In his address at the event, Mr Ivanov said that the support the Department for External Church Relations provides to compatriots abroad is an important part of relations between the state and the church. Mr Ivanov noted that the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church today covers more than 10 countries in Europe and Asia and its parishes bring together millions of people around the world. Mr Ivanov said that the department plays a big part in developing humanitarian cooperation, representing the Russian Orthodox Church in influential international organisations.
Mr Ivanov said that over the years, this department has been headed by outstanding figures within the Russian Orthodox Church who made a great contribution to reviving the traditions of pastoral service and educational work in Russian society. For around 20 years, until 2009, the department was headed by current Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill. Mr Ivanov noted Patriarch Kirill’s contribution to developing multifaceted activity and strengthening relations with the Orthodox Churches in different localities and with representatives of Christian and other traditional religions.
The Moscow Patriarchate Department of External Church Relations was organised by an order of the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod in 1946. It represents the Church in relations with Russian Orthodox churches in different localities and with Russian and foreign government, parliamentary, public and religious organisations. The department also organises the Patriarch’s visits abroad.