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Abstract

This is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the Russian Orthodox theologian and church diplomat Fr. Vitali Borovoy (1916-2008). He actively participated in almost all external engagements of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) in the second half of the twentieth century: from inter-Orthodox relations to work in the World Council of Churches (WCC). His ecumenical career unfolded during challenging times for his church. Internally, it was determined by the tension between the Soviet state’s continual persecution of the ROC and its simultaneous demand that the ROC work for the state’s benefit in external relations. Externaly, it was affected by the Cold War and the solidification of the opposition between the West and the countries of the Soviet Block. No other assignment reflected these tensions as fully as Borovoy’s participation in the work of the Vatican Council II (Council) as an observer from the ROC. This paper commemorates the life and work of this remarkable person and pays particular attention to the circumstances that enabled and shaped his participation in the work of the Council.

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