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. 


Congratulations from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to the Patriarch-Catholicos of Ethiopia on his 80th birthday

23.01.2022

Patriarchal congratulation to Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ministry

14.01.2022

On the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Primate of the Russian Church celebrated great vespers at the Church of Christ the Savioir

07.01.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: We will stand up for the Patriarchate of Jerusalem

07.01.2022

Christmas Message by Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia

06.01.2022

Burial takes place of archpriest Nikolai Gundyaev

02.01.2022

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill conducts a funeral service for Archpriest Nikolay Gundyaev

02.01.2022

The Holy Synod resolves to form a Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa

29.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia holds a phone conversation with His Beatitude Tikhon, Metropolitan of All America and Canada.

29.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presides over the last session of the Holy Synod in 2021

29.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presides over joint session of the Hoy Synod and the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church

28.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia congratulated Pope Francis on his 85th birthday.

17.12.2021

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill over the tragic consequences of a tornado in a number of US states

13.12.2021

Congratulations of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill to O. Scholz on his election as Federal Chancellor of Germany

08.12.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sent a message to the former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel

08.12.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion expresses condolences over the death of Archpriest Alexander Makarov, a longstanding staff member of the DECR

23.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion congratulated Patriarch-Catholicos of Ethiopia Abune Mathias on his 80th birthday

23.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion attends opening of Valery Khalilov Music Festival

17.01.2022

DECR Chairman meets with Croatia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs

17.01.2022

DECR chairman gives assessment to the first stage of the negotiations on security between representatives of the Russian Federation and the West

16.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: Orthodoxy is a traditional confession in Kazakhstan professed by several million people

16.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: the Church and traditional confessions have done everything possible to appease the situation in Kazakhstan

16.01.2022

A new musical composition dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky is performed in Moscow.

16.01.2022

On the day of the 20th anniversary of his episcopal consecration, DECR chairman celebrates Liturgy at the church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted in Moscow

14.01.2022

Patriarchal congratulation to Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk on the 20th anniversary of his episcopal ministry

14.01.2022

“The tasks before us are large and interesting,” Metropolitan Hilarion said about the work of the Scientific and Educational Theological Association

13.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: Churches will have to make non-standard decisions

12.01.2022

DECR chairman meets with Primate of the Armenian Catholic Church

10.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion presents a state award to the DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations

10.01.2022

On the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Primate of the Russian Church celebrated great vespers at the Church of Christ the Savioir

07.01.2022

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has commanded us to love every human being

31.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: on the Feast of the Holy Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos we glorify the heavenly intercession of the Mother of God

14.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith

29.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul

01.08.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ

27.06.2021

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

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