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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


Patriarchal congratulation on the centenary of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition

26.06.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary meets with a hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church

25.06.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary meets with Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén

25.06.2022

DECR chairman visits St. Petersburg Theological Academy

24.06.2022

Archbishop Theodosios of Sebastia: “We perceive the provocations against the Patriarch of the Russian Church as provocations against the entire Orthodox Church”

20.06.2022

Vandals set fire to a church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Lvov

20.06.2022

OCU supporters attempt to seize a church in the village of Kolodnoye in Western Ukraine

20.06.2022

First meeting takes place between the metropolitan of Volokolamsk Anthony and the workers of the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate

17.06.2022

Metropolitan Anthony: Growing manifestations of extremism threaten preservation of common Christian shrines in Holy Land

17.06.2022

The Russian Orthodox Church handed over 1,700 tons of humanitarian aid to refugees and affected civilians

16.06.2022

Patriarch of Jerusalem officiates at festivities marking the 175th anniversary of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem

13.06.2022

Handover of work responsibilities at the Department for External Church Relations

10.06.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill receives in audience Metropolitan Hilarion of Budapest and Hungary

10.06.2022

Delegation from Al Hosn Patriarchal Hospital in Syria visits St. Alexios Hospital

10.06.2022

The Synod discussed the development of situation following the Kiev Council of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

07.06.2022

Interview by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to the Orthodoxie.com

26.02.2022

Hegumen Nikon (Golovko): We should not tacitly tolerate the oppression in the Holy Land

29.01.2022

His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem gave an interview to the Russian newspaper "Izvestia"

29.01.2022

“The tasks before us are large and interesting,” Metropolitan Hilarion said about the work of the Scientific and Educational Theological Association

13.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: Churches will have to make non-standard decisions

12.01.2022

Metropolitan Leonid of Klin: We will not break the local conventions and traditions of African parishes

12.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: We believe that the schism can be healed by the conciliar wisdom of the Church

02.01.2022

The creation of a Patriarchal exarchate in Africa. An interview with the metropolitan of Klin Leonid

31.12.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Patriarch and the Pope will discuss how Christians are to survive

23.12.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The threat to the presence of Christians in the Holy Land cannot but cause concern to the Russian Church

16.12.2021

An interview of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to RIA Novosti

26.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: Every day we lose about a thousand people due to coronavirus

26.10.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill answers questions put to him by Forbes France.

26.10.2021

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

Interfaith Dialogue and Peace among Religions

21.12.2021

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

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