John Meyendorff

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John Meyendorff , actually Johannes Freiherr von Meyendorff , Russian Иван Феофилович барон фон Мейендорф , Ivan Feofilowitsch Baron von Meyendorff (* 17th February 1926 in Neuilly-sur-Seine , France ; † 22. July 1992 in Montreal ) was a leading Russian- orthodox theologians of the 20th century.


John Meyendorff came from a Russian, originally German-Baltic officer family. He was born in France as the youngest son of Theophil von Meyendorff (Feofil Feofilowitsch, 1886–1971) and his wife Katharina (Ekaterina Nicolaevna, 1887–1976), b. Schidlowski, who fled into exile in France after the October Revolution . General Bogdan Theophil von Meyendorff was his grandfather. Jean Meyendorff, as he was called in France, studied at the Institut de Théologie Orthodoxe Saint-Serge and at the Sorbonne, where he also received his doctorate in 1958.

Ordained an Orthodox priest, he worked as an assistant professor of church history at the Institut Saint-Serge and the Center national de la recherche scientifique .

His doctoral thesis on Gregor Palamas and the two-volume edition of Palamas' works published practically at the same time by Meyendorff were the reason for his international reputation as a specialist in the history of orthodox theology.

In 1959 he became professor of church history and patristics at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary . He also lectured on Byzantine theology at Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks . He was also professor of Byzantine history at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary . From 1984 to 1992 he was the successor of his friend Alexander Schmemann as dean of Saint Vladimir's Seminary.

He was a representative of the Orthodox Church in the World Council of Churches as chairman of the Faith and Order Commission and as a member of the Central Committee. He was particularly committed to inter-Orthodox unity and cooperation. He was one of the founders and the first general secretary of Syndesmos , the World Federation of Orthodox Youth Associations, and later President of that organization. In 1977 he was elected a corresponding member of the British Academy .

His son Paul Meyendorff (* 1950) is currently professor of liturgical theology at St. Vladimir's Seminary.


His works include the translation and text-critical edition of the Byzantine theologian Gregor Palamas (1959), and numerous books, some of which have also been published in French, German, Italian, Russian, Greek, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Serbian and Polish :

  • A Study of Gregory Palamas (French 1959, English 1964)
  • The Orthodox Church (1963), German The Orthodox Church yesterday and today (1963)
  • Orthodoxy and Catholicity (1966)
  • Christ in Eastern Christian Thought (1969)
  • Byzantine Theology (1973)
  • Marriage, an Orthodox Perspective (1975), German Marriage in an Orthodox Perspective (1992)
  • Living Tradition (1978)
  • The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church (1981)
  • Catholicity and the Church (1983)
  • Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions. The Church 450-680 AD (1989)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See her grave at Find a grave ; on the family background, see the stem series in Genealogical Manual of the Baltic Knighthoods , Part 2, 1.2 Estonia, Görlitz 1930, p. 519.
  2. ^ Deceased Fellows. British Academy, accessed July 7, 2020 .