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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 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


350 thousand believers take part in Great Procession with the Cross devoted to the Day of the Baptism of Rus'

27.07.2021

Aid given to people in Syrian city of Maaloula with assistance of Russian Orthodox Church Representation

27.07.2021

Interview of chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary

26.07.2021

New church of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, built in place of the old one captured by schismatics, was blessed in Rovno region

26.07.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The most important task of the Church is to consolidate our unity

26.07.2021

Head of Russia’s MFA Sergey Lavrov’s interview towards DECR chairman Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s 55th birthday

24.07.2021

Primates of Local Orthodox Churches wished the DECR chairman happy 55th birthday

24.07.2021

The premiere of the film “A Hierarch” about Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to take place on July 24

24.07.2021

Patriarch wishes Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk happy 55th birthday

24.07.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with France’s ambassador to Russia

23.07.2021

DECR deputy chairman attends opening ceremony of I.A.O. 28th General Assembly

23.07.2021

Russian ambassador in Israel meets with Primate of the Church of Jerusalem

22.07.2021

Metropolitan Clement of Nezhin and Priluky informed the OSCE mission about attacks against the faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

22.07.2021

Patriarch Kirill greets the participants of the XXVIII annual General Assembly of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy

22.07.2021

A group of pilgrims from Ukrainian Orthodox Church visits Corfu Island

21.07.2021

Interview of chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Anthony of Borispol and Brovary

26.07.2021

Head of Russia’s MFA Sergey Lavrov’s interview towards DECR chairman Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk’s 55th birthday

24.07.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Through common efforts we will manage to overcome the pandemic

09.07.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the work of the DECR can be compared to the service of border-guards

20.05.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Russian Orthodox Church does not want primacy in the Orthodox world

15.05.2021

Bishop Sylvester of Belogorodka: Constantinople’s actions against Ukraine is the unprecedented example of violation of canonical norms

13.05.2021

Irinej, Bishop of Bačka: “Patriarch Bartholomew’s Interference in Ukraine Has Caused a Schism Throughout the Whole of World Orthodoxy”

05.05.2021

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

06.04.2021

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

22.03.2021

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

01.02.2021

Interview of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to Romfea church news agency

26.01.2021

Patriarch Kirill Gives Christmas Interview to Rossia TV

07.01.2021

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

05.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Constantinople’s papist claims are groundless

06.12.2020

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

09.11.2020

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

16.02.2021

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

31.01.2021

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

21.01.2021

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

08.11.2020

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

03.11.2020

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

11.12.2019

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

28.11.2019

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

14.11.2019

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

06.09.2019

Metropolitan Hilarion attends theological conference devoted to St. Paul

27.06.2019

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

07.06.2019

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

05.06.2019

Russia - Ukraine - Belarus: One Spiritual Space

02.06.2019

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

26.11.2018

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

14.11.2018

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