Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias (1946- )
Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias expressed his satisfaction with the results of his reform of the Central Church Administration in 2009. On Friday, in Moscow, opening the winter session of the Holy Synod, the Patriarch reminded us that, this year, “we took very important decisions concerning the restructuring of the Central Church Administration and creating new Synodal agencies and departments, which has significantly altered the work flow in all synodal institutions. Furthermore, I must say that the results of these decisions, especially those taken at a meeting of the Synod at the Danilovsky Monastery on 31 March, now fully demonstrate their timeliness and necessity. I feel it every day, as I work in Moscow”, Patriarch Kirill said. In his opinion, “These new institutions have already stimulated good results throughout society, since a number of these agencies work towards facilitating the interaction of the state and public relations with our Church”.
The patriarch noted that the Synod meeting on Friday also intends to consider “the results of changes in the structure of church governance” and to take decisions “concerning improvements to our church life”. Patriarch Kirill also reported that, in 2009, the Synod met six times. Three of them were in the Danilovsky Monastery in Moscow, two in the historical building of the Synod in St Petersburg, and one, in the summer, was in “the Mother of all Russian Cities”, Kiev, at the Kievo-Pecherskago Lavra.
25 December 2009
One of the most important results of the 31 March meeting was the complete top-to-bottom reconstruction of the Department of External Church Relations. It had existed in its previous form since the time of Nikodim Rotov in the 60s and 70s. Nikodim had restructured the DECR so it could act as a “first-line of defence” for the Church. That is, everything was subordinated to gaining publicity abroad. This stratagem worked. The Church made no advances in the time of Brezhnev… but, it suffered no great losses either, due, in large part, to the publicity gained by the DECR abroad. It laid the groundwork for the beginning of the rebirth of church life in the 80s.
Today, the Church no longer needs such an autonomous body. Therefore, KMG radically restructured the agency, breaking it into three sections. One portion, under Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, works with the Russian government. Another, under Bishop Mark Golovkov, is really a “shadow DECR”. Hilarion Alfeyev only runs a shell of what the agency was under Kirill’s leadership. Indeed, the head of the DECR had always been a ruling bishop, now, it is only a vicar bishop’s position.
Note well what His Holiness said, “Furthermore, I must say that the results of these decisions, especially those taken at a meeting of the Synod at the Danilovsky Monastery on 31 March, now fully demonstrate their timeliness and necessity”. He is not going to go back on his actions… they are fully to his liking, thank you very much. He even hints that more changes are in the offing… what they are, I truly don’t know. However, KMG had the moxie to take on Hilarion Alfeyev and cut him down to size. I think that JP and Co backed the wrong horse in this one. After all, it WAS announced that the Holy Synod was going to have the topic of the diaspora on its agenda… we shall see, won’t we?