Christianity as the spiritual culmination of human history and considers the idea that the supreme authority of Peter resides permanently in the Roman Church. He seeks a place for Russia within the polity of Christendom and implies a deepening admiration for the papacy based, it seems, on a desire for a monarchical universal church. Russia and the World Church is becoming scarce in the original calligraphic dust jacket (signed by Geo. Mansell in the lower right corner). Magill, Masterpieces of Christian Literature.