Metropolitan Hilarion presented a public lecture at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration
On December 2, 2021, Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, rector of the Theological Institute of Postgraduate Studies and president of the Scientific Theological Education Association (NOTA), delivered a public lecture on “Christianity: from its Origins to the Present Time” at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA.) The lecture was held within the framework of the Fifth Russian National Academic Conference (with the international participation) on Theology in Academic and Educational Space: Theory, History and Practice of Interreligious and Inter-cultural Dialogue in the Situation of Global Challenges.” The Conference was organized by the Institute of Public Administration and Civil Service (IPACS) of RANEPA for the members of the Council and NOTA general meeting, and faculty and academic staff, postgraduate students and students of the Presidential Academy, as well as for other participants in the conference.
In his lecture, the archpastor pointed out that any talk about Christianity should begin with the person of Christ, as the One standing in its center. “First of all I would like to speak of Him as a Man, whose life and teaching have laid the foundation for Christianity. This Man was called Jesus Christ. I think that the role of this Man in the development of humanity, civilization and culture is impossible to overestimate. We count all the dates of our calendar from the birth of this Man.”
Metropolitan Hilarion told the audience about the life and teaching of Jesus Christ and underscored that He had been a living person like others, with all inherent human qualities, but at the same time there had been something in His personality that would manifest itself in His miracles and attract people to Him because of that. What was that? The Church answered this question in the following words: “Christ was a full-fledged man and a full-fledged God, man with his human qualities and God with His divine qualities.”
Speaking about the historical development of world Christianity, the hierarch said: “From the very beginning, Christianity has been a project of one human person – Jesus Christ; it has turned out to be the most successful missionary project in history, though its beginning appeared to be a complete collapse as the Man, Who walked on earth, working miracles for several years, was crucified. It seemed as if the history would have to end, but only it did not. It has just begun, because according to what Christ was teaching, if a mustard seed fell into the ground and did not die, it would ‘abide alone;’ but if it died, it would ‘bring forth much fruit:’ a mustard tree would grow out of it. The death of Jesus Christ was redemptive; it was necessary for a giant tree to grow out of the seed planted by Him. The tree has grown and is covering the whole world with its branches and sheltering with them two billion people.”
As Metropolitan Hilarion emphasized in the conclusion of his lecture, “the power of the Church throughout the two millennia of its existence has stemmed from Jesus Christ, from His real presence in the Church. For centuries His personality has been inspiring martyrs to the feats of martyrdom and missioners to the proclamation of Christ crucified and risen, enduring scorching heat and piercing cold to this end. His personality has been inspiring artists, poets, composers, writers and sculptors. Is there any other person in history who would be mirrored in art in a similar way? None of the living individuals has influenced the culture of humanity so fruitfully. Up to this day, this Person has been staying at the core of Christianity, and I wish that all of you to find your own individual Christ.”
After the lecture that lasted forty-five minutes, Metropolitan Hilarion answered questions of the audience members, including Metropolitans Zinovy of Saransk and Mordovia and Isidor of Smolensk and Dorogobuzh; hegumen Evfimy (Moiseyev), rector of the Tula theological seminary; RANEPA rector Vladimir A. Mau; rector of the Higher School of Economics Nikita Yu. Anisimov; rectors and representatives of other institutions of higher education, and RANEPA students and postgraduate students.
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