Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RT: News : Russia welcomes Kirill as new head of Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has been elected the new head of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Council, which comprised clergymen, monks and laymen, announced on Tuesday the results of the voting for the post of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

Kirill has been temporarily in charge of the church since the death in December of Aleksy the Second.

Kirill had previously been head of the external church relations department. He also hosted a TV programme popular among Russian believers and viewed on one of Russia’s main television channels.

Kirill was an active supporter of the reunification between the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was completed in May 2007.

Metropolitan Kirill was born in St. Petersburg and is believed to be on friendly terms with many of Russia’s top officials. He has, himself, become a prominent personality throughout the country.

Originally, three Metropolitans - Kirill, Kliment and Filaret - had been short-listed by the Archbishop Council as potential successors to Aleksy II, who died last month. They were elected by secret ballot on Sunday from 145 potential candidates. Filaret later withdrew from the race in favour of Kirill.

For the first time, international candidates were eligible to stand. Patriarchs from Ukraine, Moldova and Germany were in the Russian capital for the voting.

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