World Council of Churches delegation meets with DECR staff

The delegation of the World Council of Churches met with the Department of External Church Relations staff on July 1, 2010. Participating in the meeting were DECR vice-chairman Hegumen Philip Riabykh, DECR acting secretary for inter-Christian relations Rev. Dimitry Sizonenko, DECR communication service director Rev. George Zavershinsky, DECR translation service director Rev. Arseny Chernikin; as well as Rev. Alexander Vasyutin of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations, and other DECR staff members.

The WCC delegation included WCC deputy general secretary Georgios Lemopoulos (Patriarchate of Constantinople), Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand (Serbian Orthodox Church), WCC commission for interchurch cooperation executive secretary Archpriest Daniil Buda (Patriarchate of Romania), Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi (Anglican Church of Burundi), Metropolitan Bishoi (Coptic Church), Prof. Dr. Dagmar Heller, Ecumenical Institute Bossey, and others.

Welcoming the guests, Father Philip told them about the history of the DECR, the oldest Synodal department of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as its secretariats and work. He also introduced DECR staff to the guests. He noted that at present the Russian Orthodox Church is going through a rebirth as most of the Russian population claim to be Orthodox. At the same time, catechism and church initiation remain urgent problems.

Speaking on behalf of the WCC delegation, Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi thanked the DECR staff for having organized their meeting with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and state officials and for the talks the delegation had with the DECR chairman Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk. The archbishop underscored the importance of joint Christian preaching.

The DECR staff members answered questions from the WCC delegation, speaking in particular about the educational programs carried out for youth, charitable and social work of the Church and other activities in church life in Russia. Special attention was given to the work of the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church Post-Graduate and Doctoral School.

In conclusion of the meeting Archbishop Ntahoturi thanked the DECR staff for hospitality and gave them tokens of the meeting.

Source: DECR Communication Service