Historical background

The Department for the External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate is an all-important Synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The DECR was established by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on April 4, 1946 when the development of the external work of the Russian Orthodox Church persistently called for creating a special church body that could ensure the stable organization of this important aspect of church life. 

2009

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the DECR since 2009

The Holy Synod by its decision of March 31, 2009, appointed Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria (now Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, vicar of the Diocese of Moscow) as chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. 



At the same time, some DECR functions were transferred to the newly formed Department for the Church-Society Relations which was charged with maintaining relations with state legislative bodies, political parties, professional and creative unions and other institutes of civil society in the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate, while the missions, church representations, monasteries and patriarchal parishes, which earlier were in the jurisdiction of the DECR, were transferred to the direct subordination to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and to help the Patriarch to administer institutions abroad an appropriate Secretariat was established. The branch of the Moscow Theological Academy post-graduate school, which had functioned under the DECR, was transformed to the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies.



The Department for External Church Relations maintains relations of the Russian Orthodox Church 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. 



The duties of the Department for External Church Relations are to give information to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod about events and activities taking place outside the Russian Orthodox Church and affecting her interests, to draft church-wise documents and resolutions affecting the sphere of inter-Orthodox, inter-Christians, interreligious, international and other issues included in the terms of reference of the Department.


1991

1981

Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromeyev) of Minsk and Byelorussia

Metropolitan Filaret had the honour to lead the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate for a long period of the Russian Orthodox Church’s preparations for the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ and at its very solemnity. His Eminence Filaret was the chairman of the Department from 1981 to 1989.



The Department for External Church Relations led by Metropolitan Filaret made a contribution, exceptional in its volume, complexity and importance, to the process involved in the celebration of the great jubilee in June 1988. The celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ awakened the historical memory of the people living in the Soviet Union and became a nation-wise event as a strongest impetus for the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church’s due pace in the life of society and for the gradual revival of the ages-old traditions of her service and witness to the people of God.  


1972

Metropolitan Juvenaly (Poyarkov) of Krutitsy and Kolomna


From 1972 to 1971 the post of the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate was occupied by Metropolitan Juvenaly (Poyarkov) of Krutitsy and Kolomna, who led the DECR’s work with commitment to the task entrusted to him, the knowledge of problems and assiduity. 



1960

Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov)

From 1960 to 1972 the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate was headed by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod, who combined the richness of ideas so needed by the Church with resolution and persistence in their implementation. 


Metropolitan Nikodim had to overcome tremendous difficulties caused by secular authorities, and he did it with fidelity to principles so characteristic of him. The external, especially international work of the Church in the years of persecution had an essential importance for preventing it from becoming broader, and making it impossible or difficult for the authorities to close and destroy monasteries and churches. 



Seeking to appoint young bishops to sees abroad, he created opportunities for their consequent transfer to the canonical territory of the Church, as a result of which the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church became considerably younger and increased in number. 


1946

Metropolitan Nikolay (Yarushevich)

Metropolitan Nikolay (Yarushevich) of Krutitsy and Kolomna led the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarch from 1946 to 1960. 

This period defined in many ways the nature of the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations at the present stage by deepening the traditional forms of inter-church relations and initiating a number of new areas in this sphere of church work. 



It should be specially pointed out that in that period the peacemaking activity of the Church, her first contacts with public organizations led her gradually out of isolation and built the first bridges with the state, the world of politics, science and culture. 


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

22.10.2021

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

13.10.2021

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

09.10.2021

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the death of people as a result of fire at a hospital in Constanța (Romania)

04.10.2021

Congratulations from Patriarch Kirill to Patriarch Daniel of Romania on anniversary of his enthronement

30.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presents church awards to DECR chairman and his vice-chairmen

27.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: Patriarch Bartholomew has lapsed into schism

27.09.2021

Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church convenes for second day of work

24.09.2021

Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church completes first day of session

23.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presides at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church

23.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill opens conference on primacy and conciliarity in Orthodoxy

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

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill will open a Conference on the Primacy and Conciliarity in Orthodoxy

14.09.2021

Patriarch Kirill leads celebration of Alexander Nevsky’s 800th birthday anniversary in St.Petersburg

12.09.2021

Greetings by the Patriarch to the Russian athletes who participated in the 16th Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo

06.09.2021

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

11.10.2021

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

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

06.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with president of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

05.10.2021

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

04.10.2021

Concern expressed in the Russian Orthodox Church for the destiny of Christian shrines in Kosovo

04.10.2021

DECR chairman attends Climate Change Summit of Religious Leaders in Rome

04.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Synod is to decide how the presence of the Russian Church in Africa is to be structured.

04.10.2021

Presentation of Chinese version of Patriarch Kirill’s book "In His Own Words"

01.10.2021

DECR chairman sends greetings to His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania on the 14th anniversary of his enthronement

30.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presents church awards to DECR chairman and his vice-chairmen

27.09.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith

29.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul

01.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ

27.06.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us

07.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us

13.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation

30.08.2020

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