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On June 7, 2022, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church appointed Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk as the new Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations

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Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk

Basic Information

Founded by a decision of the Holy Synod of April 4, 1946. It is the oldest synodal institution of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The DECS is among the executive bodies of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod. Its status and tasks are defined by the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Statute of the Department. The Department is accountable to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod, which annually approve the program of its activities.

The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations has the status of a permanent member of the Holy Synod.

Fields of concern

The DECR maintains the Russian Orthodox Church’s relations with:

  • Local Orthodox Churches

  • Non-Orthodox churches and Christian associations

  • Non-Christian religious communities

  • Governmental, parliamentary, public organizations abroad

  • Inter-governmental, religious and public international organizations.

In addition, by the Holy Synod decision of April 20, 2005, a Commission was formed under the Department for External Church Relations for the Affairs of Old Rite Parishes and Relations with the Old Believers communities.

The DECR is responsible for informing His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod about events and activities taking place outside the Russian Orthodox Church and affecting its interests and for drafting church-wise documents and decisions affecting the sphere of inter-Orthodox, inter-Christian, interreligious, international relations and other issues within the terms of reference of the Department. 

The DECR runs a website and publishes the scientific-theological and church-public academic magazine ‘Church and Time’.

The structure of the Department

The structure of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations includes the following;

  • Secretariat for inter-Orthodox relations

  • Secretariat for inter-Christian Relations

  • Secretariat for Interreligious Relations

  • Secretariat for the far abroad

  • Protocol section

  • Communication Service

  • Publications section

  • Language Service

There is also a Commission for the Affairs of Old Rite Parishes and Relations with the Old Believers communities


Synodal Biblical-Theological Commission meets for plenary session

20.02.2024

Ukrainian authorities try to withhold information from world community regarding facts of violation of believers’ rights

19.02.2024

Hundreds of Vinnytsia citizens gather for prayer outside UOC church previously closed by OCU activists

16.02.2024

Administrator of the Philippines and Vietnam Diocese visits Holy Resurrection Parish in General Santos

14.02.2024

Parish in Uganda holds meeting to help bereaved families

14.02.2024

Foundation stone is laid for Church of St Mary of Egypt in Ramula, Kenya

13.02.2024

UOC church was seized in Sokyriany, Chernivtsi region

13.02.2024

Several humanitarian projects in Africa carried out in cooperation with Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa

10.02.2024

DECR deputy chairman meets with Iranian diplomats

09.02.2024

Metropolitan Eugene of Tallinn is forced to leave Estonia

06.02.2024

Acting Exarch of Africa meets with Primate of Coptic Church

05.02.2024

Archimandrite Daniel (Lepisk) was consecrated as Bishop of Tartu, Auxiliary Bishop of Tallinn Diocese

05.02.2024

Metropolitan Theodosy of Cherkassy and Kanev: the truth on the situation of the believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is entering Western society

01.02.2024

The Primate of the Orthodox Church in America visits the Synodal Residence of the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad in New York

30.01.2024

In the village of Pecheskoye, Khmelnitsky region of Ukraine, representatives of schismatics seized the Church of the Protection of the Theotokos

30.01.2024

Bishop Irinej of Bačka: Silence of the post-Christian West about the persecution against the Ukrainian Orthodox Church is really frightening

23.01.2024

Metropolitan Theodosius (Snihiriov): ‘The world community is standing up in defence of our Church’

13.01.2024

Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East gave an interview to RIA Novosti

23.11.2023

Head of the Malankara Church of India: we express our support for the Russian Church in everything

15.09.2023

Archbishop Theophan of Korea: Russian churches in Korea can become bridges of friendship with Russia

31.08.2023

Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary: Constantinople's claims are getting bolder

26.07.2023

Bishop Irinej of Bačka: In Ukraine, the authorities feel they have the right to declare the Ukrainian Orthodox Church an enemy

09.05.2023

Metropolitan Hilarion: To reveal Christ to people is our most important missionary task

08.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: The Churches are seeking unity on the issue of climate change.

04.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Constantinople encroaches on others’ property

20.09.2021

UOC Chancellor believes that conciliar church wisdom should give assessment for Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions

24.08.2021

Bishop Victor of Baryshev: The visit of the Patriarch of Constantinople to Ukraine will cause suffering to millions of Orthodox Ukrainians

11.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Unification is impossible if one side considers the other ‘heretical’

31.07.2021

Interview of chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary

26.07.2021

Head of Russia’s MFA Sergey Lavrov’s interview towards DECR chairman Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s 55th birthday

24.07.2021

Address by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at jubilee meeting of Inter-Religious Council of Russia

07.12.2023

DECR Chairman addressed the XV General Assembly of the Christian Conference of Asia

30.09.2023

Address by Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia at the meeting of Russia-Islam Strategic Vision Group

19.05.2023

Metropolitan Anthony’s address at closing session of the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions

15.09.2022

Presentation of the DECR Chairman at the interreligious meeting on Religion and Education

06.10.2021

Dostoevsky and the Gospel

20.09.2021

The topic of autocephaly is the only one worthy of a pan-Orthodox Council, believes the Serbian Orthodox bishop of Bačka Irinej.

17.09.2021

The Metropolitan of Kykkos Nicephorus: “The unilateral decision by Patriarch Bartholomew on Ukraine threatens pan-Orthodox unity with a schism of monstrous proportions”

17.09.2021

Constantinople’s claims to power as a threat to Church unity

16.09.2021

Presentation by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the opening of the ‘World Orthodoxy: Primacy and Conciliarity in the Light of Orthodox Dogmatic Teaching’ conference

16.09.2021

The Orthodox Understanding of the Eucharist

06.09.2021

"Freedom and Responsibility as Viewed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill". Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (International Hellenic University online seminar, 16th February 2021)

16.02.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk gave an online lecture for the Theological Institute of St. John of Damascus, Balamand University

31.01.2021

Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at a session of the Interreligious Council of Russia attended by Mr. Miguel Moratinos, High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations

21.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk greets participants and guests of XIV International Festival ‘Russia Abroad’

08.11.2020

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