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Hilarion Alfeyev (Conductor, Composer)

Born: July 24, 1966 - Moscow, Russia

Hilarion Alfeyev (born: Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev) 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.


From 1972 to 1982, Hilarion Alfeyev 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.

In January 1987, after serving in the military, Hilarion Alfeyev became a monk (see below under Church activity). 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.

Church Activity

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

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 Seminary (USA) and at Cambridge University (UK). On December 27, 2001 he was nominated bishop. On January 14, 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, the Holy Synod decided, only a few months later, on July 17, 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 May 7, 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, Hilarion Alfeyev was 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 February 1, 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.

Scholarly Work

Hilarion 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), welcomed by the press, The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian (Cistercian Publications, Kalamazoo, MI, 2000), The Mystery of Faith. An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002), Orthodox Witness Today (WCC Publications, 2006).

Apart from his doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford, Hilarion 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 Activity

Hilarion 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 (March 27, 2007), at the Auditorium Conciliazione, Rome (March 29, 2007), and at St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne (September 28, 2007). Equally well received was his Christmas Oratorio, performed in Washington, Boston and New York (18–20 December 18-20, 2007) and later in Moscow (January 7 & 15, 2008) and his Stabat Mater (world premiere in January 2012 under the direction of Vladimir Spivakov).

Ecumenical Activity

Hilarion 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.

Hilarion 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.

On October 10, 2007, Hilarion 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. On October 5, 2008, he 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. he 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, he spoke to senior Anglican bishops and professors at the Nikean Club dinner at Lambeth Palace, criticizing proposals for the ordination of women as bishops and the alleged toleration of homosexual activity by some Anglicans.

In April of 2017, Hilarion Alfeyev 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 no coincide with those of his faith, such as the rejection of the trinity doctrine, are reason to outlaw their religion.

Honours and Awards

Order of Friendship (July 20, 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 Constaof 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 Vileyshisa (Kaunas, Lithuania, 2011)
Order of Sokolov (Public Organization "Union of Serbian Sokolov," 2011)

Source: Wikipedia Website (September 2017)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2017)

Hilarion Alfeyev: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings of Works for Orchestra

Links to other Sites

Hilarion Alfeyev (Wikipedia)
Hilarion Alfeyev (Official Website) [Russian/English]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Saturday, October 21, 2017 16:36