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 piano.

At the age of 15, he entered the service of reader at the Church of the Finding 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, 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. He took his monastic vows there on June 19, 1987, and on June 21 Archbishop Victorin of Vilnius and Lithuania ordained him hierodeacon. On August 19, at Cathedral of Our Lady in Vilnius, the Archbishop Anatoly of Ufa and Sterlitamak (now Archbishop of Kerch) ordained him hieromonk.

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.

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 1992 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 Theological Institute and Patrology at St. John the Theologican Russian Orthodox University.

He was sent to the University of Oxford for internship in 1993. 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 2002, he directed its secretariat for inter-Christian relations.

From 1995 to 1997, he taught Parology 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 a course on Dogmatic Theology at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, USA, and on 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.

He was elevated to the rank of hegumen by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad on Easter 2000 at the Church of the Holy Trinity at Khoroshevo, Moscow. By the Holy Synod decision of 27 December 2001, Hegumen Hilarion, upon his elevation to the rank of archimandrite, was made Bishop of Kerch, Vicar of the Surozh diocese. The consecration was celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia assisted by ten bishops.

On 17 July 2002, the Holy Synod appointed him Bishop of Podolsk, Vicar of the Moscow diocese, and head of the Russian Orthodox Church representation at European international organizations.

He was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria on 7 May 2003 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, Bishop Hilarion was elected privat-docent of the chair of dogmatic theology at the University of Freiburg department of theology, Switzerland.

On August 24, 2005, he was awarded 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 chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s 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.

On April 9, 2009, Bishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk was appointed rector of the Church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted in Bolshaya Ordynka street in Moscow.

On April 20, Bishop Hilarion was elevated to the rank of archbishop by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

Archbishop Hilarion is member of the editorial boards of magazins Bogoslovskie trudy, Moscow, Tserkov i vremya, Moscow, Vestnik russkogo khristianskogo dvizhenia, Paris-Moscow, Studia Monastica, Barcelona, and Vizantijskaya biblioteka series, St. Petersburg.

He was awarded diplomas of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1996 and 1999), Republic of Lithuania’s Medal for Courage and Self-Sacrifice (1992), Polish Orthodox Church’s Medal of Prince Constantine of Ostrog (2003), and the Orthodox Church in America’s Silver Order of St. Innocent (2009).

Archbishop 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.

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