Two Martyrs in a Godless World


Two Martyrs in a Godless World

Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alexander Men
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Page Count
160 pages
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    About the book

    This brief and compelling study introduces us to the German Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Men. These two martyrs each confronted a hostile, totalitarian world, and their lives show us how to speak about Christ in a world that has forgotten God. Contrasting the lives of two 20th century martyrs to Nazi and Soviet power, Michel Evdokimov challenges us to meet the world on its own terms and to meet God in the form of our neighbor.

    By putting Alexander Men and Dietrich Bonhoeffer into conversation with each other, Michael Evdokimov has made an invaluable contribution to the timely and complex question of the church’s relationship to a post-Christendom world. This is a text that is both deeply theological and readily accessible to students and the lay reader, and I would recommend it as a textbook for seminary classes and parish studies on what it means to be Christian in an age that no longer even bothers to lip service to the God of Jesus Christ.

    Dr. Barry Harvey
    Professor of Theology at Baylor University and author of Taking Hold of the Real: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Profound Worldliness of Christianity (Cascade)

    It is in some way providential that this wonderful book comes to an English-speaking readership at this junction of history, bringing with it the prophetic vision of two great martyrs of the 20th century: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alexander Men. Michel Evdokimov (himself an accomplished and audacious contemporary theologian) has brought together the witness of these two theologians, in an inspiring ecumenical interchange. Despite belonging to different Christian traditions, despite speaking from anguished contexts of persecution, tyranny and death, Bonhoeffer and Men bring a message of hope and optimism to the secular world…Now, when the world seems to be faced again with increasing division, nationalist excesses and a morbid fascination for authoritarian regimes, the message of the two theologians serves as reassurance that, despite appearances, now is not the time for mourning or resignation, but for engagement in faith with the world as it is, where we meet God in our everyday lives in the form of our neighbor.

    Dr. Razvan Porumb
    Vice-Principal, Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge, UK

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alexander Men are the two witnesses brought to life in these pages, pastors who died for proclaiming and living the Gospel. We also hear the authentic voices of Michel Evdokimov and Olivier Clément as they speak about these two martyrs and today's secular world. This book is a feast of following after Christ, real sustenance for us in these days.

    Michael Plekon
    Emeritus Professor, The City University of New York, Baruch College

    In the afterword to Michel Evdokimov’s remarkable book, Two Martyrs in a World without God: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Alexander Men, Olivier Clément raises the question, “How should we as Christians act and bear witness in this new society?”. The answer to this pressing question is given in the lives, deaths, and teachings of these two exceptional Christians. Evdokimov shows us that they were both prophets willing to speak difficult truths, despite great personal risk and persecution. ..I look forward to sharing this book with youth and young adults in my ministry, and to discovering with them that our world is not without God, and that the proof of the Resurrection can, even today, be found in the martyrs!

    Fr. Micah Hirschy
    Ephemerios at the Holy Trinity Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Birmingham, Alabama
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    About the author

    Michel Evdokimov is an Orthodox priest and theologian. For many years he was Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Poitiers, France. He is the author of a short biography of Father Alexander Men and many books on Orthodox spirituality.

    Olivier-Maurice Clément (1921-2009) was one of the foremost Orthodox theologians of the 20th century. He actively promoted the reunification of Christians (he was friends with Pope John Paul II), dialogue between Christians and people of other beliefs, and the engagement of Christian thinkers with modern thought and society. As a history professor, he taught at the Louis-le-Grand lyceum in Paris for a long time. As a professor of the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Institut Saint-Serge) he became one of the most highly regarded witnesses to Orthodox Christianity, as well as one of the most prolific. He was a founder of the Orthodox Fellowship in Western Europe, and was the author of thirty books on the life, thought and history of the Orthodox Church, and their meeting with other Christians, the non-Christian religions and modernity. He was responsible for the theological journal, Contacts, and became a Doctor honoris causa at the Institute for theology in Bucharest and at the Catholic University in Louvain.