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Paul Evdokimov

Born: August 2, 1901;  Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: September 16, 1971; Meudon, France

Paul Evdokimov was a Russian and French theologian, writer, and professor of theology at St. Sergius Institute in Paris. He was an invited observer to the Second Vatican Council.

He made his life Eucharistic

These figures [Mother Maria Skobtsova and Paul Evdokimov] practiced what St. John Chrysostom called the sacrament of the brother/sister; they made their lives Eucharistic. The whole world became their church, and every person they encountered, whether Orthodox, Muslim, Catholic, or Hindu became a brother or sister to them by virtue of the image of God in them.

Evdokimov was active in hostels, first opening his doors to the homeless and hungry, and then to students and immigrants. All were welcome regardless of religion. It was once said of Paul Evdokimov that he usually behaved as if the church had never been split.

Evdokimov wrote what remains one of the finest analyses of the Orthodox sacrament of marriage, but he spoke mostly to Protestants and Catholics.

An ecumenically minded thinker, he was active in the WCC and other Protestant and Catholic charities. He joined Paul IV in calling for a radical redistribution of the wealth of the first world to the third world. Evdokimov also called for a great inter-religious council that could call the wealthy nations of the world to shame and action on behalf of the poor.

Graduate Theological Society.
From the summary of:
Plekon, Michael
“The ‘Sacrament of the Brother/Sister’:
The Lives and thought of Mother Maria Skobtsova and Paul Evdokimov.”
St Vladimir Theological Quarterly 49 no. 3 (2005): 313-34.

Every believer is a priest, king and prophet of the royal priesthood

The Byzantine symphony is not contract or demarcation of rights, but the presentation of the faith, the application of doctrine, so as to reveal the catholic nature of all the ministries at the service of the one Kingdom; every office in the Church id charismatic, every believer is a priest, king and prophet of the royal priesthood. In the closed world of phenomena there exist only individual beings; but the divine bestowal of personhood on the human being raises it to the reality of spiritual existence.

Paul Evdokimov,

The Triple Dignity of the Royal Priesthood

The laity are the level or perhaps the point in Church order at which the World and the Church coincide. They have not been given the power of dispensing the means of grace (the sacraments); to the contrary, their sphere is the life of grace, its penetration in the world. The royal priesthood possesses the power to consecrate the world in a 'cosmic liturgy' by the simple presence of 'sanctified being' who are 'dwelling places of the Trinity'. Here the gift of prophecy comes to action, displaying to the laity the immensity of the world together with their particular task of lifelong apostolate and mission, which is to be accomplished by their priestly nature that will purge the world of every profane element. It is through their social life, through their relationships with other people, through the structures of this world, that they carry the 'three-sunned light', revealing the truth of doctrine in their lives, offering to the world the grace they have received in the Church.

'O Saviour, as thou hast given grace to the prophets, to kings and to pontiffs, give it also by this holy oil to those who receive its unction.'[*] By means of this 'oil of gladness' we are 'anoited by the Holy Spirit.' Reflection on this state, and especially on the words, 'we have become partakers of Christ' (Heb.3:14), leads the Fathers to deduce that every Christian is invested with a threefold office: royal, sacerdotal and prophetic. [**]

[*] Office of the Holy Chrism.

[**] There is a rich collection of quotations from the Fathers of the Church in the book by Fr.Dabin, Le sacerdoce royal de fidèles la tradition ancienne et moderne, Brussels-Paris 1950.

Paul Evdokimov,
“Orthodoxy”, p.291

The Fathers' saying of the Royal Priesthood

St. Macarius of Egypt says, 'Christianity is far from mediocre because it is a great mistery. Consider your own nobleness, and the fact that you have been called to a royal dignity. The mystery of Christianity is quite removed from this world.' And he adds, terrifyingly, 'If we are not yet the royal priesthood, we are still serpents and the brood of vipers.'[*]

St. Cyril of Jerusalem calls the sign that the priest traces on the newly confirmed, 'the antitype', because it corresponds with the sign with which Christ himself was marked. St. Macarius adds, in a profound comment, 'Just as, in the time of the prophets, unction was something extremely precious, because it set apart priests and prophets, so now, spiritual people, anoited with heavenly Chrism, become by grace kings, priests and prophets of the heavenly mysteries.'[**] And Arethas of Caesarea says, 'God gives us the kingdom and the glory of becoming priests and prophets.'[***]

[*] Homil.XXVII,4; P.G.34, 696 BC.

[**] Homil.XVII,1; P.G.34, 624 BC.

[***] P.G.106, 509 BC.

Paul Evdokimov,
“Orthodoxy”, p.291

The Priesthood of Order and the Royal Priesthood

Christ along is Priest and all share in his priesthood, some being bishops and presbyters. It is noteworthy that in New Testament Creek, the term iereus -priest- is reserved to the royal priesthood; that of order is designated by presbyter or bishop. Only the royal priesthood is conveyed by unction, first Christ, then all the faithful by ordination with Chrism; ministers in the priesthood of order have been ordained since early times by the imposition of hand.

Paul Evdokimov,
“Orthodoxy”, p.172

See also



  • Evdokimov Pavel, In the World, of the Church. Alex Vinogradov, Michael Plekon, translators. St. Vladimir Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2001. (ISBN 0-88141-215-5)
  • Evdokimov Pavel, "In the World, of the Church"
  • Evdokimov Pavel on Google Books

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