Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations marks its 65th anniversary
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 DECRs 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 Patriarchates 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 DECRs basis,
the Department for Church and Society Relations
and the Moscow Patriarchates Administration for
Institutions Abroad to perform a part of DECRs
functions. The branch of the Moscow Theological
Academys 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 DECRs
activities along the most important lines.
DECRs 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 DECRs 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
Patriarchates Department for External Church
Relations, read a lecture on inter-Orthodox
relations at the Moscow Theological Academy.