Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev, an Oxford-educated cleric who served as the Moscow Patriarchate's representative to European organizations in Brussels, has been appointed as head of the Russian Orthodox Church's Department of External Church Relations.
The appointment was made on 31 March at the first meeting of the church's synod of bishops chaired by Patriarch Kirill I since his enthronement in February 2009.
A Department for Relations between the Church and Society has been set up within the church's administrative structure, according to a decision at a session the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on Tuesday. "The synodal Department for Relations between the Church and Society has been set up, and Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has been appointed its head," Vladimir Vigilyansky, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate press service, told journalists following the session.
Address by Bishop Hilarion of Viena and Austria Moscow Patriarchate Representative to European international organizations31. March 2009 - 7:35
by Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria
Moscow Patriarchate Representative to European international organizations
Reverend Archpastors and Pastors,
Distinguished Participants in the Conference:
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia - having read the statement of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church made on January 24 and the letter from His Holiness Patriarch of Bulgaria sent on January 30 - considered with brotherly compassion the difficulties faced by Bulgarian Orthodox again due to the Strasbourg court's decision of January 22, 2009. During his talks with the Bulgarian Orthodox delegation to his enthronement as well as Bulgarian President Georgi Parvnov, he expressed support for the Bulgarian Church and Bulgarian State in their defence of canonical Orthodoxy and their search for ways of overcoming the schism. The participation of a Russian Orthodox delegation in this conference is an expression of our desire to help the sister Church in overcoming new problems.
The Russian Orthodox Church accepts that it is important and necessary to fight against criminality in Internet, but doesn't think that strengthening of control over world web can play key role in struggling against social vices. "We shouldn't lay all our hopes on some prohibitive measures in Internet, it's way to nowhere," PR head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Fr. Mikhail Prokopenko told Interfax-Religion.
First since Metropolitan Kirill was elected to the Moscow patriarchal see session of the Holy Synod will be held on March 31, Tuesday, the Patriarchate's press service has reported. The session is to open in the afternoon at St. Daniel's Monastery. Patriarch Kirill will chair the meeting.
Orthodox vespers was conducted last week in Notre Dame de Paris following the tradition of Lent. Over 500 pilgrims from various cities of France and neighboring European countries venerated the Savior's crown of thorns. Rector of the Three Holy Hierarchs Church Hegumen Nestor (Sirotenko) conducted the vespers, the Korsun Diocese website has reported.