Home page News
Head of Russia’s MFA Sergey Lavrov’s intervie…

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

The minster of the foreign affairs of the Russian Federation’s interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel.

-    Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk will soon mark his fifty-fifth birthday. He is often described as your church ‘counterpart’. Do you think the Russian Orthodox Church needs her own MFA these days?

-   The designation ‘Department for External Church Relations’ speaks that Metropolitan Hilarion is engaged in contacts with his numerous counterparts. The canonical territories of the Russian Orthodox Church are much larger than those of Russia. For instance, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church enjoys a broad autonomy. Even contacts with her demand skills of dealing with external partners. 

This post is manifested in relations with Local Orthodox Churches and other Christian Churches (including the Vatican, with which His Eminence Hilarion maintains regular contacts), as well as with non-Christian religions. We not just welcome such dialogue but also actively support it. There is quite a number of inter-state and inter-government mechanisms called to promote the dialogue of civilizations. There is even a special structure in the UN - the UN Alliance of Civilizations headed by the former minister of foreign affairs of Spain. It is engaged in organizing contacts for promoting inter-confessional and inter-ethnic accord. In these efforts, the Russian Orthodox Church has something to offer. She is one of the most active parties in this field of inter-civilization and inter-confessional accord. 

There is another example of interaction between secular and ecclesial representatives - the World Conference on Inter-Faith and Inter-Ethnic Dialogue held every two years by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN Secretary-General. The next one is to be held in May 2022 in Sankt-Petersburg. We will actively cooperate with the Russian Orthodox Church to ensure the right approach to defining the agenda and for this forum to be used to the maximum for promoting the values reflecting Orthodox ideals so much in demand today. 

-    Metropolitan Hilarion is a man of many talents - a composer of music, writer of books, confessor of people, celebrant of the Liturgy, active administer of services. How would you assess him as precisely ‘a minister of foreign affairs’?

-   As a very talented man. A talented person is talented in everything - not only in a hobby but also in his primary work. I believe, Metropolitan Hilarion has properly continued the cause of his predecessor at the post of head of the Department for External Church Relations. 

We have been in close cooperation for many years. There is a longstanding Working Group for Cooperation between the MFA of Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church. Ministry State-Secretary E. S. Ivanov participates in it from our side. Periodically, we hold meetings with Metropolitan Hilarion and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. 

We have many joint projects. The most topical one is the adoption of concrete steps for protecting Christians, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. Together with the Department for External Church Relations we have held not for one year a special forum for supporting Christians on the sidelines of the OSCE and the UN Human Rights Council events. Participating in it are partners from the Vatican - the Holy See, the ministers of foreign affairs of Armenia, Hungary, Belarus, Lebanon and other countries who see a threat for the further normal, peaceful and safe life of Christians in the Middle East. Hundreds of thousands of them have fled after ‘democracy’ began to be implanted there. First in Iraq, then in Lebanon and Syria. The Christian population has suffered the most from the Syrian conflict. The Syrian Arab Republic is one of the cradles of Christianity. 

It is necessary to raise our voice not just to draw the attention of the world community to this problem, but also to take concrete measures to put an end to the persecution of Christians. It is extremely important. But here is the attitude of our colleagues in the West to this problem… In spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the population is Christians, it is for the seventh year now that we have failed to adopt a document in the OSCE that would raise the voice of the world community in defense of Christians and Muslims in Europe - a declaration against Islamophobia and Christianophobia. We proposed it long ago when the Declaration against Antisemitism was adopted. We pointed to the need to be consistent and prevent any phobia in response to people’s religious beliefs. So far the ‘enlightened’ West has hampered this initiative. However, I am sure that together with the Russian Orthodox Church, with the Department for External Church Relations, with His Eminence Hilarion, we will succeed in getting results. 

-   I asked whether he has many enviers. He answered they are many. And what about the Russian Orthodox Church? He said she had enough of them. He began speaking about Ukraine, the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In this sense, one can compare how pressure is put on you and on him. What do you think, is it hard for him to be at this post in our days in the context of the Ukrainian schism? 

-   On the surface, it is presented as a movement for each Orthodox people to have a right to choose. We are well aware how ‘the Orthodox Church of Ukraine’ (OCU) was created. It is not just an initiative of the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople - it is directly dictated by the USA. Deep down they do not hide it. The special envoy for the freedom of faith appointed by the US previous administration did things opposite to his mandate: he undermined the freedom of faith imposing organizational parameters (speaking in the bureaucratic language) to various Local Churches, destroying the unity of the Orthodox Christians of Russia and Ukraine, creating there a schismatic church (as a matter of fact) deprived of civil rights, destroying the unity of the Church of Antioch, seeking to tear Lebanese Orthodox Christians away from it. The same happens with regard to the canonical territory of the Serbian Orthodox Church. 

We have a clear understanding of the fact that the actions of Constantinople, which are directly manipulated from Washington, have nothing to do with the ideals of Orthodoxy, with the traditions on the basis of which the interaction of Local Churches has always been organized. It is grossly violated today. It is pressure in the sense that it requires efforts to oppose the completely inacceptable actions of this kind. We fully support the Russian Orthodox Church. 

We have many joint projects for working with compatriots. The parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church in other countries take pastoral care of the immense number of parishioners. It is an additional opportunity for supporting those who wish to preserve relations with their Motherland compared with what we do along secular lines through our embassies. Consulates, Russian cultural centres abroad that, among other things, help them to preserve ties with the Russian Orthodox Church. 

-   What personal impression does Metropolitan Hilarion make as a personality, if you had an opportunity to talk with him not at official events?

-   He is an erudite, a well-brought-up person, very even-tempered. An important quality for the work at this post is not to show your emotions. I am sure that in many situations he is overfilled with emotions. I very much like him as an interlocutor, clever, thinking, always understanding a situation in such a way that an approach to it can be certainly found, or a way out of it, which would meet the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church. We seek to act the same way in our secular diplomatic field. I think we can call each other friends. 


Patriarchal condolences on the death of Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York


Patriarch Kirill: Our flock is both in Russia and Ukraine and we ardently pray for the restoration of peace


Commentary by the Communications Service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on the interview given by Pope Francis to the Italian publication Corriere della sera.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s talk with Primate of Serbian Orthodox Church


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Paschal Great Vespers at the Church of Christ the Saviour


Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the archpastors, pastors, deacons, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church


Holy Synod members discuss the issue of rendering aid to refugees and suffering civilians in Ukraine


Holy Synod considers it important that the Russian Church’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine be brought to notice of the heads of non-Orthodox Churches and inter-Christian organizations


Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church meets under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill


Metropolitan Hilarion: The main thing in a person's life is their relationship with God


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s address to the Supreme Church Council on March 18, 2022


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairing a meeting of the Supreme Church Council


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill had a talk with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia talks with Pope Francis


Patriarch’s homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral


The 25th meeting held by the Working Group for cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation


Metropolitan Hilarion meets with leaders of a major inter-Cristian humanitarian organization


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk visits Exarchate of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem in Cyprus


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk holds negotiations with head of the DECR of the Malankara Church


DECR chairman meets with representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church Catholicosate of Cilicia


Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a presentation at the plenary session of the Orthodox Pre-Assembly of the World Council of Churches


Russian Orthodox Church delegation attends Orthodox Pre-Assembly of World Council of Churches


Metropolitan Hilarion on the work carried out by the Church amid the political confrontation in Ukraine


Metropolitan Hilarion: Imposing sanctions will not affect the life of the Russian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion on details of the talk between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis of Rome


Metropolitan Hilarion: We have learned from own experience that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Church is called upon to unite people regardless of their political orientation


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s talk with Primate of Serbian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Paschal services.


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers of Good Friday with the procession of the burial-shroud.


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Holy and Great Thursday.


Metropolitan Hilarion: the essence of religious life lies in the love for God


Metropolitan Hilarion: May the joy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world live in our hearts always


On Christmas Eve, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow church in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy to All who Sorrow" on Bolshaya Ordynka.


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord calls every person to salvation in a variety of ways


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has commanded us to love every human being


Metropolitan Hilarion: on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we glorify the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message
Рус Укр Eng Deu Ελλ Fra Ita Бълг ქარ Срп Rom عرب