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Metropolitan Kirill elected interim head of Russian Byzantine Church


Moscow: The Holy Synod of the Russian Byzantine Orthodox Church, an autocephalous Patriarchate of the family of Byzantine (Eastern) Orthodox Churches, which took place on December 6, 2008, at the patriarchal residence at Peredelkino near Moscow, has elected the Patriarchal Locum Tenens.

The Most Reverend Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations has been elected Patriarchal Locum Tenens.

The decision of the Synod has been signed by:

KIRILL, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, - chairman of the session;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine;

FILARET, Metropolitan of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus;

JUVENALY, Metropolitan of Krutitsy and Kolomna;

VLADIMIR, Metropolitan of Kishinev and All Moldova;

VALENTIN, Metropolitan of Orenburg and Buzuluk;

ALEXANDER, Archbishop of Kostroma and Galich:

TIKHON, Archbishop of Novosibirsk and Berdsk;

FEOFILAKT, Bishop of Bryansk and Sevsk;

STEFAN, Bishop of Tura and Mozyr;

CLEMENT, Metropolitan of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate

 

The Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad

 

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad (secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyaev) was born on 20 November 1946 in Leningrad to the family of a priest. He graduated from secondary school in 1964 and from the Leningrad Theological Seminary and Academy in 1970 with the degree of Candidate of Theology for his study on "The Formation and Development of the Church Hierarchy and the Teaching of the Orthodox Church on Its Gracious Nature".

He was tonsured by Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod on 3 April 1969. He was ordained hierodeacon on 7 April and hieromonk on 1 June of the same year. He was appointed personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim on 30 August 1970. As a teacher at the Academy and secretary to the Metropolitan he devoted much of his time to participation in the external activity of the Moscow Patriarchate. In 1971 he represented the theological schools of the Russian Orthodox Church at the SYNDESMOS General Assembly and was elected by the assembly to the SYNDESMOS Executive Committee. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on 12 September 1971 and appointed representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva. In 1972 he was elected to the Board of the WCC Fund for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Indochina.

He was appointed rector of the Leningrad Theological Schools on 26 December 1974. In 1975 he became chairman of the Leningrad Diocesan Council. By the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen and the Holy Synod on 3 March 1976 Archimandrite Kirill was made Bishop of Vyborg, Assistant Bishop of the Leningrad Diocese. His episcopal consecration took place on 14 March 1976.

Metropolitan Kirill has been actively involved in the ecumenical activity of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1975 he was elected to the Central and Executive Committees of the WCC at its 5th Assembly in Nairobi. On 9 September 1976 he was appointed representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the WCC Plenary Commission "Faith and Order". He participated in the 1st Pre-council Pan-Orthodox Conference in 1976 in Geneva, as well as Orthodox-Catholic dialogues in 1978, 1980 and 1984. From 1976 to 1978 he was Deputy Patriarchal Exarch for Western Europe and later took pastoral care of the Patriarchal parishes in Finland. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on 2 September 1977. Since 1979 he has been member of the Holy Synod Commission for Christian Unity, now the Synodal Theological Commission.

On 26 December 1984 he was transferred to the See of Smolensk. By the decision of the Holy Synod of 14 November 1989, he was appointed Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations and Permanent Member of the Holy Synod. In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan. He is an Honorary Member of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Doctor honoris causa of the Reformed Theological Academy in Budapest. He has been decorated with high orders of the Russian Orthodox Church and many Local Orthodox Churches. In August 1993 he was awarded the international Loviis Peace Prize. In 2002 he received honorary doctorate in political sciences honoris cause from the University of Perugia, Italy.

Metropolitan Kirill is the author of more than 200 publications in church and secular press, as well as of a weekly TV program, which attracts large audiences

 

Session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church is taking place in Moscow

On December 10, a session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church chaired by the Patriarchal Locum Tenens Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad opens at the Patriarchal residence at St. Daniel's Monastery.

 

Taking part in the session are Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Vladimir of St Petersburg and Ladoga; Metropolitan Philaret of Minsk and Slutsk, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Clement of Kaluga and Borovsk, Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Valentin of Orenburg and Buzuluk; Archbishop Alexander of Kostroma and Galich; Archbishop Tikhon pf Novosibirsk and Berdsk; Bishop Feofilakt of Bryansk and Sevsk; Bishop Stefan of Tura and Mozyr.

 

Metropolitan Kirill addressed members of the Holy Synod with the following words:

 

'I greet you, dear Most Reverend Vladykas:

 

The session of the Holy Synod today takes place without His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, our father and first hierarch. We all feel real spiritual grief.

 

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had led our Church for eighteen years. Together with him we have walked along hard roads of social changes, political and economic cataclysms. The Church has overcome difficulties together with her people, sharing their suffering and grieving for the blood that was shed. At the same time, remarkable events occurred in the life of our country, our people and our Church. Our country was becoming free. The Church has become free. It is for the first time in many centuries that relations the Church and the state maintain are in full harmony with the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. They were reflected in the 'Foundations of Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church.'

 

By God's grace the life of our people has become peaceful. Today we can see political stability in society both in Russia and in many other countries, though tension and disturbances still exist that affect our Church.

 

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy had served to reconciliation and unity during his whole life, and commanded us to do the same. I believe that we must fulfill his commandment together as one episcopate of the one Russian Orthodox Church.

 

We have celebrated the requiem service praying for our late Primate. We believe that he is with us today.'

 

New Russian Patriarch will be elected on January 27-29

 

Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to take place on 27-29 January 2009

 

The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church at its session on 10 December 2008 took decision on the dates of the Bishops' Council and the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to elect Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

The Holy Synod resolved that The Bishops' Council will be held on 25-26 January 2009, and the Local Council on 27-29 January 2009.

The Holy Synod set up a commission for preparation of the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. The commission consists of twenty-nine bishops, clerics, and laymen.

Patriarchal enthronement will take place on 1 February 2009.

 

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