Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations – Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (since 31 March 2009)
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 entered the service of reader at the Church of the Founding of the Lord’s Sepulcher in Moscow. From 1983, he acted as sub-deacon to Metropolitan Pitirim (Nechaev) of Volokolamsk and Yuriev and worked as non-staff for 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 novice the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius.
On June 19, 1987, Archbishop Victorin (Belyaev) 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, the Bishop Anatoly of Ufa and Sterlitamak (now Archbishop of Kerch), acting on the blessing of Archbishop Victorin of Vilnius and Lithuania, ordained him hieromonk at Cathedral of Our Lady in Vilnius.
From 1988 to 1990, he served as 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, he took part in the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church as delegate from the diocesan clergy of Vilnius and Lithuania.
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 to the University of Oxford for internship. 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 Oxford University with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in 1995.
From 1995, he worked at the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations. From August 1997 to the beginning of 2002, he directed its secretariat for inter-Christian relations.
In the period from 1995 to 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 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, 2002, he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria and charged with temporary administration over the diocese of Budapest and Hungary, retaining the office of Russian Orthodox Church Representative at European international organizations in Brussels.
On February 1, 2005, he was elected privat-docent of the Faculty of Theology’s Chair of Dogmatic Theology, University of Freiburg, Switzerland.
On August 24, 2005, he was awarded the St. Macarius Prize for his work on ‘The Church’s Sacred War. An Introduction to the History and Problems of Onomatodoxic Polemics’.
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 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 Church Post-Graduate and Doctoral School of the Moscow Patriarchate.
On April 9, 2009, he was appointed as rector of the Church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted in Bolshaya Ordynka in Moscow.
On April 20, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and on February 1, 2010, to the rank of metropolitan.
Since May 28, 2009, he has been member of the Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious Associations.
Since July 27, 2009, he has been member of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Inter-Council Presence and its Presidium as chairman of its commission on attitude to non-Orthodox confessions and other religions and vice-chairman of its commission for opposing and overcoming church schisms and as member of its commission on theological, liturgical and church art issues.
Since July 26, 2010, he has been member of the Patriarchal Council for Culture.
Since January 13, 2010, he has been member of the Board of Guardians of the Russian World Foundation.
Since March 22, 2011, he has been member of the Supreme Church Council.
Academic ranks and degrees:
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 1995
Doctor of Divinity, St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, 1999.
Honorary Doctor, Russian State Social University.
Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Theological Faculty, University of Catalonia.
Professor Emeritus, Russian Christian Humanitarian Academy.
Professor of theology honoris causa, University of Lugano, Switzerland.
Professor, Fribourg University, Switzerland.
Member of Russia’s Union of Composers.
Member of the editorial boards of magazines Bogoslovskie trudy, Moscow, Tserkov i vremya, Moscow, Studia Monastica, Barcelona, and Vizantijskaya biblioteka series, St. Petersburg.
Diplomas of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1996 and 1999), the Polish Orthodox Church’s Medal of Prince Constantine of Ostrog (2003), the Orthodox Church in America’s Silver Order of St. Innocent (2009), the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Order of St. Isidore of Yuriev, Class II (2010), the Orthodox Church of Moldova’s Order of St. Stephan the Great, Class II (2010), the Orthodox Church of Alexandria’s Order of St. Mark, Class II (2010), the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia’s Order of Sts Cyril and Methodius with the Gold Star (2011), the Order of Friendship (2011), Republic of Lithuania’s Medal for Courage and Self-Sacrifice (1992), the Order of Burgomaster Jonas Vileisis (Kaunas, Lithuania, 2011), the Order of Serbian Falcons from the Union of Serbian Falcons (2011), the Sigillum Magnum Gold Medal from the University of Bologna, Italy (2010), the St. Macarius Prize (2005).
Metropolitan Hilarion is author of over 700 publications including monographs on 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).
He is also author of a number of musical compositions including Divine Liturgy and All-Night Vigil for a choral a capella performance, Passions according to Matthews for soloists, a choir and an orchestra, and Christmas oratorios for soloists, a boys’ choir, a mixed choir and a symphony orchestra.
On February 1, 2010, was elevated to the rank of metropolitan by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia