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The governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod,
The governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Holy Synod, elected on Saturday Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad as the interim leader of the Church.

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, who led the Russian Church for 18 years, died at the age of 79 in his residency near the capital on Friday. His body has been brought to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and will be lying in state.

Alexy II will be buried on Tuesday in the Annunciation side-chapel of Moscow's Epiphany Cathedral.

Alexy II became patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990, shortly before the collapse of the atheist Soviet Union, and presided over a religious revival in Russia, with thousands of churches and monasteries being restored and hundreds of new ones built across the country.

A national council of bishops, priests, monks and laymen should be summoned within six months to elect a new patriarch for the Russian Church.


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