Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) shouted down as 'heretic'
- Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) shouted down as 'heretic' by members of the
Patriarchate of Moscow
On the evening of Saturday 13 February, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk
was greeted by shouts of 'heretic', as he came out at the polyeleios at
matins. The disturbance took place in the Church of the Icon of the Mother
of God of All those who Sorrow, which is on the Ordynka in Moscow.
Metropolitan Hilarion serves regularly in this church.
The young Metropolitan Hilarion, who possesses a doctorate from the
University of Oxford, has shocked many members of the Patriarchate (and
other Local Orthodox Churches) in recent weeks with various of his private
opinions. These all appear to challenge Russian Orthodox values, for example
concerning traditional Orthodox dress in church, preparation before
communion and relations with Roman Catholicism.
The situation has not been helped by the leaking of a discussion document
which resulted from ecumenical talks about papal primacy. These talks were
held last year in Crete among academics from the Orthodox Church and from
the Vatican. The discussion document has been dubbed the 'Cretan Unia' by
its opponents. The situation thus resembles that in Greece in the 60s and
70s, where Greek ecumenists of that generation were also regularly shouted
down during services as heretics.
All this serves to show just how broad a spectrum of opinion is represented
within the Patriarchate of Moscow. These are far broader than within the
Tradition of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, where views are
much more consistent. Presumably, this must result from the fact that there
are so many recently baptised in the Patriarchate, who do not always know or
understand the Tradition.