Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, composer and author of a large number of books, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk, who was awarded the State Prize in the area of literature and art of 2020, told RIA News Agency that he had devoted his life to preaching Christ and the spiritual and moral ideals of Christianity “by all means available”.
“Preaching Christ and the Gospel, bearing witness to the lofty spiritual and moral ideals of Christianity – this is what I have dedicated my life to. I carry this out by all means available: from the ambo of a church, through the books, articles, documentaries, music, videos on the Internet, through the educational work” – Metropolitan Hilarion told the news agency, commenting on the State Prize award.
Responding to a question which of his literary works he considers the main ones, Metropolitan Hilarion spoke of the six-volume book called Jesus Christ: His Life and Teaching, which he had worked on for five years. “Then I made an abridged, one-volume version for The Lives of Distinguished People series” – said the DECR Chairman.
“I wanted to show Jesus Christ, first of all, as a living person who had experienced a whole range of human feelings and emotions – sorrow, joy, anger, fatigue, surprise. At the same time, He is God incarnate, and every single one of His human words and actions was permeated with the Divine presence. In fact, His entire life on Earth makes sense only in the light of the belief that He was not an ordinary person, but God incarnate” – Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized.
The most famous of the Metropolitan’s musical compositions is the St. Matthew Passion oratorio. “It has been performed over 150 times in Russia and abroad. In it, I also talk about Christ, but rather with the help of music, than with words. There is something that cannot be conveyed with words at all, and music is the universal language that is available to everyone. It is not only thoughts that it conveys, but also feelings and experiences” – Metropolitan Hilarion explained.
Metropolitan Hilarion noted that he is “not the first clergyman who has been awarded the State Prize”. “I know at least three such precedents. The prize in the field of literature and art was once received by an outstanding icon painter, founder of the modern school of icon painting, Archimandrite Zinon. The prize for achievements in the field of humanitarian activities was received by the ever-memorable His Holiness Patriarch Alexy. The same award was given to the founder of the first children’s hospice, Archpriest Alexander Tkachenko” – the DECR Chairman recalled.