Home > Dictionary > sobornost


Alternative forms


From Russian .



  1. (philosophy, theology) A unity of people in loving fellowship.
    • 2004, James H Billington, Russia in Search of Itself, p. 146:
      Some post-Soviet writers see sobornost’ as a – if not the – defining element in giving distinctiveness to Russian civilization.
    • 2007, Paul Haffner, Mystery of the Church, p. 132:
      Sobornost signifies the essentially extrapersonal (supra-personal) and a-temporal nature of aesthetic consciousness.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 851:
      Key to his thought was a concept which has become central to modern Russian Orthodox thinking, Sobornost’, the proposition that freedom is inseparable from unity, communion or community.



Sobornost (Russian: Собо́рность "Spiritual community of many jointly living people") is a term coined by the early Slavophiles, Ivan Kireevsky and Aleksey Khomyakov, to underline the need for cooperation between people at the expense of individualism on the basis that the opposing groups focus on what is common between them.

Khomyakov believed the West was progressively losing its unity.

According to Khomyakov this stemmed from the west embracing Aristotle and his defining individualism; whereas Kireevsky believed that Hegel and Aristotle represented the same ideal of unity.

Khomyakov and Kireevsky originally used the term sobor to designate cooperation within the Russian obshchina, united by a set of common convictions and Orthodox Christian values, as opposed to the cult of individualism in the West.