Justin Popović: A Synthesis of Tradition and Innovation

Vladimir Cvetković

The book is the result of the author’s ten-year-long research of the work of Justin Popović. After the Prologue, which explains the book’s genesis, the reader is introduced to Justin’s life and writings. The work then chronologically retraces Justin’s inspirations and places them in relevant historical contexts. We learn how he lived and interpreted the Bible from his earliest childhood. The author focuses on Justin’s relationship with his mentor Nikolaj Velimirović and shows how he follows Velimirović’s example regarding the critique of nationalism in the church, drawing on Russian philosophical thought, the critique of European humanism, and developing the concept of Svetosavlje. He recounts Justin’s journey from Saint Petersburg and Oxford to Sremski Karlovci, Athens and Bitola to Belgrade, showing how he created a philosophical-theological synthesis combining the elements of conventional theology, Russian religious philosophy, and the ideas of the old Church Fathers. To provide insight into his ecumenical inclinations, the book analyzes Justin’s relationship with non-Orthodox churches and traditions, retracing his views from his Oxford writings to proposals addressed to the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC). The reception analysis focuses on how Justin’s ideas evolved among his disciples, who are today bishops of SOC, and international authors. In this way, the work offers a historical overview of Justin’s life with a focus on his academic interests while also providing insight into the 20th-century European and global events reflected in his opus.