Department for external church relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR)
The Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations is a major Synodal institution of the Russian Orthodox Church.
DECR was founded by the Holy Synod on 4 April 1946, when the development of the Church’s external activities made it urgent to establish a special church body for sustaining this essential aspect of church life.
At present, DECR’s status and tasks are defined by the Statute of the Russian Orthodox Church and the DECR By-Laws. DECR is accountable to the Patriarch and the Holy Synod who annually approve its work plan. The documents guiding DECR are actions of Local and Bishops’ Councils of the Russian Orthodox Church, resolutions of the Holy Synod and patriarchal instructions. DECR chairman is appointed by the Patriarch and the Holy Synod. According to the Holy Synod decision of 16 December 1961, DECR chairman shall be a bishop who shall have the status of permanent member of the Holy Synod.
DECR Chairman – Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
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.