Home page News
Metropolitan Hilarion: I would not change thi…

Metropolitan Hilarion: I would not change this ministry for anything else

On the eve of the 30th anniversary of his episcopal consecration, which took place on August 19, 1987, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, gave an interview to Rossijskaya Gazeta.

Your Eminence, on August 19 it will be the 30th anniversary of your episcopal consecration. Tell us how did you make up your mind to become a priest. Have you ever regretted or doubted the path you have chosen?

-  I made the decision to dedicate my life to the service of the Church when I was 15. At that time I attended a music school. I was trained for the career of professional composer. But I was attracted to the Church most of all, attracted by the very atmosphere of the liturgy; the whole order of church life seemed to be my own. Together with my mother we made pilgrimages to various monasteries, together read works of holy fathers and theological literature and talked with priests and elders. The decision to become a priest was gradually growing ripe, but it was a well-considered, well-weighed and unshakable decision. Since I became a monk and shortly a priest, I have never regretted my choice, never doubted its validity. I would not change this service for anything else.

 As a clergyman, you have served in various places beginning from Moscow to Vienna churches. Tell us how diverse the practice of your service was. And what did you like and do you like most of all in your service of God?  - To hear confessions? To celebrate the Liturgy? To take pastoral care of your spiritual children?

-  Celebration of the Liturgy is the spiritual core around which the whole life of a priest is built up. It is the liturgy, the standing at God’s Altar that gives you strength to do the rest.

Thirty years ago I began my priestly ministry in a monastery. But not before long I was sent to a parish and became rector first of two and later four churches in the Lithuanian heartland. Three churches of four were located in villages in which almost no Orthodox people remained, with most of them lying in cemeteries. Radonitsa, the commemoration day of the departed, was the main day of the year, when relatives would come from all over Lithuania to commemorate their dead. And then there was lull till the next Radonitsa. Even on Easter there were no more than 30 people at the service.

After that was a parish in Kaunas – quite a different task. There were many parishioners and much work. I began coming to a Russian school to give religious instruction to children, first in one class, then in two and later in all the ten of them. It was an interesting as well as joyful time.

Then there were studies at Moscow Theological Seminary, training at Oxford, return to Moscow, a meeting with Metropolitan Kirill, now His Holiness the Patriarch. That meeting completely changed my life. If before I was engaged only in pastoral ministry and doing theology, now a new field of work was opened before me, that of external church relations. Twenty-two years ago I stepped into it and now continue with God’s help to tread it.

After six years of work under the guidance of Metropolitan Kirill at the Department for External Church Relations, I was consecrated as bishop and performed various duties in England, Belgium, Austria and Hungary. And for eight and a half years now I have been in Moscow as head of the DECR, chairman of the Theological Commission, rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Institute for Post-graduate Studies, rector of the church in Ordynka Street.

-  You have written quite a number of books including you latest fundamental work ‘Jesus Christ. Life and Teaching’. What language you think should be used to speak to the modern world about God and Salvation?

- First, you should speak in the language of which you yourself have a good command; secondly, an intelligible one for people. I seek to use as much as I can all the languages I master. These are not only languages in literal sense, that is, native and foreign. One language is required for a sermon, another for a TV talk, a third one for a book, a fourth one for an article, a fifth one for an interview, a sixth one for a personal talk, a seventh one for taking a confession and for other sacraments. In addition to the language of words, there is a language of music, in which I sometimes try to convey something to people.

But I use all these languages with a single goal to tell people about God, about Christ, about the Church and about salvation. Perhaps, it was what I was ordained for 30 thirty years ago. Indeed, the service of a priest or a bishop is continuation of the apostolic ministry. The preaching of Christ occupies the central place in it, and I seek to carry out this preaching by all means available to me.

-  Do you continue composing music? Do you like the Orthodox liturgy from the musical point of view? What would you like it to be from the musical point of view?

-  The peak of my musical work fell on the period from 2006 to 2008, when I composed several major works one after another – the Divine Liturgy, the All-Night Vigil, ‘St. Matthew Passions’, ‘Easter Oratorio’, the symphony ‘A Song of Ascent’ – Psalms set to music. Then I also composed a few small pieces including cantata ‘Stabat Mater’. And since 2012, I have composed no music at all. No time.

Liturgical singing should be, above all, prayerful. It should not divert people from prayer but rather encourage it. I am very upset when a choir sings too loud or performs concert numbers. What is important in liturgy is integrity, which also concerns the singing of the church choir. I very much love the Old Russian chanting. But I also love today’s four-voice polyphony, provided that they sing distinctly and devotionally.

Share:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill answered questions from participants in the Ninth Faith and Word festival

22.10.2021

Tripartite meeting held by religious leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia

13.10.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill's congratulations to the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America on his namesake day

09.10.2021

Condolences of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the death of people as a result of fire at a hospital in Constanța (Romania)

04.10.2021

Congratulations from Patriarch Kirill to Patriarch Daniel of Romania on anniversary of his enthronement

30.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presents church awards to DECR chairman and his vice-chairmen

27.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: Patriarch Bartholomew has lapsed into schism

27.09.2021

Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church convenes for second day of work

24.09.2021

Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church completes first day of session

23.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presides at a meeting of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church

23.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill opens conference on primacy and conciliarity in Orthodoxy

16.09.2021

Presentation by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the opening of the ‘World Orthodoxy: Primacy and Conciliarity in the Light of Orthodox Dogmatic Teaching’ conference

16.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill will open a Conference on the Primacy and Conciliarity in Orthodoxy

14.09.2021

Patriarch Kirill leads celebration of Alexander Nevsky’s 800th birthday anniversary in St.Petersburg

12.09.2021

Greetings by the Patriarch to the Russian athletes who participated in the 16th Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo

06.09.2021

Patriarch-Catholicos Karekin II arrives in Moscow at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill

11.10.2021

DECR Chairman congratulated His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon of All America and Canada on his namesake day

09.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: To reveal Christ to people is our most important missionary task

08.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle

07.10.2021

DECR chairman meets with Pope Francis of Rome

06.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk attends interreligious meeting on Religion and Education

06.10.2021

Presentation of the DECR Chairman at the interreligious meeting on Religion and Education

06.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk meets with president of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

05.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk: The Churches are seeking unity on the issue of climate change.

04.10.2021

Concern expressed in the Russian Orthodox Church for the destiny of Christian shrines in Kosovo

04.10.2021

DECR chairman attends Climate Change Summit of Religious Leaders in Rome

04.10.2021

Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Synod is to decide how the presence of the Russian Church in Africa is to be structured.

04.10.2021

Presentation of Chinese version of Patriarch Kirill’s book "In His Own Words"

01.10.2021

DECR chairman sends greetings to His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel of Romania on the 14th anniversary of his enthronement

30.09.2021

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill presents church awards to DECR chairman and his vice-chairmen

27.09.2021

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

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

Page is available in the following languages
Feedback

Fields marked by * are mandatory required

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