Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (secular name Grigory V. Alfeyev) was born on July 24, 1966, in Moscow.
From 1973 to 1984, he attended the secondary Gnessin Music School in Moscow, majoring in violin and composition.
At the age of 15, he became a reader at the Church of the Finding of the Lord’s Sepulchre-in-Uspensky Vrazhek (Moscow). From 1983, he served as subdeacon to Metropolitan Pitirim (Nechaev) of Volokolamsk and Yuriev and worked as part-time member at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Publishing Department.
Upon graduation from school in 1984, he entered the composition faculty of the Moscow State Conservatoire.
He served in the Army from 1984 to 1986.
In January 1987, he voluntarily terminated his studies at the Conservatoire and joined as a novice the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
On June 19, 1987, Archbishop Victorin of Vilnius and Lithuania tonsured him at the cathedral of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, naming him Hilarion in honour of St. Hilarion the New (whose memory if celebrated on June 6 (19)), and on June 21 ordained him hierodeacon at the same cathedral.
On August 19, 1987, the Archbishop Anatoly (Kuznetsov) of Ufa and Sterlitamak, acting on the blessing of Archbishop Victorin of Vilnius and Lithuania, ordained him hieromonk at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Vilnius.
From 1988 to 1990, he served as a rector of churches in the town of Telšiai and the villages of Kolainai and Tituvenai in the Diocese of Vilnius. In 1990 he was appointed rector of the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the city of Kaunas, Lithuania.
In 1990, as a delegate from the diocesan clergy of Vilnius and Lithuania, he took part in the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which elected Metropolitan Alexy (Ridiger) of Leningrad and Tallinn to the Moscow Patriarchal throne.
He graduated by correspondence from the Moscow Seminary in 1989, and the Moscow Theological Academy in 1991 with the degree of Candidate of Theology. He completed his post-graduate studies in 1993.
From 1991 to 1993 he taught Homiletics, New Testament, Dogmatic Theology and Greek at the Moscow Seminary and Theological Academy. In 1992 and 1993 he taught New Testament at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Institute and Patrology at the Russian Orthodox University of St. John the Theologian.
In 1993 he was sent for an internship to the University of Oxford, where, under the guidance of Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (Patriarchate of Constantinople), he worked on his doctoral thesis on St. Simeon the New Theologian and the Orthodox Tradition, combining his studies with service at the Diocese of Surozh parishes. He graduated from the Oxford University with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1995.
From 1995, he worked at the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. From 1997 to 2002, he directed its Secretariat for inter-Christian relations.
In 1995 - 1997, he taught Patrology at the Smolensk and Kaluga Seminaries. In 1996 he read a course on Dogmatic Theology at St. Herman’s Orthodox Seminary in Alaska, USA.
Since 1996 he was a cleric of the Church of the Holy Protomartyr Catherine-Close-to-the-Fields in Moscow (Representation of the Orthodox Church in America).
From 1996 to 2004 he was a member of the Synodal Theological Commission of the Russian Orthodox Church.
From 1997 to 1999, he read lectures on Dogmatic Theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, USA, and on the Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church at the department of theology of the University of Cambridge, Great Britain.
In 1999, St. Sergius’ Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris awarded him the degree of Doctor of Theology.
On Easter 2000, he was elevated to the rank of hegumen by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad at the Church of the Holy Trinity at Khoroshevo, Moscow.
By the Holy Synod decision of 27 December 2001, he was elected as Bishop of Kerch, Vicar of the Surozh diocese.
On January 7, 2002, the Nativity of Christ, he was elevated to the rank of archimandrite at the Smolensk Cathedral by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.
On January 14, 2002, he was consecrated as bishop at the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The consecration was celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia with ten archpastoral concelebrants.
By the Holy Synod Decision of July 17, 2002, he was appointed as Bishop of Podolsk, Vicar of the Moscow diocese, and head of the Russian Orthodox Church representation at European international organizations.
By the Holy Synod Decision of May 7, 2003, he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria and charged with temporary administration over the diocese of Budapest and Hungary, retaining the office of the Repsesentative of the Russian Orthodox Church at European international organizations in Brussels.
On February 1, 2005, he was elected privat-docent of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.
On August 24, 2005, he was awarded the St. Macarius Prize for his work The Church’s Sacred Mystery. An Introduction to the History and Problems of Onomatodoxic Polemics.
On March 31, 2009, he was appointed as Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate 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.
At the same time he was appointed as rector of the newly-established Sts Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate Studies.
On April 9, 2009, he was appointed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia as rector of the Church of “Joy to All Who Sorrow' Icon of the Mother of God in Bolshaya Ordynka street in Moscow.
On April 20, 2009, at the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin, “with regard to his appointment to a post involving constant participation in the work of the Holy Synod, and for his zealous service to the Church of God,” he was elevated to the rank of archbishop by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
On May 28, 2009, he joined the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations.
By the decision of the Holy Synod of May 27, 2009, he was appointed chairman of the Commission for the Affairs of Old Believers' Parishes and for Cooperation with the Old Believers under the Department for External Church Relations.
Since July 27, 2009, he has been member of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Inter-Council Presence and its Presidium. Over the years, he served as chairman, deputy chairman and a member of a number of commissions of the Inter-Council Presence - on issues of attitudes towards non-Orthodox and other religions, on issues of opposing and overcoming church schisms, on theological, liturgical and church art issues. At present he is the chairman of the Commission on theology and theological education.
In 2010 he became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Russkiy Mir Foundation.
On February 1, 2010, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Since 2010, he has been member of the Patriarchal Council for Culture.
Since March 22, 2011, he has been member of the Supreme Church Council of the Moscow Patriarchate.
At the meeting of the Holy Synod held on October 5-6, 2011, he was appointed chairman of the Synodal Biblical and Theological Commission.
In the same year he became chairman of the editorial board of Theological Works journal and chairman of the editorial board of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate.
In the same year he was elected Professor at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).
On December 25th, 2012, the Holy Synod appointed him chairman of the Interdepartmental Coordination Group for teaching theology at higher educational institutions.
In 2012 he became chairman of the Commission of the Moscow Patriarchate for the Regulation of Student Exchange, created by the decision of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia.
On December 26th, 2013, the Holy Synod appointed him to lead the Coordination Center for the development of theological research and studies in the Russian Orthodox Church at the Biblical-Theological Commission
On December 24th, 2015, the Holy Synod appointed Metropolitan Hilarion to be the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Interreligious Council of Russia.
Metropolitan Hilarion is the head of the joint dissertation council, established on May 30, 2016 within the system of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. The council focuses on defences of dissertations for the degrees of candidate and doctor of sciences in the specialty of Theology - 26.00.01.
Since February 2018, he has been President of the Scientific Theological Educational Association (NOTA), that has united the leading universities in Russia, which provide training in state-accredited programs in theology.
Academic titles and degrees
D.Phil., University of Oxford, Great Britain (1995)
- Doctor of Theology, St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute, France (1999)
- Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy
- Professor of Department of Theology of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland (2011)
- Professor and head of the Department of Theology at the National Research Nuclear Institute MEPhI (2012)
- Doctor honoris causa of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy (2011)
- Doctor of Theology honoris causa of the Minsk Theological Academy, Belarus (2012)
- Doctor of Divinity honoris causa of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, USA (2014)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Russian State Social University (2010)
- Doctor of Theology honoris causa of the Faculty of Theology, Catholic University of Catalonia, Spain (2010)
- Professor emeritus of the Russian Christian Academy for the Humanities (2010)
- Doctor of Theology honoris causa of the Faculty of Theology, University of Lugano, Switzerland (2011)
- Doctor honoris causa of the University of Prešov, Slovakia (2011)
- Doctor of Theology honoris causa, Villanova University, USA (2012)
- Doctor honoris causa of Nashotah House Theological Seminary, USA (2012)
- Professor emeritus of the Ural Mussorgsky State Conservatory (2012)
- Professor emeritus of the Ural State Mining University (2012)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Institute of Theology at the Belarusian State University (2013)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Russian State University for the Humanities (2014)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (2014)
- Doctor of Divinity honoris causa of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, USA (2014)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Moscow State Linguistic University (2017)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Theological Faculty of Puglia, Italy (2017)
- Professor emeritus of the Moscow State Pedagogical University (2017)
- Professor emeritus of the Lomonosov Moscow State University (2018)
- Doctor honoris causa of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia (2018)
- Doctor honoris causa of the State University of Belgrade (2018)
- Member of the Russian Union of Composers
Metropolitan Hilarion is author of over 1000 publications including monographs on the New Testament, patristics, dogmatic theology and church history. He also translated works by Church Fathers from Greek and Syrian.
Among his books are Mystery of Faith. An Introduction to Dogmatic Theology (1996), Life and Teaching of St. Gregory the Theologian (1998), The Spiritual World of St. Isaac the Syrian (1998), St. Simeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition (1998), Orthodox Theology at the Turn of the Century (1999), The Sacred Mystery of the Church. An Introduction to the History and Problems of Onomatodoxic Polemics (in two volumes, 2002), What Orthodox Christians believe in. Catechetical Discourses (2004), Orthodoxy (in two volumes, 2008-2009), Patriarch Kirill. Life and Worldview (2009), Jesus Christ. His Life and Teaching (in six volumes, 2016-2017), Sermons (in three volumes, 2016-2018), The Apostle Paul. A Biography (2017), The Apostle Peter: A Biography (2018), Grace and Law. A Commentary on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans (2018), Liturgy. Historical and theological commentary on the Liturgy of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great (2018), Jesus Christ. Biography. Series "Life of Remarkable People" (2019), Patriarch Kirill. Biography. Series "Life of Remarkable People" (2019), etc.
Many books have been translated into foreign languages.
The Works of Metropolitan Hilarion