Sobornost (Собо́рность) is a term coined by the Russian Church meaning, “Spiritual community of many jointly living people.” The term has been used to underline the need for cooperation between people at the expense of individualism on the basis to grow and thrive in Christ.
We chose this name because it has been known to capture the very essence of Christian praxis, that our worship extends into community, as we so plainly see in Scripture. Community continues to dissolve in the west to the likes of consumerism and general hedonism. We are at a turning point in our world with the current “pandemic,” and so we believe this is a good opportunity to express and promote the traditional Orthodox worldview, the worldview that has sustained the Church through many of struggles throughout history.
“In the 19th century the word sobornost became a focus for meditation for a group of Russian thinkers called Slavophils. They are called Slavophil for their emphasis on a spiritual force in the Russian people they saw as greater than that in the people and materialistic culture of the West. They did not look either to the reforms or to the progress coming from the West, or even to the institutions of the Russian State, but they looked to the model of old Russian farming communes as representing the right ideal of society for Russia.
The West developed legality because it sensed the lack of justice within itself. In contrast, the Slovophils position was Sobornost: “ a spiritual community of many people sharing life,” as a Russian dictionary defines it.
The Slavophil idea was that in the emerging society of their time (a society that might be said to be fully flowered in our own modern day), people were increasingly alienated from each other by the rise of individualism that came with the Industrial Revolution. These thinkers see in sobonost a middle way for humans between the loss of the personal either in collectivism or in alienated individualism. They found in it a model of an ideal communal life.” – Bishop Seraphim Segrist
Sobornost is a key element of the holy gospel that many Americans have yet to fully discover. Many Russians are regaining their sense of sobornost. To quote Nicolas Zernov in his book The Russians and Their Church, “ Persecution has purified their conception of Sobornost and their sense of mission…Only together, united by faith and charity, can the Christian community face the challenge of the modern world.”