Saturday, December 6, 2008

Head of Russian Church's death rocks Russia

Alexiy II, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, died this morning in his Moscow residence, leaving many across Russia in mourning.

Elected in 1990, Alexiy II steered the church through the chaotic years following the Soviet Union's collapse, when the church saw a resurgence.

This fall Alexiy II sought to live up to the idea that blessed are the peacemakers, or at least blessed are those that don't instigate, when he kept the Russian Church out of the conflict in Georgia. Following the August war between Georgia and Russia, Georgian Orthodox churches in South Ossetia asked to come under Moscow's jurisdiction. But Alexiy II said the church would not get involved in a political issue.

Georgia's own patriarch has been ill lately, and had to receive major surgery recently.

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