Historical background

The Department for the External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate is an all-important Synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The DECR was established by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on April 4, 1946 when the development of the external work of the Russian Orthodox Church persistently called for creating a special church body that could ensure the stable organization of this important aspect of church life. 

2009

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the DECR since 2009

The Holy Synod by its decision of March 31, 2009, appointed Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria (now Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, vicar of the Diocese of Moscow) as chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. 



At the same time, some DECR functions were transferred to the newly formed Department for the Church-Society Relations which was charged with maintaining relations with state legislative bodies, political parties, professional and creative unions and other institutes of civil society in the canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate, while the missions, church representations, monasteries and patriarchal parishes, which earlier were in the jurisdiction of the DECR, were transferred to the direct subordination to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and to help the Patriarch to administer institutions abroad an appropriate Secretariat was established. The branch of the Moscow Theological Academy post-graduate school, which had functioned under the DECR, was transformed to the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute of Post-Graduate and Doctoral Studies.



The Department for External Church Relations maintains relations of the Russian Orthodox Church 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. 



The duties of the Department for External Church Relations are to give information to His Holiness the Patriarch and the Holy Synod about events and activities taking place outside the Russian Orthodox Church and affecting her interests, to draft church-wise documents and resolutions affecting the sphere of inter-Orthodox, inter-Christians, interreligious, international and other issues included in the terms of reference of the Department.


1991

1981

Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromeyev) of Minsk and Byelorussia

Metropolitan Filaret had the honour to lead the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate for a long period of the Russian Orthodox Church’s preparations for the celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ and at its very solemnity. His Eminence Filaret was the chairman of the Department from 1981 to 1989.



The Department for External Church Relations led by Metropolitan Filaret made a contribution, exceptional in its volume, complexity and importance, to the process involved in the celebration of the great jubilee in June 1988. The celebration of the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ awakened the historical memory of the people living in the Soviet Union and became a nation-wise event as a strongest impetus for the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church’s due pace in the life of society and for the gradual revival of the ages-old traditions of her service and witness to the people of God.  


1972

Metropolitan Juvenaly (Poyarkov) of Krutitsy and Kolomna


From 1972 to 1971 the post of the chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate was occupied by Metropolitan Juvenaly (Poyarkov) of Krutitsy and Kolomna, who led the DECR’s work with commitment to the task entrusted to him, the knowledge of problems and assiduity. 



1960

Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov)

From 1960 to 1972 the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate was headed by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod, who combined the richness of ideas so needed by the Church with resolution and persistence in their implementation. 


Metropolitan Nikodim had to overcome tremendous difficulties caused by secular authorities, and he did it with fidelity to principles so characteristic of him. The external, especially international work of the Church in the years of persecution had an essential importance for preventing it from becoming broader, and making it impossible or difficult for the authorities to close and destroy monasteries and churches. 



Seeking to appoint young bishops to sees abroad, he created opportunities for their consequent transfer to the canonical territory of the Church, as a result of which the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church became considerably younger and increased in number. 


1946

Metropolitan Nikolay (Yarushevich)

Metropolitan Nikolay (Yarushevich) of Krutitsy and Kolomna led the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarch from 1946 to 1960. 

This period defined in many ways the nature of the Russian Orthodox Church’s external relations at the present stage by deepening the traditional forms of inter-church relations and initiating a number of new areas in this sphere of church work. 



It should be specially pointed out that in that period the peacemaking activity of the Church, her first contacts with public organizations led her gradually out of isolation and built the first bridges with the state, the world of politics, science and culture. 


Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

10.04.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over the terrorist attack in Makassar

29.03.2021

Patriarchal condolences over the train crash in the Egyptian province of Sohag

27.03.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs online session of the Supreme Church Council

26.03.2021

Patriarch Kirill congratulates the president of Greece on the occasion of the 200 th anniversary of the struggle for the liberation of the Greek nation

25.03.2021

Patriarchal greeting to His Beatitude Mar Béchara Boutros Cardinal Raï with the 10th anniversary of enthronement

25.03.2021

Patriarchal congratulations to Archbishop Seraphim of Sendai on his 70th birthday

23.03.2021

Patriarchal сondolences over the killing of believers of the Ethiopian Church in the Oromia Region

13.03.2021

Patriarch Kirill congratulates Metropolitan Porfirije on his election to the Serbian Patriarchal See

18.02.2021

Patriarch Kirill presented with Serbian highest national award

15.02.2021

Supreme Church Council holds first online session

11.02.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral marking 12th anniversary of his enthronement

01.02.2021

Congratulations from the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church to Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada on the anniversary of his enthronement

27.01.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea

09.01.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over passenger plane crash in the Java Sea

09.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: actions of a politician must not come into conflict with his religious convictions

11.04.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has kept his love for Orthodoxy for the rest of his life

09.04.2021

First meeting held in 2021 by Presidential Council for International Cooperation’s commission for interaction with religious associations

09.04.2021

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

06.04.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The issue of a change of calendar and Paschalia is not on the Russian Church’s agenda

03.04.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: There exist within the Church differing opinions regarding the permissibility of IVF

03.04.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can know God through Divine energies

28.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Church does not bless the same-sex cohabitation, for it is a sinful way of life

27.03.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairs online session of the Supreme Church Council

26.03.2021

DECR chairman meets with leaders of Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists

25.03.2021

The memory of fighters of the 1821-1823 Greek liberation movement is prayerfully honoured in Moscow

25.03.2021

DECR chairman meets with Ambassador of Montenegro to Russian Federation

25.03.2021

DECR Chairman congratulated the Patriarch of the Maronite Church on the 10th anniversary of his accession to the Throne of Maronite Primates

25.03.2021

The memory of the 1821-1823 Greek liberation movement fighters to be honoured in Moscow

23.03.2021

DECR Chairman congratulated Archbishop Seraphim of Sendai on his 70th birthday

23.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us

07.03.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents

24.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins

19.01.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life

17.01.2021

On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America

07.12.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people

29.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God

19.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God

06.11.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible

25.10.2020

Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people

27.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us

13.09.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation

30.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: God is willing to give everyone a wonderful gift of faith, but people must be willing to accept it

16.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion: We should be mindful of the value of human life

02.08.2020

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates liturgy at Church of Antioch’s Moscow Representation on its patron saint’s day

26.07.2020

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