Thirteen years ago, the Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod, Alexei, became Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Alexei II. He was elected to the Patriarchal Throne by the Russian Orthodox Church's Local Council on June 7, 1990, at St. Trinity and St. Sergius Monastery.
The Moscow Patriarch's foreign church relations has reported that Alexei II is the 15th Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church since the post was established in 1589.
Alexei II was born Alexei Ridiger on February 23, 1929, in Tallinn (the modern-day capital of Estonia) into a deeply religious family.
In 1953 he graduated from the Spiritual Academy as a doctor of theology.
In March 1961 Alexei Ridiger took his holy orders, but as early as that August the hierarchy took the decision to appoint him the Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia. In July 1964 Bishop Alexei was made an archbishop, while that December he was appointed to head the Moscow Patriarchy's affairs and became a permanent member of the Holy Synod. He spent 22 years in these posts.
In February 1968, Archbishop Alexei was appointed a metropolitan and in June became Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod with special responsibility for the Tallinn diocese.
Alexei II is an honorary member of many Russian and foreign spiritual and secular academies, while he has also been made an honorary professor of many universities.
Since his election as the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a large number of new dioceses have been created, many churches and monasteries have been restored and more than 100 Church educational establishments have been opened.