It is possible to recognize several levels of theological studies in modern Russia: popular, educational and academic research level. Popular level connected with the activity of the popular theological magazines and websites. Theology as educational speciality was preserved during Soviet times in the theological academies of the Russian Orthodox Church, and in 1994 it was officially accepted by the State and introduced also in some universities.
Different aspects of theology
There are several meanings for the term of theology. First of all its traditional meaning comes from the etymology of this word recovering us two Greek roots: “theos” means “God” and “logos” means here “teaching”. So in its deep and abstract meaning Christian theology tells us about God, His relation to His creature and His acts for the salvation of people.  The Christians believe that the full core of this teaching was given us in the Holy Scripture of the New Testament as a Gog’s Revelation. But every new human epoch brings the new historical and cultural context; this is reason why it requires the explanation of the Christian theology without changing the doctrine itself but using some new forms of the thought expression. Therefore we call theological studies the permanent process for the expression of the Christian teaching according to the conceptions, language and practical needs of the modern society. In this way we will distinguish theology from the study of religion, while the last one is focused more on the external activity of religion and its influence on society, sometimes missing the idea of God itself .
It is possible to recognize several levels of theological studies in modern Russia: 1) popular level, connected with the activity of the popular theological magazines and websites; 2) educational level, that is the regular study of theology for some professional needs in the theological academies and at the theological departments of the universities, and 3) academic research level, connected with the special research projects leaded by some scholars.
The popular level of theological studies
There are several popular theological magazines in Russia. The most known and popular is a monthly magazine “Thomas” (“Фома”) published since 1996 with the circulation about 36000 of copies . Its editor in chief Vladimir Legoyda (Владимир Легойда) was invited in 2009 to be a Head of the Synodal Informational Department of the Russian Orthodox Church  and this fact can be considered as a recognition of influence of magazine to society by the Church authorities. The magazine illuminates a wide set of topics connected with the life of modern society as well as actual questions in theological studies. It invites a lot of different authors who are professionals in their spheres, including professors from universities ans theological academies.
There are also popular theological magazines in some dioceses of the Orthodox Churches. Two of them are connected with the theological academies and are prepared by their students. The magazine of Moscow Theological Academy is called “Meeting” (“Встреча”) and is published one or two times per a year since 1996 . One of its first editors in 1990s was hieromonk Amvrosy (Ermakov). When he later became a bishop and a rector of Saint Petersburg Theological Academy he inspired students to organize the same magazine in the Northern capital of Russia in 2009 under the title “The Theologian of the Neva” (“Невский богослов”) . The magazine is published two or three times per a year with the circulation 4000 copies.
There are also hundreds of Internet sites dedicated to the popular level of theological studies. The most known of them are the site of the Moscow Sretensky monastery  and the site called “Orthodox Christianity and the World” .
The educational level of theological studies
Before the revolution of 1917 theology in Russia was studied in the theological academies (highest level) and seminaries (medium level) of the Orthodox Church. Historically there were no theological faculties at the universities in Russia. In 1918 all Church theological educational institutes were closed by the Bolsheviks, and during 1920s the study of theology from the Church viewpoint was forbidden. This period of time study of religion was introduced in the universities from the atheistic viewpoint. Later this approach was called “scientific atheism” as the part of the more common communist social-political doctrine. After the Second World War, in 1946, two theological academies of the Orthodox Church in Moscow and Saint Petersburg were reopened. Under the powerful pressure of the atheistic government they were able to preserve the traditional system of theological education for the Church clergy, although their dimplomas and theological degrees were recognized only by the Church and not from the State.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the new subject “study of religion” was introduced in the Russian universities instead of “scientific atheism”. But it examines the outside of religion and its influence on society, so it can not satisfy people who desire to study the internal sphere of religion, including doctrine, sacred texts and so on. This is why in 1994 the State introduced theology into the list of officially recognized specialities in higher education. By 2010 39 State universities and some of non-state institutes accepted this speciality in their educational process . There are two educational levels in the system of the higher education in the modern Russia: bachelor and master degrees; theology was officially introduced by the State for both of them . The theological academies of the Orthodox Church in Saint Petersburg and Moscow also accepted this educational standard for both levels and received the State license for educational activity in this sphere.
I dare say that according to the preserved tradition the educational process in the Orthodox academies provides much more deep and comprehensive study of theology than at the new opened chairs of theology in the universities. This proves the fact that there are several department in every academy providing specialization at the master level. There are departments of dogmatic theology, biblical studies, Church history and Church-practical disciplines in Saint Petersburg academy  as well as all above mentioned plus departments of Christian literature and Church arts in Moscow academy . The hallmark of education in the academies is that it is Church oriented and it includes also liturgical practice for all students.
It is worthy of notice also Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University  in Moscow established in 1991. While mentioned theological academies mainly prepare male students for ordination, St Tikhon’s University is the graduate level school for the lay men and women. Its ten departments include not only theological directions, but also music, economic and computer science spheres. Admission does not require adherence to the Orthodox faith or any religious tests, but basic theology subjects are mandatory for students of all departments.
At this level there are some contacts significant for the international life of the Orthodox Church. They include not only student exchange but also collaboration with the foreign educational institutes. For example Saint Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy for last several years made agreements with Theological Faculties of Bucharest  and Belgrade  universities, Sapienza University of Rome  and Armenian Theological Seminary Gevorkian . These agreements encouraged more active contacts also at the level of professors including participation in the conferences and publication of articles.
The level of theological academic researches
Two previous levels of theological studies could be impossible without academic theological researches. This level is remarkable also because the academic theological researches are international in their nature and can not be isolated.
The specific of the situation is that in Russia these researches are expressed in the form of different publications (I mean monographs, articles and so on) but can not be rate in the form of officially recognized from the State academic degrees. Doctoral degrees in Russia must be verified and proved from the special government commission  according to the special list of academic subjects. Unfortunately theology was introduced by the State in 1994 only into the list of educational subjects, but still is not introduced into the list of academic degrees. This is reason why the Church doctoral degrees awarded in the theological academies as well as in St Tikhon’s university are still not officially recognized from the State .
There are, of course, some specialists in this sphere in the State universities but if we say about Christian theology (not study of religion) the main centers for academic theological studies are under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church: St Tikhon’s University, two Orthodox Theological Academies (in Moscow and Saint Petersburg), St Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies and The Orthodox Encyclopedia Publishing Project.
Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox University is well known in the research activity of its professors and students expressing in many articles and monographs. There is regular academic journal “Messenger of St Tikhon’s University” (“Вестник ПСТГУ”) published in several series (theology and philosophy, Church history and so on) . Every year university organizes big international theological conference consisting many subdivisions  as well as different specialized conferences . The university is known in study of the Russian Church history of 20th century; the data base of the new Russian martyrs was created there .
Moscow Orthodox Theological Academy is headed by archbishop Evgeny (Reshetnikov; Евгений (Решетников)), who is also a Head of the Educational Committee of the Russian Orthodox Church , and this fact gives the academy additional possibilities in its research activity. There is academic journal “The Theological Messenger” (“Богословский вестник”) published once a year . The academy regularly organizes international conferences on the wide topics of theology.
Saint Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy is inspired by its rector bishop Amvrosy (Ermakov; Амвросий (Ермаков)), who guided the idea to create possibilities for professors and students to reveal their talents. The main organ demonstrating the research directions of the academy is its academic journal “Christian Reading” (“Христианское чтение”) published 6 times per a year . There are two annual international conferences in the academy: one takes place in October with participation of professors and professional scholars and another one in May with the students of doctoral and master programs. From the international projects should be mentioned, in my opinion, two of them. The first is the study for the charitable activity of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Department of Church practical disciplines under the direction of its Head archpriest Vladimir Khulap (Владимир Хулап) . The second is the project dedicated to the creation of the data base of archaeological sites of Holy Land, Jordan and Asia Minor, including particular description, photos and videos of the sites, taken during the expeditions to these places. This project is conceived as a auxiliary for the study of the Holy Scripture and it is realized at the Biblical Department  with my participation. By the date two DVD disks including descriptions of Israeli  and Minor Asian  biblical sites were published, including together 950 photos and 140 videos. The materials are gathered since 2007, and the expedition to the Holy Land are accomplished with the assistance of some persons from the Israel Antiquities Authority.
St Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies in Moscow  was established in 2009 and focused on the research studies of doctoral students. His rector metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev; Иларион (Алфеев)) is also a Head of Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church and well known person in the Christian world. It is one of the reasons why this institute has high intensive international contacts, including the international conferences and invitation of foreign lecturers.
The Orthodox Encyclopedia Publishing Project is a many volumes completely new edition of the Orthodox Encyclopedia . All materials are prepared according to the level of strong international academic standards. The first volume was published in 2000, in this year the 31th volume including words starting with Russian letter “K” was published. The editorial board of the project invites specialists from all mentioned above Orthodox research centers as well as from the State universities to work for articles composition. This allows scholars to present their knowledge, but the main disadvantage of the project is the alphabet order of the published articles.
More and more intensive for last two decades theological researches in Russia includes the international component as a natural side of the educational and academic activity. In the sphere of the academic research Russian scholars acquires results of their foreign colleagues, sometimes mechanically, but in most cases creatively. Nevertheless the works of many modern Russian scholars are unknown outside of the country and the main barrier is the Russian language of their works unintelligible for western readers. Finland where academic articles as well as doctoral dissertations in theology are often written in English could became excellent example of international integrity for Russian scholars. In any case we hope that the international contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church will reveal many interesting ideas of the modern Russian theology for western people.
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// Report of Rev. Dmitry Yurevich on the 13th Aleksanteri Conference “Russia and the World” (University of Helsinki, 23-25.10.2013) Panel “The Role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Russian Foreign Policy”
 The offcial website is located at the address http://www.sedmitza.ru, while the archive of the articles is accessible at the address http://www.pravenc.ru.