Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk concludes US visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Jonah

On Tuesday, August 31, 2010, His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev] of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Russian Orthodox Church, and permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Moscow Patriarchate, concluded his three-day working visit to New York at the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk concludes US visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Jonah
Metropolitans Jonah and Hilarion with [from left] Fr. Chad Hatfield, Bishop Michael, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Bishop Tikhon, and Fr. John Behr at the Chancery’s St. Sergius Chapel.

A member of the Board of Trustees of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY, Metropolitan Hilarion was to have concelebrated the Divine Liturgy with Metropolitan Jonah at the school’s Three Hierarchs’ Chapel on Sunday, August 29, but was unable to do so due to illness. [Earlier reports that he was to have attended a meeting of the seminary trustees were incorrect.]

On Monday, August 30, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Chancery of the Orthodox Church in America. Joining Metropolitan Jonah in welcoming him were His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Michael of New York and New Jersey; Archpriest Alexander Garklavs, OCA Chancellor; and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, OCA Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations. Also present were Archpriests John Behr and Chad Hatfield, Dean and Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary respectively, and Priest Alexander Rentel, Secretary of the seminary’s Academic Council.

After the celebration of a Service of Prayer in honor of the Saints of North America in the Chancery’s Saint Sergius Chapel, a meeting was held [as previously reported at] for the purpose of “contributing to the reflections within the OCA regarding its participation in the Episcopal Assembly process” as part of ongoing periodic fraternal conversations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Church in America.

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk concludes US visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Jonah
Discussions held at the OCA Chancery.

“Metropolitan Hilarion affirmed the Russian Orthodox Church’s commitment to uphold its granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970,” said Father Alexander Garklavs after the meeting. “Various prospects for future developments in the Orthodox world also were discussed.”

Metropolitan Jonah added that “though rather brief, the discussions with Metropolitan Hilarion were extremely positive and reiterated the deep symbolic and historical links between our Churches.”

[A photo gallery of the visit appears on the Web site of the Moscow Patriarchate at]

Later that day, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America in New York, where he held a working meeting with His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios to discuss “a wide range of issues concerning relations between various Orthodox jurisdictions in North America,” as reported on the web site of the Moscow Patriarchate [see]. Also participating in the meeting were Archpriest Mark Arey, Director of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations of the Greek Archdiocese, and Archpriest Seraphim Gan, Secretary of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia [ROCOR].

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk concludes US visit at the invitation of Metropolitan Jonah
Visit to St. Seraphim Church, Sea Cliff, NY. From left Fr. Seraphim Gan, Fr. Alexander Garklavs, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Metropolitan Jonah, ROCOR Metropolitan Hilarion, and Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky.

Metropolitan Hilarion also visited His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, with whom he “discussed a wide range of issues concerning cooperation between the Church in Russia and the Church in diaspora and inter-Orthodox cooperation in the American continent” [see]. That evening, Metropolitan Jonah and Fathers Alexander Garklavs and Leonid Kishkovsky joined the Metropolitans and Father Seraphim Gan for a visit to and meeting at Saint Seraphim of Sarov Church [ROCOR], Sea Cliff, NY.

On 31 August Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk met with Ms. Anne Glynn-Mackoul and Fr. Leonid Kishkovsky, who are the US Orthodox members of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, representing, respectively, the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Orthodox Church in America. Ms. Mackoul is also a member of the WCC Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration and of the WCC Governance Group, which is assessing possible changes in the structure and governance of the Council. They shared opinions on a wide range of problems of Orthodox participation in the governing bodies of the WCC. They also briefly shared perspectives on Orthodox relations in ecumenical settings and in inter-church contexts.

Prior to his departure the same day, Metropolitan Hilarion once again met with Metropolitan Jonah and Father Alexander Garklavs.