Press conference on results of Bishops’ Cou ncil of Russian Orthodox Church
Press conference on results of Bishops’ Council of Russian Orthodox
Church took place
Feb 9th, 2013
Press conference on the results of the Holy Bishops’ Council of the
Russian Orthodox Church held in Moscow from 2nd to 5th February 2013
took lace on February 6. Taking part in the meeting with the journalists
in press centre of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour were Metropolitan
Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s
Department for External Church Relations; Metropolitan Pavel of Ryazan
and Mikhailov, head of the Council’s Drafting Committee; Metropolitan
Antoniy of Borispol, chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the
Kiev diocese and first vicar of the Kiev Metropolia; Archimandrite Savva
(Tutunov), deputy chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; archpriest
Vsevolod Chaplin, chairman of the Synodal Department for Church-Society
Relations; and Mr. Vladimir Legoida, chairman of the Synodal Information
Department, who opened press conference and introduced its participants
to the journalists.
Metropolitan Hilarion addressed representatives of the mass media,
saying in particular, “This Council was the most representative in the
history of the Russian Orthodox Church. Neither in the pre-revolutionary
epoch, nor in modern times had so many hierarchs gathered for Divine
services at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour or in the Hall of Church
Council to discuss topical problems of church life.
“According to the Statute, the Bishops’ Council must be convened no less
than once in four years, but actually it is convened once in two years
being thoroughly prepared. Therefore, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
initiated the Inter-Council Presence following the example of the
Pre-Council Presence that worked during preparation for the Local
Council of 1917-18. There are several commissions in the Inter-Council
Presence. They discuss various topic of church life, including the
controversial ones. This body prepares agenda for the Bishops’ Council
which takes decisions on the discussed matters.
“On the first day of the Council’s work, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
presented a penetrating report on the major problems of church life at
home, her external relations, and relations with society, which could be
different as our Church is multinational and fulfils her ministry in
“I would like to note the unanimity that prevails at the Bishops’
Council. This fraternal and constructive atmosphere was greatly
conducive to its success.
Many archpastors participated in such a high gathering for the first
time, as they have been consecrated bishops only recently. The process
initiated by the Patriarch has led to the so called “sub-division” of
diocese. For instance, in the territory in which one diocese existed
earlier, – two, three or four dioceses were established and united into
a metropolitan area because the Church is giving a new impetus to her
missionary ministry and her relations with society.
“This process concerns mostly the so called ‘province’, as the revival
of the Church can be seen in large cities and regional centres with
magnificent cathedral, theological schools and active church life. The
situation is different in little towns and villages. The enemies of the
Church and sectarians use it to their advantage. The establishment of
new dioceses and the diocesan centres is aimed at bringing bishops
closer to the people. There were dioceses with 500-600 parishes located
in great distance of one another, while now, after the Council has taken
certain decisions, all bishops will know all priests personally, visit
parishes and exert real influence on their life.
“A visual symbol of these processes was the presence of many
metropolitans in white cowls at the Council, but the most important
thing and result of the Council was the unanimity manifested in discussions.
“I believe that all bishops have had good impression and would heed to
recommendations and implement concrete decisions of the Council.
“I am confident that these decisions will give a fresh impetus to
successful development of our church life.”
Other participants in the press conference told the press about the
documents adopted by the Council, and the journalists asked many questions.
While answering them, Metropolitan Hilarion underscored the importance
of the documents on the Church’s position on the current problems of
ecology, on the reform of family legislation and on the problem of
Metropolitan Hilarion mentioned a forthcoming visit of His Holiness
Patriarch Kirill to Estonia and expressed his hope for the solution of
the problem relating to the Moscow Patriarchate’s property in this
country, adding that the main goal is the Patriarch’s visit to his flock.
As to theological education in secular higher educational institutions,
Metropolitan Hilarion said that this matter had been considered by the
Council and reflected in its decisions.
He continued, saying, “There are certain problems, for instance, a
prejudice of some scholars against an idea of teaching theology in
secular institutes. They ask, ‘We live in a secular society, so why
theology?’ We have given answers to this question many times. It is
enough to look at the situation in Western Europe and the USA, where the
Church is separated from the state, while theology is a recognized
specialty and theological departments exist at secular universities.
There are many problems related to the reform of education system in the
Russian Federation, and a working group on theology in secular
universities recently set up by the Holy Synod will do concrete work for
Also covered at the press conference was the perpetuation of the names
of the new martyrs and confessors of Russia. The journalists were told
about concrete steps the Russian Orthodox Church will make for
implementing major provision of the documents adopted by the Bishops’