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On 30 August 2013, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, met with His Excellency Mr. Tim Barrow, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Russian Federation. They were joined in the meeting, which took place at the DECR premises, by Archpriest Sergiy Zvonarev, DECR secretary for far-abroad countries, Mr. Miguel Palacio, a staff member of the DECR secretariat for far-abroad countries, and Ms Helen Watson, First Secretary of the Embassy of Great Britain.

The participants in the meeting discussed the situation in Syria. The DECR chairman noted that external intervention could cause the escalation of conflict in Syria and would inevitably lead to the aggravation of the situation of Christian population of the country. In response to Mr. Barrow’s request, Metropolitan Hilarion told about the Russian Orthodox Church’s cooperation with the Patriarchate of Antioch, other Christian Churches and Muslim communities in Syria.

The DECR chairman also told the British Ambassador about the current relations between the Church and state in Russia, the role of the Russian Church in social life of the countries that form the historical Rus’, about the inter-faith dialogue and theological education in secular higher education institutions.

The Ambassador of Great Britain thanked Metropolitan Hilarion for the meeting and expressed his willingness to develop cooperation with the Department for External Church Relations.