On 11 October 2016, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR) met with a group of Catholic priests and seminarians from Cologne.
Taking part in the meeting, which took place at the DECR premises, was Rev. Alexei Dikarev, a staff member of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations.
Metropolitan Hilarion warmly greeted the guests and said: ‘I happened to visit Cologne and I remember its magnificent Cathedral, and I am very glad that you will see our church and our beautiful city.’ He told the guests about the history of the Russian Church in detail and about the meaning of Orthodox faith for the people of historical Russia, underscoring that Christian tradition in this land is over one thousand years old.
Speaking about the revival of the church life in the 1990s, he mentioned that the priests in Moscow baptized some three hundred people a day.
Metropolitan Hilarion added that the Catholic Church has also revived and that now there are more Protestant communities than earlier. Other traditional confessions in our country have also grown in number. He sees God’s Providence in it.
Metropolitan Hilarion concluded his address, saying: ‘I wish all if us never think that we live in a post-Christian era. The inner strength, which the Church possesses because Christ lives in it and governs it, will retain, and the new generations will come to Christ.’