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from issue no. 08 - 2009

Vsevolod Chaplin. The desire for a “common ground”

by Giovanni Cubeddu

After the election of Metropolitan Kirill as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the range of tasks and responsibilities of Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin mutated and increased when he became chairman of the Synodal Department for the Relations between the Church and Society. At forty-one years old, Father Vsevolod is a fair exemplar of the peer group that animates the central bodies of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate. They embody its outlooks, the search for common ground and, as Chaplin himself says, perceive that remaining steadfast in their faith in God, they can optimize, within the Church and outside it, “many specific forms and modalities of human expression”. From 1985 Father Chaplin worked in the Patriarchate’s Department responsible for information; from 1990 he has been a member of the staff of the Department for the External Relations of the Church (the important “Foreign Ministry” of the Patriarchate) and also held the post of Director of the Secretariat for relations between the Church and Society. From 2001 to 2009 he was Vice President of the External Relations Department, up to his recent appointment. The Department now entrusted to Fr Vsevolod was specifically “recreated” – at the behest of the Holy Synod headed by Patriarch Kirill – promoting the level of the Secretariat for relations between the Church and Society, that had previously been a link within the Department for External Relations (out of which two other new departments have now come, that dealing with the Russian Orthodox Church beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, headed by Bishop Mark Golovkov, and that for information, under the layman Vladimir Legoida).
The appointment of Father Vsevolod took place on 31 March, his birthday. A gift filled with meaning and trust.
The interview was conducted in close collaboration with the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” in Moscow, which we sincerely thank.

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