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.
The Holy Synod appointed Archbishop Varsonofy of Mordovia and Saransk to be acting manager of the Moscow Patriarchate on Tuesday.
Address by Bishop Hilarion of Viena and Austria Moscow Patriarchate Representative to European international organizations31. March 2009 - 8:35
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.
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.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia urged intellectual elite of Russia to remember that it is very important to base on spiritual and moral values in their scientific work.
"Much will change in Russia and in the world, if we blend science and morality, education and firm convictions, if we ingrain voluntary self-sacrifice into our intellectual elite as there can't be true service to Motherland and people without it," Patriarch Kirill said on Friday in his sermon after the service in St. Tatiana Church at Moscow State University.