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Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations marks its 65th anniversary

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8339 05 April 2011, 16:31 Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations marks its 65th
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2011
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      http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=8339

      05 April 2011, 16:31
      Moscow Patriarchate Department for External
      Church Relations marks its 65th anniversary

      Moscow, April 5, Interfax - The Moscow
      Patriarchate Department for External Church
      Relations, one of the most important Synodal
      department of the Russian Orthodox Church, marks
      its 65th anniversary on 4 April 2011, the DECR's communication service reports.

      The DECR was set up by the Holy Synod on 4 April
      1946 as the development of external activities of
      the Russian Orthodox Church demanded a special body for it.

      Metropolitan Nikolai (Yarushevich) of Krutitsy
      and Kolomna was the first DECR chairman until
      1960. The DECR was headed by Metropolitan Nikodim
      (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod from 1960 to
      1972, by Metropolitan Juvenaly (Poyarkov) from
      1972 to 1981, and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk
      and Byelorussia from 1981 to 1989.

      His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All
      Russia headed the DECR as archbishop from 1989 to
      1991 and as metropolitan from 1991 to 2009.
      Qualitative changes in the DECR structure and
      activities were introduced during this period.
      Dialogue with the state authorities was enhanced
      to a new level; contacts and cooperation with
      political, public, cultural and other
      organizations were expanded and consolidated.

      The DECR elaborated the document on the attitude
      of the Church to various social developments and
      problems – the Bases of the Social Concept of the
      Russian Orthodox Church that was adopted at the
      Jubilee Bishops’ Council in 2000.

      The unity of the Moscow Patriarchate and the
      Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was
      reestablished by the signing of the Act on
      Canonical Communion on 17 May 2077. This was the
      result of long consultations and talks held with
      the DECR’s active participation.

      Being guided by pastoral care for the Orthodox
      compatriots living outside of our Motherland, the
      DECR has contributed to the increase in number of
      the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes and institutions abroad.

      After the demise of Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow
      and All Russia, the Holy Synod elected
      Metropolitan Kirill locum tenens of the
      Patriarchal Throne on 6 December 2008, while on
      27 January 2009 he was elected Patriarch of
      Moscow and All Russia by the Local Council of the
      Russian Orthodox Church and was enthroned at the
      Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 1 February 2009.

      On 31 March 2009, the Holy Synod resolved to
      optimize the activities of the Synodal
      departments and has set up, on the DECR’s basis,
      the Department for Church and Society Relations
      and the Moscow Patriarchate’s Administration for
      Institutions Abroad to perform a part of DECR’s
      functions. The branch of the Moscow Theological
      Academy’s postgraduate course attached to the
      DECR was reorganized as the Ss Cyril and
      Methodius Postgraduate and Doctoral School.

      Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria (now
      Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, Vicar of the Moscow
      Diocese) was appointed Chairman of the Department
      for External Church Relations.

      At present, the Secretariats for inter-Orthodox
      Relations, for inter-Christian relations, and for
      the far abroad countries carry out the DECR’s
      activities along the most important lines.

      DECR’s status and tasks are determined by the
      Statutes of the Russian Orthodox Church and the
      DECR By-Laws. DECR is accountable to the
      Patriarch and the Holy Synod who annually approve
      its work plan. The documents guiding DECR are
      actions of the Local and Bishops’ Councils of the
      Russian Orthodox Church, resolutions of the Holy
      Synod and instructions of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

      According to tradition, DECR jubilees are celebrated after Easter.

      The fiftieth jubilee was celebrated on 27 March
      1996 with the participation of the Primate of the
      Russian Orthodox Church His Holiness Patriarch
      Alexy II, His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of
      Bulgaria, and members of the Holy Synod,
      including the then DECR chairman, now His
      Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

      On 6 June 2006, Patriarch Alexy II of the blessed
      memory led the celebration of the DECR’s 60th
      anniversary held at St. Daniels’ Monastery.

      For the 65th anniversary, the front of the DECR
      building was decorated by the fresco of the Most
      Holy Mother of God with omophorion in her hands.
      The decoration was made thanks to the St. Gregory
      the Theologian Charity Foundation.

      On 4 April 2011, the jubilee date, Metropolitan
      Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow
      Patriarchate’s Department for External Church
      Relations, read a lecture on inter-Orthodox
      relations at the Moscow Theological Academy.
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