Yesterday, Russian Orthodox Church launched celebrations devoted to the 12th anniversary of the enthronement of the Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia, Alexis II. Yesterday morning, Alexis headed a ceremonial divine service in the main temple of Russian Orthodox Church, in which members of the Sacred Synod, representatives of Orthodox Church from different countries, participated. In the evening, in refectories of the temple, a ceremonial dinner was given for politicians, actors, and scientists.
Today’s head of Russian Orthodox Church is the 15th since 1589, when partiarchate was introduced in Russia. He was elected June 7, 1990, in the Trinity-Saint Sergiy Lavra, after patriarch Pimen died.
Besides Alexis II (who was metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod at that time), there were seven other members of the Sacred Synod who sought to this post.
In a secret voting in the temple, 317 ballots were casted. Metropolitan Alexis won 166 votes, while the metropolitan of Rostov and Novocherkassk Vladimir won 143.
During his time as head of the Church, Alexis managed to revive the system of spiritual education in Russia. In particular, the St Tikhon Theological Institute was opened, which has 10 branches. Hundreds of temples were restored. However, the main goal of the patriarch is to “restore the human souls that were crippled during the last 70 years.”
Alexis soul was not crippled with atheism. Alexei Rediger was born February 23, 1929, in the city of Tallinn, in a very religious family. The parents of the future patriarch made yearly pilgrimages to monasteries. This helped to create the spiritual strength of the future patriarch.
As a child, Alexei Rediger already wanted to become a priest. At the age of 9 years, he knew the liturgy by heart. He served in a church, under the guidance of his spiritual father, Arch Priest Ioann Bogoyavlensky, who later became bishop of Tallinn and Estonia Tikhidor.
In 1961, Alexei Rediger became a monk. By August, Alexis became bishop of Tallin and Estonia. In 1964, Bishop Alexis became Arch Bishop and business manager of the Moscow Patriarchy and member of Sacred Synod.
In 1968, Arch Bishop Alexis became metropolitan and, in June of that year, he became the metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod. Alexis also carried on an active international work. In particular, for about 25 years, he devoted himself to the work of the European Churches Conference and actively participated in international peace-making organizations. Alexis II is also an honorary member of many spiritual and secular academies and honorary professor of some universities.
The Patriarch pays much attention to establishing in Russia new relations between the state and the Church. According to the Synod, “peace and concord in the society where Patriarch Alexis lives includes mutual human understanding and social cooperation between adherents of different religions and ideologies.”
Yelena Kiseleva PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/culture/2002/06/10/42494.html