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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.

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Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk

Basic Information

Founded by a decision of the Holy Synod of April 4, 1946. It is the oldest synodal institution of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The DECS is among the executive bodies of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod. Its status and tasks are defined by the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Statute of the Department. The Department is accountable to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod, which annually approve the program of its activities.

The chairman of the Department for External Church Relations has the status of a permanent member of the Holy Synod.

Fields of concern

The DECR maintains the Russian Orthodox Church’s relations with:

  • Local Orthodox Churches

  • Non-Orthodox churches and Christian associations

  • Non-Christian religious communities

  • Governmental, parliamentary, public organizations abroad

  • Inter-governmental, religious and public international organizations.

In addition, by the Holy Synod decision of April 20, 2005, a Commission was formed under the Department for External Church Relations for the Affairs of Old Rite Parishes and Relations with the Old Believers communities.

The DECR is responsible for informing His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod about events and activities taking place outside the Russian Orthodox Church and affecting its interests and for drafting church-wise documents and decisions affecting the sphere of inter-Orthodox, inter-Christian, interreligious, international relations and other issues within the terms of reference of the Department. 

The DECR runs a website and publishes the scientific-theological and church-public academic magazine ‘Church and Time’.

The leadership of the DECR

DECR Chairman

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk


Archbishop Leonid of Vladikavkaz and Alania

Archpriest Nikolay Balashov

Archimandrite Philaret (Bulekov)

The structure of the Department

The structure of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations includes the following;

  • Secretariat for inter-Orthodox relations

  • Secretariat for Interreligious Relations

  • Secretariat for the far abroad

  • Protocol section

  • Communication Service

  • Publications section

  • Language Service

There is also a Commission for the Affairs of Old Rite Parishes and Relations with the Old Believers communities


Metropolitan Hilarion: Summit of the heads of Churches is possible in foreseeable future


Metropolitan Hilarion: A new wave of capturing churches is possible in Ukraine


Metropolitan Hilarion: Restoration of unity in our common Orthodox family is possible only through the denial of false ecclesiology


Interview of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to Romfea church news agency


Patriarch Kirill Gives Christmas Interview to Rossia TV


Bishop Irinej of Bačka: No one has a right to trifle with centuries-old canonical order of the Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion: Constantinople’s papist claims are groundless


Metropolitan Antony of Borispol and Brovary: Metropolitan Amfilohije was surrounded with love of all Montenegrins


Metropolitan Hilarion: Archbishop of Cyprus can be no longer liturgically mentioned in the Russian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion: We have supported and will support the canonical Church of Montenegro


Metropolitan Hilarion: For the Orthodox Church, Hagia Sophia church is the same as St. Peter’s Cathedral for the Catholics


Metropolitan Hilarion: Decision to transform Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a blow to the entire world Orthodoxy


Metropolitan Hilarion: Any attempt to change the present status of Hagia Sophia will violate the interreligious balances established in Turkey


Metropolitan Hilarion: consultations in “Amman format” will continue


Metropolitan Hilarion: Absence of particular Churches from Amman will not make the meeting less significant


"Freedom and Responsibility as Viewed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill". Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (International Hellenic University online seminar, 16th February 2021)


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk gave an online lecture for the Theological Institute of St. John of Damascus, Balamand University


Address by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at a session of the Interreligious Council of Russia attended by Mr. Miguel Moratinos, High-Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk greets participants and guests of XIV International Festival ‘Russia Abroad’


Opening address of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to participants in the panel discussion on Russki Mir Online


Speech by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the session of Supreme Church Council on 11th December 2019


Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary attends presentation of Metropolitan Hilarion’s book


Address by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia at the opening of the 2nd Summit of World Religious Leaders in Baku


Presentation by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Budapest Forum for Christian Communicators


Metropolitan Hilarion attends theological conference devoted to St. Paul


Archpriest Nikolay Danilevich: The situation in Ukraine is not at all such as being presented to Patriarch Bartholomew and as he declares to the world


Paper read by Bishop Joanikije of Budimlja and Niksic (Serbian Orthodox Church) at international academic reflection-action conference on Violations of Rights of Believers in Ukraine


Russia - Ukraine - Belarus: One Spiritual Space


Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol: Our faithful feel betrayed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate


Metropolitan Hilarion: Patriarch Bartholomew’s actions do not heal the schism but rather deepen it



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