Born in 1966, Hilarion Alfeyev received his initial education in music, studying violin, piano and composition, at the Moscow Gnessins School and the Moscow State Conservatory. After military service from 1984-86, he entered, in January 1987, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was tonsured a monk on 19 June, ordained deacon on 21 June and ordained priest on 19 August the same year. In 1989 he graduated from the Moscow Theological Seminary and in 1991 from the Moscow Theological Academy. From 1991 to 1993 he taught Homiletics, Dogmatic Theology, New Testament Studies and Byzantine Greek at the Moscow Theological Schools. In 1995 he completed his doctoral thesis on ‘St Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition’ at Oxford University, Great Britain, under the supervision of Bishop Kallistos Ware. From 1995 to 2001 he served as Secretary for Inter-Christian Affairs of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. On 27 December 2001 he was elected Bishop, and on 14 January 2002 consecrated by His Holiness Alexy II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, and 10 other bishops. He served as an Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Sourozh in Great Britain until his nomination, on 17 July 2002, as Head of the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions. On 7 May 2003 he was appointed Bishop of Vienna and Austria, as well as temporary administrator of the Diocese of Budapest and Hungary, in addition to his position as the Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church to the European Institutions in Brussels. On 31 March 2009 he was appointed Bishop of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations. On 20 April 2009 he was elevated to the dignity of Archbishop. Metropolitan Hilarion is the author of more than 300 publications, including numerous books in Russian, English, French, Italian, German and Finnish. Apart from his doctoral degree in philosophy from Oxford, he also holds a doctorate in theology from St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris.