On this past October 13, 2013, Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev), attended a beatification ceremony for Roman Catholic martyrs during the Spanish Civil. The service was held in Tarragona, Spain, and was attended also by 104 Roman Catholic bishops. According to the MP Department of External Church Relations:
“With the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill and the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, as representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church in a ceremony attended by the rector of the Church of New Martyrs and Confessors of Butovo in the Russian Fr Cyril Khaled and a member of the DECR secretariat for inter-Christian relations Rev. Alexis savages.”
Met. Hilarion (Alfeyev) is somewhat of the MP ambassador-bishop at large for any and all ecumenist ventures. According to traditional Orthodox theology, the Moscow Patriarchate is not part of the Orthodox Church since it was born in schism and heresy, being created by Joseph Stalin during the early 1940s, when most Orthodox bishops and clergy were martyred by the Communist government after refusal to praise the Atheist Government’s policies. In more recent decades, the Moscow Patriarchate has endeavoured to engage in deeper union with the Vatican and other non-Orthodox bodies (even issuing an infamous and anti-Orthodox 1969 decision allowing Roman Catholics to take communion in the MP). The current leader of the MP, Patriarch Kirill, is well-known for his extreme wealth, and endorsement of the ecumenical movement.