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Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk

The Most Reverend Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk.

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk (born Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev, 24 July 1966) is a hierarch of the Church of Russia, theologian, church historian and composer. At present he is the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow. He is also the author of several volumes on dogmatic theology, patristics and church history, numerous articles in various languages, and musical compositions for choir and orchestra.


Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev was born on July 24, 1966 in Moscow. From 1972 to 1982 he studied violin, piano and composition at the Moscow Gnessins School and from 1983 to 1986 at the Moscow State Conservatory. From 1984 to 1986 he served in the Soviet military.[1]

Church activity

In January 1987 he entered the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was tonsured as a monk on June 19, ordained a deacon on June 21 and ordained a priest on August 19 of the same year.[1]

In 1989 he graduated by correspondence from the Moscow Theological Seminary and in 1991 from the Moscow Theological Academy, with the degree of Master of Theology.

Until 1991 he had also served as a parish priest in Lithuania, including two years as dean of the Annunciation Cathedral in Kaunas.

From 1991 to 1993 he taught Homiletics, Dogmatic Theology, New Testament Studies and Byzantine Greek at the Moscow Theological Academy, St. Tikhon's Orthodox Theological Institute (Moscow, Russia), and St. John the Theologian's Orthodox University.

From 1993 to 1995 he studied at Oxford University (UK) under the supervision of Bishop Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia. In 1995 he completed his doctoral thesis on St Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

From 1995 to 2001 Hilarion Alfeyev served as Secretary for Inter-Christian Affairs of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. He also taught part-time at Smolensk and Kaluga Theological Seminaries (Russia), at St Vladimir's and St Herman's Theological Seminaries (USA), as well as at Cambridge University (UK).

On December 27, 2001, he was elected bishop and on January 14, 2002, consecrated by His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and 10 other hierarchs. He served as an Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh in Great Britain until his nomination, on July 17, 2002, as Head Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

On May 7, 2003, he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria, administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary, in addition to his position in Brussels, which he continues to hold.

On March 31, 2009 he was appointed the Bishop of Volokolamsk, the Vicar to the Patriarch of Moscow, the chairman of the Department of the External Church Relations (the position previously held by Patr. Kirill himself), and a permanent member of the Holy Synod ex officio.

On Pascha Monday, 2009, he was raised to the rank of Archbishop by Patriarch Kyrill during the Divine Liturgy in the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow.

In November 2009, Archbishop Hilarion was named to the Board of Trustees of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, New York.

On February 1, 2010, he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan by Patriarch Kyrill.

Scholarly work

Metropolitan Hilarion is author of more than 600 publications, including at least ten volumes in English:

Apart from his doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford, Metropolitan Hilarion also holds a doctorate in theology from St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, which was awarded to him in 1999. In February 2005 he was elected a Privat-Dozent of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland).

Musical activity

Metropolitan Hilarion is the author of numerous musical compositions. His St Matthew Passion, grand oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra, received a standing ovation at its performances at the Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory (March 27, 2007)[2], at the Auditorium Conciliazione in Rome (March 29, 2007)[3], and at St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne (September 28, 2007).

Equally well received was his Christmas Oratorio, performed in Washington, Boston and New York (December 18-20, 2007) and later in Moscow (January 7 and 15, 2008), as well as his Stabat Mater, which had its world premiere in January 2012 under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov.

Ecumenical activity

Bishop Hilarion speaks to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches.

Bishop Hilarion is a member of the Executive and Central Committees of the World Council of Churches, of the Presidium of 'Faith and Order' Commission, as well as of numerous bilateral theological dialogues. In 1998 he headed the five-member Moscow Patriarchate's delegation to the eighth WCC Assembly in Harare, and in February 2006 he headed the Moscow Patriarchate's 21-member delegation to the ninth assembly in Porto-Alegre.

Bishop Hilarion is a permanent member of the Joint International Commissions for the Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church; between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church; and between the Orthodox Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.

He is also interested in interfaith dialogue among all major world religions, and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.[4]

On October 10, 2007, Bishop Hilarion walked out of an important meeting of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic International Theological Commission at Ravenna, allegedly in protest against the choice of delegates by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His action was approved by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On October 5, 2008 he took part in the "Bible Marathon" organized by the Italian state TV channel RAI-Uno.[5] He read Chapter Two from the Book of Genesis, immediately following Pope Benedict XVI, who read Chapter One. Alfeyev was followed by 1246 readers from various countries.

In September 2009, at the invitation of Cardinal Walter Kasper, he visited Pope Benedict XVI and several officials of the Roman Curia who have key roles in Roman Catholic ecumenical dialogue.[6]

Late in 2010, Metropolitan Hilarion gave an important speech to senior Anglican bishops and professors at the Nikean Club dinner at Lambeth Palace, criticizing proposals for the ordination of women bishops and the alleged toleration of homosexual activity by some Anglicans.[7]



In English:

  • Christ the Conqueror of Hell: The Descent into Hell in Orthodox Tradition. New York: SVS Press.
  • Jesus Christ: His Life and Teaching, Vol. 1: The Beginning of the Gospel. New York: SVS Press, 2018.
  • St Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian. Cistercian Studies No 175. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications, 2000.
  • The Mystery of Faith: Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002.
  • Orthodox Christianity, Vol. 1: The History and Canonical Structure of the Orthodox Church. New York: SVS Press.
  • Orthodox Christianity, Vol. 2: Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church. New York: SVS Press.
  • Orthodox Christianity, Vol. 3: The Architecture, Icons, and Music of the Orthodox Church. New York: SVS Press.
  • Orthodox Christianity, Vol. 4: The Worship and Liturgical Life of the Church. New York: SVS Press.
  • Orthodox Christianity, Vol. 5: Sacraments and Other Rites, New York, SVS Press, 2019.
  • Orthodox Witness in a Modern Age. Geneva: WCC Publications, 2006.

In French:

  • Le mystère de la foi: Introduction à la théologie dogmatique orthodoxe. Paris: Cerf, 2001.
  • L'univers spirituel d'Isaac le Syrien. Bellefontaine, 2001.
  • Syméon le Studite. Discours ascétique. Introduction, texte critique et notes par H. Alfeyev. Sources Chrétiennes 460. Paris: Cerf, 2001.
  • Le mystère sacré de l'Eglise: Introduction à l'histoire et à la problématique des débats onomatodoxes. Fribourg: Academic Press, 2006.
  • Le chantre de la lumière: Initiation à la spiritualité de saint Grégoire de Nazianze. Paris: Cerf, 2006.
  • Le Nom grand et glorieux. Etude sur la vénération du Nom de Dieu et la prière de Jésus dans la tradition orthodoxe. Paris: Cerf (à paraître).

In Italian:

  • La gloria del Nome. L'opera dello schimonaco Ilarion e la controversia athonita sul Nome di Dio all'inizio dell XX secolo. Edizioni Qiqajon. Bose, Magnano, 2002.
  • La forza dell'amore. L'universo spirituale di sant'Isacco il Syro. Bose: Qiqajon, 2003.
  • Cristo Vincitore degli inferi. Bose: Qiqajon, 2003.

In German:

  • Geheimnis des Glaubens. Einführung in die orthodoxe dogmatische Theologie. Aus dem Russischen übersetzt von Hermann-Josef Röhrig. Herausgegeben von Barbara Hallensleben und Guido Vergauwen. Universitätsverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 2003. 2. Ausgabe — Fribourg: Academic Press, 2005.

In Greek:

  • O agios Isaak o Syros. O pneumatikos tou kosmos. Athina: Akritas, 2005.

In Serbian:

  • Тајна вере: увод у православно догматско богословље. Превод са руског Ђорђе Лазаревић; редактор превода Ксенија Кончаревић. Краљево: Епархијски управни одбор Епархије жичке, 2005.

In Finnish:

  • Uskon mysteeri. Johdatus ortodoksineen dogmatiseen teologiaan. Ortodoksisen kirjallisuuden Julkaisuneuvosto. Jyväskylä, 2002.

In Hungarian:

  • A hit titka. Bevezetés az Ortodox Egyház teológiájába és lelkiségébe. Magyar Ortodox Egyházmegye, 2005.

In Polish:

  • Tajemnica wiary. Wprowadzenie do prawosławnej teologii dogmatycznej. Warszawska Metropolia Prawosławna (w przygotowaniu).

In Russian:

  • Таинство веры. Введение в православное догматическое богословие. М.-Клин: Изд-во Братства Святителя Тихона, 1996. Издание второе — Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2000. Издание третье — Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2004. Издание четвертое — Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2005.
  • Отцы и учители Церкви III века. Антология. Т. 1-2. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии, 1996.
  • Жизнь и учение св. Григория Богослова. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя, 2001.
  • Духовный мир преподобного Исаака Сирина. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя, 2001.
  • Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов и православное Предание. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя, 2001.
  • Преподобный Исаак Сирин. О божественных тайнах и о духовной жизни. Новооткрытые тексты. Перевод с сирийского. М.: Изд-во «Зачатьевский монастырь», 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя, 2003.
  • Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. Главы богословские, умозрительные и практические. Перевод с греческого. М.: Изд-во «Зачатьевский монастырь», 1998.
  • Восточные Отцы и учители Церкви IV века. Антология. Т. 1-3. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии, 1998—1999.
  • Ночь прошла, а день приблизился. Проповеди и беседы. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1999.
  • Православное богословие на рубеже эпох. Статьи, доклады. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1999. Издание второе, дополненное — Киев: Дух i лiтера, 2002.
  • Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. «Прииди, Свет истинный». Избранные гимны в стихотворном переводе с греческого. СПб.: Алетейя, 2000.
  • Восточные Отцы и учители Церкви V века. Антология. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии, 2000.
  • Христос — Победитель ада. Тема сошествия во ад в восточно-христианской традиции. СПб.: Алетейя, 2001. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя, 2005.
  • О молитве. Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2001. Издание второе — Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2004.
  • Вы — свет мира. Беседы о христианской жизни. Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2001. Издание второе — Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2004.
  • Человеческий лик Бога. Проповеди. Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2001.
  • Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. Преподобный Никита Стифат. Аскетические произведения в новых переводах. Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2001.
  • Священная тайна Церкви. Введение в историю и проблематику имяславских споров. В двух томах. СПб.: Алетейя, 2002.
  • Во что верят православные христиане. Катехизические беседы. Клин: Фонд «Христианская жизнь», 2004.
  • Православное свидетельство в современном мире. СПб: Издательство Олега Абышко, 2006.

In Romanian:

  • Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog si Traditia Ortodoxa. Bucureşti: Editura Anastasia (in preparaţie).

In Japanese:

  • 信仰の機密 Shinkō no kimitsu. Nikolai Takamatsu yaku. Tōkyō Fukkatsu dai Seidō, 2004.

Musical compositions

  • "Four Poems by F. Garcia Lorca" for voice and piano (1984).
  • "The Divine Liturgy" for mixed choir (2006).
  • "The All-Night Vigil" for soloists and mixed choir (2006).
  • "Matthaeus-Passion" ("The Passion according to St Matthew") for soloists, choir and orchestra (2006).
  • The "Christmas Oratorio" for soloists, boys' choir, mixed choir and symphony orchestra (2007).
  • "Memento" for symphony orchestra (2007).
  • "A Song of the Ascents". A symphony on the Psalms for choir and orchestra (2008).
  • "Stabat Mater". World premiere in 2012 under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov.

Succession box:
Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk

Preceded by:
Anatoly (Kuznetsov)
Bishop of Kerch
Succeeded by:
Anatoly (Kuznetsov)

Preceded by:
Paul (Ponomaryov)
Bishop of Vienna and Austria
Succeeded by:

Preceded by:
Kyrill (Gundyayev)
6th Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of Moscow Patriarchate
March 31, 2009 - present
Succeeded by:

Preceded by:
Pitirim (Nechayev)
Metropolitan of Volokolamsk
Succeeded by:
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Orthodox and Anglican Churches are on different sides of the abyss, says Russian Orthodox leader.