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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


DECR Chairman meets with Russian ambassador in Argentina

08.02.2023

DECR chairman arrives in Buenos-Aires to attend round-table conference on church work with compatriots

07.02.2023

Comments by DECR Communication Service on Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople’s speech at World Policy Conference (Abu Dhabi, 9 December 2022)

03.02.2023

DECR Chairman meets the newly appointed Russian ambassador to Mongolia

31.01.2023

Metropolitan Joanikije of Montenegro and the Littoral: Ukrainian authorities are persecuting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

31.01.2023

Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk meets with the Chairman of the Russian Association for Religious Freedom

30.01.2023

Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk meets with Mufti Albir Krganov

30.01.2023

Feast of St. Sava celebrated at the Serbian Metochion in Moscow

28.01.2023

Meeting with the the Deputy Head of the Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross takes place at the DECR

27.01.2023

The choir of St Nicholas Cathedral in Bangkok gave a concert at a boarding school for blind children

27.01.2023

Conference entitled "The Old Rite in the Life of the Russian Orthodox Church: Past and Present" was held in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

27.01.2023

Primate of the Russian Church presides over plenary session of the 31st International Educational Christmas Readings

25.01.2023

DECR Chairman visits Al-Hosn Patriarchal Hospital in Syria

23.01.2023

Consecration of restored Orthodox churches in Arbin and Az-Zabadani

22.01.2023

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk attended reception at Russian Embassy in Syria

22.01.2023

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

Metropolitan Hilarion: Through common efforts we will manage to overcome the pandemic

09.07.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the work of the DECR can be compared to the service of border-guards

20.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Russian Orthodox Church does not want primacy in the Orthodox world

15.05.2021

Bishop Sylvester of Belogorodka: Constantinople’s actions against Ukraine is the unprecedented example of violation of canonical norms

13.05.2021

Irinej, Bishop of Bačka: “Patriarch Bartholomew’s Interference in Ukraine Has Caused a Schism Throughout the Whole of World Orthodoxy”

05.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Summit of the heads of Churches is possible in foreseeable future

06.04.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: A new wave of capturing churches is possible in Ukraine

22.03.2021

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

Opening address of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to participants in the panel discussion on Russki Mir Online

03.11.2020

Speech by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the session of Supreme Church Council on 11th December 2019

11.12.2019

Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary attends presentation of Metropolitan Hilarion’s book

28.11.2019

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