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Hilarion Alfeyev (born Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev,[a] 24 July 1966) is a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. 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 a noted theologian, church historian and composer and has published books on dogmatic theology, patristics and church history as well as numerous compositions for choir and orchestra.

Metropolitan of Volokolamsk
Митрополит Иларион на встрече с Ставросом Димасом.jpg
Metropolitan Hilarion in his study
Native name
ChurchRussian Orthodox Church
Other postsBishop of Vienna and Austria, Administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary
by Alexy II
Personal details
Birth nameGrigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev
Григо́рий Вале́риевич Алфе́ев
Born24 July 1966
Moscow, Russian SFSR
EducationMoscow Theological Academy
Pembroke College, Oxford



Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev was born on 24 July 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 Conservatoire. From 1984 to 1986 he served in the Soviet military.[1]

In January 1987, after serving in the military, he became a monk (see below under Church activity).[1] In 1989 graduated from the Moscow Theological Seminary and in 1991 from the Moscow Theological Academy with the degree of Master of Theology.

From 1991 to 1993 he taught homiletics, dogmatic theology, New Testament studies and Byzantine Greek at the Moscow Theological Academy, St Tikhon’s Theological Institute and St John the Theologian’s Orthodox University.

From 1993 to 1995 he studied at the University of Oxford (UK) under the supervision of Bishop Kallistos Ware. 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.[2]

Church activityEdit

In January 1987 he entered the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was tonsured as a monk on 19 June, ordained a deacon on 21 June and ordained priest on 19 August in the same year.[1] Until 1991 he served as a parish priest in Lithuania, including two years as dean of Annunciation Cathedral in Kaunas.

From 1995 to 2001 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 Seminary (USA) and at Cambridge University (UK).

On 27 December 2001 he was nominated bishop. On 14 January 2002 he was consecrated by Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and 10 other hierarchs.

Appointed Assistant (Vicar) Bishop in the Diocese of Sourozh in the UK, but as a result of an acute conflict situation around him and at Metropolitan Anthony's request,[3] the Holy Synod decided, only a few months later, on 17 July 2002, that he was to be transferred and nominated as Head of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions in Brussels.

On 7 May 2003 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 appointed the Bishop of Volokolamsk, the Vicar to the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, the chairman of the Department of the External Church Relations (the position previously held by the current Patriarch Kirill), and a permanent member of the Holy Synod, ex officio.

On Easter Monday, 2009 was raised to an archbishop by Patriarch Kirill during the Divine Liturgy in The Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. On 1 February 2010, at a Liturgy to celebrate the first anniversary of the enthronement of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, he was raised to the rank of Metropolitan. [1]

Views on the nature of the Orthodox ChurchEdit

In an interview given on 19 July 2010, Alfeyev said: "The Orthodox Church as a whole does not have a unified structural or administrative format. Administratively, it is, if one can say so, a confederation of autocephalous, that is, completely independent of one another, Orthodox Churches. (...) Problems arising in relations between Orthodox Churches are not theological or dogmatic in nature, but rather pertaining, for instance, to who should govern particular territories. Historically, some regions in different times were parts of different Local Churches. And today there may be two Churches who claim a particular region. (...) In the 1990s, we had a very difficult streak in relations with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, who unilaterally created its own church jurisdiction in our canonical territory, namely, in Estonia. It happened because in the 20s and 30s the Estonian Orthodox Church was temporarily part of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Because of this, our relations with Constantinople were suspended for several months. They were restored later but remained tense. The Estonian problem still exists but recently His Holiness Patriarch Kirill has made some steps towards the Patriarchate of Constantinople for the express purpose of relieving the tension (...)."[4]

In general, opinions on such matters among Orthodox Christians vary.

Scholarly workEdit

Alfeyev is the author of more than 600 publications, including four monographs in English: St Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2000)[2], welcomed by the press [3], The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian (Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, MI, 2000)[4], The Mystery of Faith. An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002)[5], Orthodox Witness Today (WCC Publications, 2006)[6].

Apart from his doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford, Alfeyev 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 activityEdit

Alfeyev is 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 (27 March 2007),[5] at the Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome (29 March 2007),[6] and at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne (28 September 2007).[7] Equally well received was his Christmas Oratorio, performed in Washington, Boston and New York (18–20 December 2007)[8] and later in Moscow (7 and 15 January 2008) and his Stabat Mater (world premiere in January 2012 under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov). On the other hand, a Washington Post review described a 2011 performance of the Oratorio as "banal music that seemed the Russian equivalent of the cheesy carol arrangements by John Rutter".[9]

Ecumenical activityEdit

Alfeyev 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 5-member Moscow Patriarchate delegation to the 8th WCC Assembly in Harare, and in February 2006 head the Moscow Patriarchate's 21-member delegation to the 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre.

Alfeyev 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 Communion, 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.[10]

On 10 October 2007, Alfeyev walked out of an important meeting of the Orthodox-Catholic International Theological Commission at Ravenna, in protest against the choice of delegates by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. His action was approved by the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.[11][12]

On 5 October 2008, Alfeyev took part in the "Bible marathon" organized by the Italian state TV channel RAI-Uno. 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 Catholic ecumenical dialogue.

Late in 2010, Alfeyev spoke to senior Anglican bishops and professors at the Nikean Club dinner at Lambeth Palace,[13] criticizing proposals for the ordination of women as bishops and the toleration of homosexual activity by some Anglicans.

In April 2017, he expressed his approval of the Supreme Court decision to allow a ban of the worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in the Russian Federation. He claims that the Witnesses beliefs that do not coincide with those of his faith, such as the rejection of the Trinity doctrine, are reason to outlaw their religion.[14]

Honours and awardsEdit

  • Order of Friendship (20 July 2011) – for outstanding contribution to the development of spiritual culture and strengthening friendship between peoples
  • Medal of January 13 (Lithuania, March 4, 1992)
  • Letters of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia (1996 and 1999)
  • Order of the Holy Martyr Isidore of Tartu, 2nd class (2010, Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate)
  • Order of Saint Stephen the Great pious governor, 2nd class (2010, The Orthodox Church of Moldova)
  • Order of St. Innocent of Moscow, 2nd class (Orthodox Church in America), 2009)
  • Order of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, 2nd class (Orthodox Church of Alexandria, 2010)
  • Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, a gold star (Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia, 2011)
  • Order of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, 2nd class (Antiochian Orthodox Church, 2011)
  • Medal of Prince Constantine of Ostrog (Orthodox Church of Poland, 2003)
  • Makarievskaya Award (24 August 2005) – for the work "Sacred Mystery of the Church. Introduction to the history and issues imyaslavskih disputes"
  • Sigillum Magnum – Gold Medal (University of Bologna, Italy, 2010)
  • Order of Mayor Jonas Vileišis (Kaunas, Lithuania, 2011)
  • Order of Sokolov (Public Organization "Union of Serbian Sokolov," 2011)

Selected discographyEdit

  • Bach / Hilarion - Ich ruf' zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ. Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Stephan Genz, Russian National Orchestra. PENTATONE PTC 5186593 (2017).
  • Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev (1966). De Profundis. Compositions for orchestra and choir. Stabat Mater, Concerto grosso, Fugue on the B-A-C-H motif, Canciones de la muerte, De profundis. Moscow Synodal Choir, Russian National Orchestra. Conducted by Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. PENTATONE PTC 5186486 (2015).


Books only:

In EnglishEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Hilarion (2000), St Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ——— (2000), The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian, Cistercian Studies (175), Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications.
  3. ——— (2002), The Mystery of Faith. Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church, London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
  4. ——— (2006), Orthodox Witness in a Modern Age, Geneva: WCC Publications.
  5. ——— (2009), Christ the Conqueror of Hell. The Descent into Hell in Orthodox Tradition, New York: SVS Press.
  6. ——— (2011), Orthodox Christianity, I. The History and Canonical Structure of the Orthodox Church, New York: SVS Press.
  7. ——— (2012), Orthodox Christianity, II. Doctrine and Teaching of the Orthodox Church, New York: SVS Press.
  8. ——— (2014), Orthodox Christianity, III. The Architecture, Icons and Music of the Orthodox Church, New York: SVS Press.
  9. ——— (2017), Orthodox Christianity, IV. The Worship and Liturgical Life of the Orthodox Church, New York: SVS Press.
  10. ——— (2018), Jesus Christ His Life and Teaching, I The Beginning of the Gospel, New York: SVS Press.
  11. ——— (2019), Orthodox Christianity, V. Sacraments and Other Rites, New York: SVS Press.

In FrenchEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Hilarion (2001), Le mystère de la foi. Introduction à la théologie dogmatique orthodoxe [The mystery of faith: introduction to orthodox dogmatic theology] (in French), Paris: Cerf.
  2. ——— (2001), L’univers spirituel d’Isaac le Syrien [The universal spirit of Issac the Syrian] (in French), Bellefontaine.
  3. ——— (2001), "Introduction, texte critique et notes", in Alfeyev, Hilarion (ed.), Discours ascétique [Ascetical discourse], Sources Chrétiennes (in French) (460), Paris: Cerf.
  4. ——— (2006), Le chantre de la lumière. Initiation à la spiritualité de saint Grégoire de Nazianze [The chant of light: introduction to the spirituality of saint Gregory of Nazianze] (in French), Paris: Cerf.
  5. ——— (2007), Le mystère sacré de l’Église. Introduction à l’histoire et à la problématique des débats athonites sur la vénération du Nom de Dieu [The sacred mystery of the Church: introduction to the history and problems of the athonite debates on the veneration of God’s name] (in French), Fribourg: Academic Press.
  6. ——— (2007), Le Nom grand et glorieux. La vénération du Nom de Dieu et la prière de Jésus dans la tradition orthodoxe [The great & glorious name: the veneration of God’s name & Jesus’ prayer in the orthodox tradition] (in French), Paris: Cerf.

In ItalianEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Hilarion (2002), La gloria del Nome. L’opera dello schimonaco Ilarion e la controversia athonita sul Nome di Dio all’inizio dell XX secolo [The name’s glory: the work of schimonaco Ilarion and the athonite controversy on God’s name at the start of the XX century] (in Italian), Bose, Magnano: Qiqajon.
  2. ——— (2003), La forza dell’amore. L’universo spirituale di sant’Isacco il Syro [The strength of love: the spiritual universe of saint Isaac the Syrian] (in Italian), Bose: Qiqajon.
  3. ——— (2003), Cristo Vincitore degli inferi [Christ the hell’s conqueror] (in Italian), Bose: Qiqajon.

In GermanEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2005) [Universitätsverlag Freiburg Schweiz, 2003], Hallensleben, Barbara; Vergauwen, Guido (eds.), Geheimnis des Glaubens. Einführung in die orthodoxe dogmatische Theologie [Mystery of faith. Introduction to Orthodox dogmatic theology] (in German), Roehrig, Hermann-Josef trans (2 ed.), Ausgabe — Fribourg: Academic Press.

In GreekEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2005), Ο αγιος Ισαακ ο Συρος. Ο πνευματικος του κοσμος (O agios Isaak o Syros. O pneumatikos tou kosmos) [St. Isaac the Syrian: the spiritual world] (in Greek), Athina: Akritas.

In SerbianEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2005), Končarević, Ksenija (ed.), Тајна вере: увод у православно догматско богословље [The secret of faith: an introduction to the Orthodox dogmatic theology] (in Serbian), Лазаревић, Ђорђе [Lazarevic, Djordje] transl, Краљево [Kraljevo]: Епархијски управни одбор Епархије жичке [Diocesan Steering Committee of the Diocese].

In FinnishEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2002), Uskon mysteeri. Johdatus ortodoksineen dogmatiseen teologiaan [The mystery of faith. Introduction to Orthodox dogmatic theology] (in Finnish), Jyväskylä: Ortodoksisen kirjallisuuden Julkaisuneuvosto [Council of Orthodox literature].

In HungarianEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2005), A hit titka. Bevezetés az Ortodox Egyház teológiájába és lelkiségébe [The secret of faith. Introduction to the Orthodox Church's theology and spirituality] (in Hungarian), Magyar Ortodox Egyházmegye [Hungarian Orthodox Diocese].

In PolishEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion, Tajemnica wiary. Wprowadzenie do prawosławnej teologii dogmatycznej [The mystery of faith. Introduction to Orthodox dogmatic theology] (in preparation) (in Polish), Warszawska Metropolia Prawosławna [Warsaw Metropolitan Church].

In RussianEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Hilarion (2005), 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" (in Russian).
  2. ——— (1996), Отцы и учители Церкви III века. Антология. Т. 1-2. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии (in Russian).
  3. ——— (2001), Жизнь и учение св. Григория Богослова. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя (in Russian).
  4. ——— (2001), Духовный мир преподобного Исаака Сирина. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя (in Russian).
  5. ——— (2001), Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов и православное Предание. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1998. Издание второе — СПб.: Алетейя (in Russian).
  6. ——— (2003), 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 (in Russian).
  7. ——— (1998), Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. Главы богословские, умозрительные и практические. Перевод с греческого. М.: Изд-во "Зачатьевский монастырь" (in Russian).
  8. ——— (1998–1999), Восточные Отцы и учители Церкви IV века. Антология. Т. 1-3. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии (in Russian).
  9. ——— (1999), Ночь прошла, а день приблизился. Проповеди и беседы. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья (in Russian).
  10. ——— (2002), Православное богословие на рубеже эпох. Статьи, доклады. М.: Изд-во Крутицкого патриаршего подворья, 1999. Издание второе, дополненное — Киев: Дух i лiтера (in Russian).
  11. ——— (2000), Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. "Прииди, Свет истинный". Избранные гимны в стихотворном переводе с греческого. СПб.: Алетейя (in Russian).
  12. ——— (2000), Восточные Отцы и учители Церкви V века. Антология. М.: Круглый стол по религиозному образованию и диаконии (in Russian).
  13. ——— (2005) [2001], Христос — Победитель ада. Тема сошествия во ад в восточно-христианской традиции [Christ – Winner of hell. On the descent into hell in the Eastern Christian tradition] (in Russian) (2 ed.), СПб [St. Petersburg]: Алетейя [Aletheia].
  14. ——— (2004), О молитве. Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь", 2001. Издание второе — Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь" (in Russian).
  15. ——— (2004), Вы — свет мира. Беседы о христианской жизни. Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь", 2001. Издание второе — Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь" (in Russian).
  16. ——— (2001), Человеческий лик Бога. Проповеди. Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь" (in Russian).
  17. ——— (2001), Преподобный Симеон Новый Богослов. Преподобный Никита Стифат. Аскетические произведения в новых переводах. Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь" (in Russian).
  18. ——— (2002), Священная тайна Церкви. Введение в историю и проблематику имяславских споров. В двух томах. СПб.: Алетейя (in Russian).
  19. ——— (2004), Во что верят православные христиане. Катехизические беседы. Клин: Фонд "Христианская жизнь" (in Russian).
  20. ——— (2006), Православное свидетельство в современном мире. СПб: Издательство Олега Абышко (in Russian).

In RomanianEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Hilarion (2008), Hristos, biruitorul iadului. Coborarea la iad din perspectiva teologica (in Romanian), Bucureşti: Sophia.
  2. ——— (2014), Taina credinței. Introducere în teologia dogmatică ortodoxă (in Romanian), Iaşi: Doxologia.
  3. ——— (2014), Lumea dohovnicească a Sfântului Isaac Sirul (in Romanian), Iaşi: Doxologia.

In JapaneseEdit

  • Alfeyev, Hilarion (2004), 信仰の機密. 約 (Shinkō no kimitsu. Nikolai Takamatsu yaku) [Secret of faith. About Nikolai Takamatsu] (in Japanese), ときょ [Tōkyō]: 復活 大 制度 (Fukkatsu dai Seidō) [Resurrection large system].

Musical compositionsEdit

  1. Alfeyev, Grigoriy Valerievich (1984), Four Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca (voice and piano).
  2. ——— (2006), The Divine Liturgy (mixed choir).
  3. ——— (2006), The All-Night Vigil (soloists and mixed choir).
  4. ——— (2006), St Matthew Passion (soloists, choir and orchestra).
  5. ——— (2007), Christmas Oratorio (soloists, boys' choir, mixed choir and symphony orchestra).
  6. ——— (2007), Memento (symphony orchestra).
  7. ——— (2008), A Song of the Ascents (symphony on the Psalms; choir and orchestra).
  8. ——— (2012), Stabat Mater; première under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov.
  9. ——— (2012), Fugue on a BACH Motif (orchestra).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russian: Иларио́н (Григо́рий Вале́риевич) Алфе́ев.


External linksEdit