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The Moscow revolution: Kirill and the Curia

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=14896&geo=4&size=A 04/02/2009 17:46 RUSSIA The Moscow revolution: Kirill and the Curia The main changes include the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2009
      http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=14896&geo=4&size=A

      04/02/2009 17:46
      RUSSIA
      The Moscow revolution: Kirill and the Curia

      The main changes include the gutting of the Department for External
      Relations, which is losing many of its powers. New dicasteries are
      being created and entrusted to the new patriarch's trusted men.
      Metropolitan Kliment, the former Chancellor and Kirill's main
      competitor to succeed Alexy II, heads to the publishing advisory
      board. The new appointments also include a layman, as head of the
      newly created Information Department.

      Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The first Holy Synod under the direction
      of newly elected Patriarch Kirill has concluded with a revolution in
      the Curia of the Russian Orthodox Church. In practice, the powerful
      Department for External Relations (DECR) is being dismantled. Kirill
      himself had led the department until his election as successor to Alexy II.

      The DECR will be headed by Ilarion Alfeev, who until now was bishop
      of Vienna, and was a proponent of Kirill's election. But the
      department is being gutted, and the management of relations with
      dioceses, branches, monasteries, and parishes is passing directly
      under the patriarch's supervision. For this purpose, the Synod has
      instituted a secretariat for institutions abroad, which will answer
      directly to Kirill, while the DECR - according to the minutes of the
      Synod - will retain only "the oversight of institutes that conduct
      ecclesiastical diplomacy."

      In the wake of the dismantling of the DECR, the meeting last March 31
      instituted new dicasteries and offices. Above all, there is the
      synodal Department for Relations between the Church and Society,
      which is entrusted with the "relationship with the organisms of
      legislative power, with the political parties, with the labor unions,
      cultural organizations, and the other institutions of civil society
      in the canonical territory of the Patriarchate of Moscow." The new
      dicastery will be led by Fr. Vsevolod Chaplin, one of the patriarch's
      trusted men, and will also have the possibility of establishing
      contacts with the governments in the CSI and Baltic countries.

      The radical reshaping of the DECR is interpreted by many as a clear
      break with the most recent past of the Moscow Church - the department
      had been created during the Soviet era - and, together with the
      structural reforms introduced by the Holy Synod, it appears to be a
      maneuver to concentrate the powers of governance into the hands of
      the new patriarch.

      The other new developments include the creation of a synodal
      Information Department, which is being entrusted to a layman:
      Vladimir Legojda, director of the monthly Forma, the main Orthodox
      periodical, with a circulation of about 40,000 copies sent to
      churches and newsstands all over the Federation.

      Finally, a doctoral branch of the Theological Academy of Moscow has
      been created at the DECR, "for the purpose of improving," the minutes
      state, "the level of formation and specific preparation of personnel
      capable of managerial and diplomatic work within the Church."

      The Holy Synod also accepted the resignation of Metropolitan Kliment,
      Kirill's main competitor in the elections for the office of
      patriarch. The former Chancellor of the patriarchate of Moscow, one
      of the most important posts in the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy,
      he has been appointed president of the publishing advisory board, and
      has been replaced by archbishop of Saransk and of Mordovia Varsonofij.

      There have also been changes in the leadership of the synodal
      Department for Religious Instruction and Catechesis: Ioann Ekonomcev,
      rector of the Orthodox Institute of Saint John, has been replaced as
      president by Bishop Zarajsk, former Chancellor of the patriarchate's
      parishes in the United States.
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