(1937 – #426)

  The unexpected and untimely death of Andrei Fedorovich Karpov has produced on me all the more grievous an impression, since we saw quite much of him in the last year. He was making my portrait, which we wanted to finish in October. He was a diversely gifted man, and was moreover an artist. He belonged to the most cultured people of his generation (he was 35 years of age), a generation not rich in cultured people. He was attracted to Greece and to Athos and he wanted to make use of an opportunity to spend time there. He fell a victim of this journey to the East. He became infected with typhus there and returned grievously ill. The dual attraction of Athens and Athos defined his journey. He felt an attraction for ancient Greece, which he especially loved and had an interest in, he dreamt to catch the feel of it through modern Greece, and he was drawn to Athos, as an ancient spiritual centre of Orthodoxy. In this, that his premature death was the result of his wish to see Athens and Athos, is sensed the irrationality and inscrutability of human fates. I first saw A. F. in 1924 at a session of the Russian Student Christian Movement. Then already he impressed me with the high level of his mental interests and cultural proclivity. And I met him thereafter within the circles of the Christian movement. During this same period I met also a cousin of Andrei Fedorovich, V. Krivoshein, who soon thereafter became a monk on Athos. A. F. went to see him on Athos, and spent five days and took the sacrament. V. Krivoshein had an interest in philosophy, rare among the youth of our time. On Athos, which had already ceased to be an intellectual centre, V. Krivoshein wrote an interesting book about St. Gregory Palamas. A. F. finished at the Sorbonne and then read much. For several years he took part in my seminar, he read reports and actively participated in the discussions. He always on his part maintained an intelligent and cultural level of conversation. In “Put'” he wrote an article about Bukharev, one of the first works about him. But he was most of all concerned with Plato and in conversation he constantly came back to him. A. F. wrote a book about Plato, original in design. The book was constructed in the form of a Platonic dialogue, in which Plato himself appears as one of the speakers. And thus in an unique way he attempted to reconstruct the world-construct of Plato. He was particularly interested in the Platonic teaching about the state and he had readied a new book, connected with philosophic teachings about the state. The religious theme about the state distressed him. His “Plato” came out right before the journey to Greece and he saw only the test copies of the book, which he had just managed to sign for the one which he wanted to use for the book. Besides this, A. F. wrote several articles in English. He participated in Anglo-Russian gatherings. A. F. had hopes of becoming a valued worker in spiritual culture. He had many a potential, which has now come to naught. A. F. did not at all remind one of the type of the modern activist young man, attracted to technology, sports and fascist politics. In him one sensed a refinement of emotional outlook, and he moreso was of the contemplative type, with a predominating interest for questions, connected with theology, with philosophy, literature and art. He belonged to the authentic Russian spiritual culture. His demise is a great loss for the Russian emigre cultural atmosphere.

Nikolai  Berdyaev


©  2003  by translator Fr. S. Janos

(1937 – 426 – en)

PAMYATI  ANDREYA  FEDOROVICHA  KARPOVA.  Journal Put’, aug/dec. 1937, No. 54, p.72-73.