Moscow's New Shepherd

The Pope with Metropolitan Kirill in December 2007.
The Pope with Metropolitan Kirill in December 2007. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

The Russian Orthodox Church has a new patriarch.

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk was elected today as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia by delegates meeting in Moscow.

Patriarch Kirill, 62, became a bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1976 when he was only 29. By that time he had already held a number of important positions within the church, including an appointment as the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate to the World Council of Churches in 1971.

For the last 20 years, Kirill has been in charge of the Russian Orthodox Church’s ecumenical relations. So what does his election as patriarch portend for Catholic-Orthodox relations?

Register correspondent Edward Pentin predicted correctly in early December that Kirill would become the new patriarch, succeeding Patriarch Alexei II who died Dec. 5.

And now that Patriarch Kirill has been elected, Edward will provide our print subscribers with an in-depth look at what’s in store with respect to relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Watch for this article in an upcoming issue of the Register.