Metropolitan Hilarion on the preparation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church
Metropolitan Hilarion made doctor of theology honoris causa by St.
Petersburg Theological Academy
On 2 November 2011, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of
the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations
(DECR), visited the St. Petersburg Theological Academy with the blessing
of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and at the
invitation of Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga.
Metropolitan Hilarion met with the members of the Academic Board,
faculty and students of the Academy. Attending the meeting were
Archbishop Ionafan of Tulchin and Bratslav and Bishop Amvrosiy of
Gatchina, rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Seminary.
Metropolitan Hilarion is accompanied by the DECR vice-chairman, hegumen
Philaret (Bulekov); archpriest Vladimir Shmaliy, vice-rector of the Ss
Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate School; and Director of the St. Gregory
the Theologian Charity, Leonid Sevastianov.
Bishop Amvrosiy of Gatchina introduced Metropolitan Hilarion to the
audience and enumerated his scholarly titles and degrees. He said that
the Academic Board of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and
Seminary decided to confer a title of doctor of theology honoris causa
on Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk in consideration of his numerous
theological transactions and his extensive scholarly and theological work.
Archpriest Kirill Kopeikin, secretary of the Academic Board, read out
Metropolitan Hilarion’s curriculum vita, and Bishop Amvrosiy of Gatchina
handed a cross and diploma of the doctor of theology to Metropolitan
Hilarion and gave him a book with a dedicatory inscription of
Metropolitan Vladimir of St/. Petersburg and Ladoga.
The DECR chairman thanked the Academic Board for the privilege of being
made doctor of theology and delivered a lecture, which he dedicated to
the memory of Metropolitan Nikodim.
Metropolitan Hilarion spoke of the inter-Orthodox cooperation in the
preparation to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the
pre-Council process and expectations.
He noted that preparations for the Council cause bewilderment in certain
circles. Some marginal mass media launched a campaign against the
convening of the Council, while some websites misinform the public by
citing the sayings of the Holy Fathers arbitrarily taken out from the
context. The believers are frightened that the Council will be an
“anti-Christ” council as its decisions would run contrary to the
teaching of the Church, its dogmas, canons, and rules.
“Such arguments have no ground and indicate the lack of knowledge or a
deliberate distortion of historical facts and the tradition of the
Church,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.
He assured all those doubting that the Council will not be the Eighth
Ecumenical Council and will not rescind or review the decisions of the
Seven Ecumenical Councils. “The Council will not cancel fasts, nor will
it introduce married episcopate or allow a second marriage to clergyman.
It will not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome over the
Orthodox Church or sign union with the Catholics. The long and short of
it is that the Council will do nothing of that what some “defenders of
Orthodoxy” fear, displaying zeal that exceeds reason. In case something
adverse to the spirit and the letter of the Seven Ecumenical Council
happens, the Russian Orthodox Church will renounce this Council and its
decisions as she renounced the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1441.
I believe, however, that the other Local Orthodox Church will renounce
Metropolitan Hilarion hopes that in case the Local Orthodox Churches
surmount internal differences and ‘with one heart and one mouth’ witness
their inherent unity, the Council will be an important and remarkable
event. ‘Undoubtedly, it will strengthen Orthodox cooperation and will
help to formulate and voice the pan-Orthodox position on a number of
topical issues, thus consolidating the Orthodox Church and making it
capable of meeting the challenges of the time. The Holy and Great
Council of the Orthodox Church could be a real Triumph of Orthodoxy
provided that convictions, traditions and views of all Local Orthodox
Churches are taken into account in the spirit of brotherly love and
mutual respect,” the DECR chairman said.