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On March 31, 2009, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia relieved Bishop Hilarion of his duty as administrator of the dioceses of Vienna and Austria and Hungary and appointed him chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations and permanent member of the Holy Synod with the title of Bishop of Volokolamsk, Vicar to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

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Metropolitan Hilarion 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 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


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill answered questions from participants in the Ninth Faith and Word festival

22.10.2021

Panel discussion on “Fanar’s actions in Ukraine: Reflection in the media space” at Faith and Word festival

21.10.2021

Third round of negotiations held in Egypt on developing academic cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Coptic Church

21.10.2021

Interreligious Council in Russia has issued a statement on inadmissibility of state registration as trademark designations reproducing religious symbols

19.10.2021

High state awards are conferred on DECR staff members by President of Russia’s decree

15.10.2021

The Polish Orthodox Church has expressed support for the Primate of the UOC

14.10.2021

Tripartite meeting held by religious leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia

13.10.2021

Patriarch-Catholicos Karekin II arrives in Moscow at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

11.10.2021

The head of the Muslim Board of the Caucasus arrives in Moscow at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill

11.10.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill's congratulations to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America on his namesake day

09.10.2021

DECR Chairman congratulated His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada on his namesake day

09.10.2021

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

08.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

07.10.2021

DECR chairman meets with Pope Francis of Rome

06.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk attends interreligious meeting on Religion and Education

06.10.2021

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

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

Address by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the opening of the 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders in Baku

14.11.2019

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