The DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations

Relations with non-Orthodox Christians are maintained through the efforts of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations. Its tasks are defined by the need to bear witness to Orthodoxy, to ensure inter-confessional peace and to carry out joint actions in social and cultural areas and in charity. ‘Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church are engaged in dialogues with non-Orthodox people on the basis of commitment to the apostolic and patristic tradition of the Orthodox Church and to the teaching of the Ecumenical and Local Councils. In doing so, they exclude any dogmatic concessions and compromises in the faith’ (The Basic Principles of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Attitude to Non-Orthodoxy’, Par. 4.3).

The Russian Orthodox Church maintains relations with the Oriental (non-Chalcedonian) Churches, among them the Coptic Church, Egypt, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Church, the Jacobite Syrian Church, Syria, and the Syrian Malankara Church, India. The bilateral dialogue with them has proved to be stable and mutually beneficial. Conversations have been held with them on various issues of mutual concern.

Attention is also given to contacts with the Roman Catholic Church on various levels. These contacts are important since the two Churches share positions on many problems facing the modern society, first of all, with regard to the need to defend traditional values and to observe the ethical norms of Christianity.

There are also contacts with the Protestant world. The Russian Orthodox Church has traditionally participated in multilateral dialogue between Orthodox theologians and representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. The Church has also carried out a long-standing bilateral theological dialogue with the Evangelical Church in Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Finland. Relations are also maintained with various Protestant Churches and communities acting in Russia and other CIS and Baltic countries. Among the Church’s concerns is work with international Christian organizations, such as the World Council of Churches and other bodies, with the aim to bear witness to Orthodoxy before the non-Orthodox world. Inter-Christian organizations have been informed about the position taken by the Russian Orthodox Church on various public issues, especially relationship between liberalism and traditional values in developing international law and global political standards.

In her contacts with non-Orthodoxy, the Russian Orthodox Church is open to sincere and well-wishing relations and dialogue held in mutual respect. In maintaining these contacts, the Church sees her essential task in bearing witness to Orthodoxy and defending traditional Christian values rooted immutably in Holy Scriptures and the Holy Tradition.

The leader of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations is Priest Dimitry Sizonenko.