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  Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexy II believes that opponents to the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church are spreading rumors about his illness
"It seems somebody wished to mar both the holiday and the rehabilitation; perhaps somebody was disseminating these rumors in the runup to signing of the act of unification of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with mother Church, with the Moscow Patriarchate, in the hope that they will affect its signing," the top hierarch told reporters in the Pokrovsky /Patronage of the Mother of God/ Monastery on Wednesday after performing a divine service. He noted that the rumors about his alleged death had been grossly exaggerated. "I never had any heart bypass surgery; I never had clinical death; otherwise I wouldn't have officiated here as I did today, as was planned before the holiday," the patriarch said. He added that his May schedule was quite busy and that he felt healthy enough to carry out all these plans. For his part, head of the Orthodox Encyclopedia research center Sergei Kravets said in an interview with Itar-Tass that "the Patriarchate and the patriarch are still bewildered over the rumors fanned by some media outlets which had alleged the hopeless condition of his health and even possible demise of the patriarch." Kravets reminded that the news about a serious deterioration of Alexy II's health made headlines last week. "There wasn't a word of truth in all these versions," he underlined, "the patriarch never underwent heart bypass surgery; the patriarch was never in the state of clinical death. When this news appeared, Alexy II was not in Switzerland, nor was he in a Swiss hospital." Kravets did not rule out that these reports were an ill-intentioned action. "In this connection, one might want to consider limiting the appearance of such unauthentic information in the future, as it is capable of harming even a most healthy person." In this particular case, the matter concerns Russia's top hierarch, who is "actively preparing for a historical event on May 17 - the signing of the act of canonical unity marking the reunification of two parts of one orthodox church of Russia," he said.
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