VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University conferred an Honorary Degree on His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk, a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church, on Wednesday, Oct. 31. Metropolitan Hilarion was awarded an honorary doctorate in sacred theology for his work in building inter-church relations between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches. He is presently the Metropolitan of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Metropolitan Hilarion is also a noted theologian, church historian and composer, who has published books on dogmatic theology, patristics and church history as well as numerous compositions for choir and orchestra.
The Honorary Degree Ceremony was part of the University’s celebration of the special ecumenical Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI. Villanova is also commemorating the Year of Faith with an exhibit of sacred icons, vestments, chalices, Gospel books, and other liturgical artifacts that will take viewers on a journey in art through two millennia of the prayer and faith traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The exhibit, “Icon: The Way to the Kingdom,” opened Oct. 26 in the Art Gallery in Connelly Center.
Metropolitan Hilarion 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 five-member Moscow Patriarchate delegation to the 8th World Council of Churches Assembly in Harare. He is a permanent member of the Joint International Commissions for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church; between the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church; and the Orthodox Church and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Metropolitan Hilarion also participates in interfaith dialogue among all major world religions, and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.
About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. Click here for more information on Villanova University.