Home page News
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk speaks at&nbs…

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk speaks at the opening of the 4th European Orthodox-Catholic Forum in Minsk

On 2 June 2014, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), arrived in Minsk with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to take part in the 4th European Orthodox-Catholic Forum.

Metropolitan Hilarion is accompanied by hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), DECR secretary for Inter-Christian Relations, and hierodeacon Nikolai (Ono).

Upon his arrival in the capital of Belarus, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Minsk Diocesan Administration and met with Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarch Exarch of All Belarus.

The 4th European Orthodox-Catholic Forum on ‘Religion and Cultural Pluralism: Challenges for the Christian Churches in Europe’ opened in the conference hall at the Memorial Church of All the Saints in Minsk in the evening of June 2. Taking part in the forum are bishops of the Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions of Europe, clergymen and theologians.

Mr. Leonid Guliako, envoy for religious affairs and nationalities of the Republic of Belarus, read out greetings from the Byelorussian President, Alexander Lukashenko.

Metropolitan Philaret (Vakhromeyev), Honourary Exarch of All Belarus, greeted the delegates, noting the importance of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, and wished them fruitful work.

Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima (Ecumenical Patriarchate), co-chairmen of the Forum from the Orthodox side, read out greeting from Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

Message from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, with greetings from His Holiness Pope Francis, was read out by Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, Apostolic Nuncio to Belarus.

Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Slutsk greeted the participants on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church. He called the work for the preservation of moral evangelical values a major task of the present state of the Orthodox-Catholic cooperation. The fact of holding the dialogue in Belarus is symbolic, as Belarus has given a traditional example of inter-confessional peace and successful cooperation among representatives of different confessions.

Metropolitan Hilarion noted in his welcoming speech that the meetings of representatives of the Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions of Europe, the first of which took place in 2008, have become quite regular. He underscored that in the present situation we cannot limit ourselves merely to the discussion of theoretical issues, but have to interact on a practical level too. He said that the tragedy in Ukraine has not only political, but also religious dimension. Sadly, the Greek Catholics have played ‘a very destructive role in allowing this situation to develop. The words of their leading archbishop, hierarchs and clergy and an extremely politicized position have brought about the polarization of society and a worsening of the conflict which has already led to numerous victims.’

Metropolitan Hilarion continued to say that such actions ‘have caused great damage not only to the Ukraine and her citizens, but also to the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue. All of this has put us back a great distance, reminding us of the times when the Orthodox and Catholics viewed each other not as friends but as rivals.’

‘Today once again it has been all the more obvious what the Orthodox knew - that the Unia was and, unfortunately, remains a special project of the Catholic Church aimed at undermining canonical Orthodoxy. It was here, in the country of Byelorussia, that the notorious 'the Union of Brest' of 1596 was concluded and which brought untold suffering to the Orthodox population of these lands.’

Metropolitan Hilarion appealed to all partners in the dialogue ‘to do all that is possible to cool down the “hotheads” among the Uniates, to halt the actions of the Greek Catholics in making the crisis in the Ukraine worse.’

He thinks that ‘today one part of the Catholic Church is employing all its strength, talents and resources in strengthening Orthodox-Catholic interaction, while another (even though it enjoys autonomous status) is doing everything possible, as in former unfortunate times, to drive the wedge of distrust and enmity between Orthodox and Catholics.’

Addressing the participants also were Archbishop-Metropolitan Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk and Mogilev; Bishop Alexander Kashkevich of Grodno, chairman of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Belarus; and Cardinal Péter Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, co-chairman of the forum from the Catholic side. He donated a particle of relics of St. Stephan, King of Hungary, to the Byelorussian Exarchate.

The opening session was concluded by a concert performed by a male choir of the Memorial Church of All the Saints and by a reception given on behalf of the Byelorussian Exarchate.


The European Orthodox-Catholic Forum was instituted in 2008 on the initiative of Cardinal Péter Erdö, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, and Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria (now Metropolitan of Volokolamsk and chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations).

Discussed at the three previous forums held in Trent, Rhodes and Lisbon, were the problems of the family, Church-state relations, and the economic crisis and poverty.

The Forum will work till June 5.

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


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


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


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


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


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


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill: Patriarch Bartholomew has lapsed into schism


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Metropolitan Hilarion meets with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle


DECR chairman meets with Pope Francis of Rome


Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk attends interreligious meeting on Religion and Education


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


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


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


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


DECR chairman attends Climate Change Summit of Religious Leaders in Rome


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


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


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


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


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


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


Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people


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


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


Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible


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


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


Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation


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