On 17 October 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, visited Naples at the invitation of Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe, Archbishop of Naples, in order to take part in the opening of the academic year at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy.
Accompanying Metropolitan Hilarion on his visit were Prof. Adriano Roccucci, secretary general of the Community of Sant’Egidio, Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for inter-Christian relations, Rev. Alexy Dikarev, a staff member of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations, and Hierodeacon Nikolai (Ono), a master’s student of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute for Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies. At a railway station in Naples the DECR chairman and his suite were met by archpriest Igor Vyzhanov, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called.
At the Archbishop’s Palace in Naples, Metropolitan Hilarion met with His Eminence Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe. The participants in the meeting shared their impressions of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Catholic Bishops held in the Vatican and dedicated to the theme ‘Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization’.
Later that day, a solemn ceremony of the opening of the academic year took place at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Possilipo under the chairmanship of Crescenzio Cardinal Sepe, chancellor of the Faculty. Among those present at the ceremony were Msgr Ambrogio Spreafico, Bishop of Frozinone, other guests of honour from dioceses of Southern Italy, faculty, and numerous students.
Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a presentation on ‘The Theology of Freedom. Christianity and Secular Power: From the Edict of Milan to the Present’.
To conclude his visit to Naples, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk visited the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called. The church opened in 2007 thanks to the assistance of Cardinal Sepe.