On 23 September 2013, the International Conference ‘Monasteries and Monasticism: Traditions and Modernity’ opened at the Moscow Theological Academy. Taking part in the forum, organized by the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism, are archpastors, abbots and abbesses, monastics and theologians from Russia, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and Serbia.

Among the members of the conference presidium are Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations; Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol (Orthodox Church of Cyprus); Archbishop Feognost of Sergiev Posad, chairman of the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism; Bishop Feofilakt of Dmitrov, vicar of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Bishop Veniamin of Borisov, vicar of the Minsk diocese; Bishop Varnava of Pavlodar and Ekibastuz; Bishop Zinovy of Elista and Kalmykia; Bishop Savva of Voskresensk, vicar of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Bishop Nikon of Shuya and Teykovo; and Bishop Savvaty of Tara and Tyukalinsk.

Archbishop Feognost conveyed to the participants a blessing from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and called on them to hold a frank discussion on topical issues in order to “elaborate common principles for overcoming difficulties which monasteries and monastics are now facing in their life.” One of the major topics of the conference, according to Archbishop Feognost, is a discussion on the draft Statute of Monasteries and Monasticism. The Commission of the Inter-Council Presence, the Synodal Department for Monasteries and Monasticism, as well as fathers and mothers superior of Stavropegic monasteries and convents have been working on this document for three years.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolasmk addressed the meeting on Monasticism as a Mystery of the Church and answered questions from participants.

Speaking at the two-day forum will be archpastors, abbots and monks from various countries. At the conclusion, the participants will hold a general discussion and adopt a final document.