On Tuesday, January 27, 2009, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church elected His Eminence, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
Patriarch-elect Kirill was born on November 20, 1946, in Leningrad [present-day St. Petersburg], where his father served as a priest. He graduated from secondary school in 1964 and from the Leningrad Theological Seminary and Academy in 1970.
In April 1969, he was tonsured a monk and ordained a hierodeacon, In June of that same year, he was ordianed a hieromonk.
In March of 1976 he was consecrated Bishop of Vyborg and Auxiliary Bishop of the Leningrad Diocese and in 1984 he was elected Bishop of Smolensk. In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.
Since 1970, Patriarch-elect Kirill has been involved in numerous administrative roles within the Russian Orthodox Church, including rector of the Leningrad Theological Seminary and Academy from 1974 to 1984. In particular, he has been a leading figure in the Church's ecumenical activity. In 1989, he was appointed Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations and became a permanent member of the Russian Church's Holy Synod
On December 6, 2008, after the repose of His Holiness, Patriarch Aleksy II, Metropolitan Kirill was elected Patriarchal Locum tenens of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The enthronement of Patriarch-elect Kirill will take place on Sunday, February 1, 2009 at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. Representing the Orthodox Church in America at the Patriarchal Enthronement will be His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West; Archimandrite Zacchaeus, Representative of the Orthodox Church in America to the Moscow Patriarchate; and Archpriest Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations.
May the Lord grant Patriarch-elect Kirill of Moscow and All Russia many years of fruitful service in his patriarchal ministry. Axios!