Home page News
DECR chairman speaks at Athens forum on relig…

DECR chairman speaks at Athens forum on religious pluralism in Middle East

October 30, 2017 – the second conference on the situation of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East opened at the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens. Its theme is ‘Religious and Cultural Pluralism and Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East’. The first forum on this topic took place in the Greek capital on October 18-20, 2015.

The conference is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic. The forum assembled delegates from 50 countries including Primates of Local Orthodox Churches, representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant communities, Muslim leaders, statesmen, and representatives of international organizations and the academic community.

Among the attendees are Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Patriarchs Theodore of Alexandria and All Africa, Theophilos of Jerusalem, Archbishops Chrysostomos of New Justiniana and All Cyprus, Ieronymos of All Greece and Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania.

Opening speeches were made by President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikolaos Kotzias. They were followed by high-ranking religious and political leaders.

The Russian Orthodox Church was represented by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s department for external church relations (DECR). Before the beginning of the conference, Metropolitan Hilarion warmly greeted Primates of Local Orthodox Churches. The DECR chairman made a report on the disastrous situation of Christians in the Middle East. He stressed the need to give all possible support to the restoration of the Christian presence in Syria and other Middle East countries: ‘The extremists and terrorists have in recent times been surrendering their positions. In Syria, thanks to the decisive actions of the Russian army, they have been almost totally destroyed. De-escalation zones are being set up; conditions are emerging for both the return of civilians and for the restoration of the infrastructure and aid supplies. Today we, the religious and political leaders, representatives of the expert community, must together think of what we can do to return Christians to their homelands’.

After his report the DECR chairman gave an interview to the chief of the Athens office of the Russia Today international news agency, Gennady Melnik.

The conference was attended by heads and representatives of other Christian Churches, including Catholicos Aram of Cilicia, representatives of the Coptic, Maronite and Syriac Orthodox Churches, foreign ministers of Hungary, Austria and other European countries, high-ranking representatives of the Islamic countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and others, the head of the Bektashi Order Haji Dede Edmond Brahimaj, the Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs Rabbi David Rosen, representatives of the UN, Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international organizations.

Key reports were made on various aspects of the problem of the situation of believers in the Middle East and North Africa.

During the forum, which will last till October 31, its participants will attend the reception to be given by Greek Prime Minister A. Tsipras. There will be a concluding press conference to be led by the Hellenic foreign affairs minister N. Kotzias.

Metropolitan Hilarion is accompanied at the forum by Rev. Dimitry Safonov, DECR secretary for interreligious relations, and Hierodeacon Gregory (Sokolov), DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations.

DECR Communication Service

Commentary by the Communications Service of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate on the interview given by Pope Francis to the Italian publication Corriere della sera.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s talk with Primate of Serbian Orthodox Church


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill celebrates Paschal Great Vespers at the Church of Christ the Saviour


Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the archpastors, pastors, deacons, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church


Holy Synod members discuss the issue of rendering aid to refugees and suffering civilians in Ukraine


Holy Synod considers it important that the Russian Church’s stance on the crisis in Ukraine be brought to notice of the heads of non-Orthodox Churches and inter-Christian organizations


Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church meets under the chairmanship of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill


Metropolitan Hilarion: The main thing in a person's life is their relationship with God


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s address to the Supreme Church Council on March 18, 2022


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill chairing a meeting of the Supreme Church Council


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill had a talk with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia talks with Pope Francis


Patriarch’s homily on the Sunday of Orthodoxy at Christ the Saviour Cathedral


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sent a letter to the Acting General Secretary of WCC in connection with the events in Ukraine


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill holds a conference with leaders of several church establishments


Metropolitan Hilarion meets with leaders of a major inter-Cristian humanitarian organization


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk visits Exarchate of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem in Cyprus


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk holds negotiations with head of the DECR of the Malankara Church


DECR chairman meets with representative of the Armenian Apostolic Church Catholicosate of Cilicia


Russian Orthodox Church delegation attends Orthodox Pre-Assembly of World Council of Churches


Metropolitan Hilarion on the work carried out by the Church amid the political confrontation in Ukraine


Metropolitan Hilarion: Imposing sanctions will not affect the life of the Russian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion on details of the talk between His Holiness Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis of Rome


Metropolitan Hilarion: We have learned from own experience that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Church is called upon to unite people regardless of their political orientation


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s talk with Primate of Serbian Orthodox Church


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Paschal services.


Metropolitan Hilarion on how Orthodox Churches are helping refugees


Metropolitan Hilarion on setting a date for the Bishops’ Council


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers of Good Friday with the procession of the burial-shroud.


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk celebrates Vespers and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great on Holy and Great Thursday.


Metropolitan Hilarion: the essence of religious life lies in the love for God


Metropolitan Hilarion: May the joy of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world live in our hearts always


On Christmas Eve, Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Moscow church in honor of the icon of the Mother of God "Joy to All who Sorrow" on Bolshaya Ordynka.


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord calls every person to salvation in a variety of ways


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Page is available in the following languages

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

Send a message
Рус Укр Eng Deu Ελλ Fra Ita Бълг ქარ Срп Rom عرب