Wednesday, January 28, 2009
METROPOLITAN KIRILL ELECTED NEW RUSSIAN PATRIARCH
The Russian Orthodox Church has selected 62-year-old Metropolitan Kirill as its new patriarch, an outspoken figure who analysts say could prove a headache for the Kremlin.
A seasoned operator after long service as head of the church's foreign relations section, Kirill was elected on Tuesday by an overwhelming majority in a ballot of church leaders in Moscow's ornate cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, received 508 votes in a secret ballot of the Church Council in Moscow while his challenger Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk won 169 votes.
"I accept and thank the Church Council for my election as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia," Kirill said solemnly after the results were announced, before leading the congregation in an Orthodox liturgy.