Moscow (AsiaNews) – The solemn funeral ceremony is currently underway in Christ the Saviour Cathedral to bid a final farewell to Alexy II, patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. The Divine Liturgy is being presided over by Kirill, patriarch of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, chosen as Alexy’s temporary successor (or “guardian of the throne”) 3 days ago. Over 200 between bishops and priests together with tens of thousands of monks, religious and faithful are taking part in the ceremony. Among the many illustrious guests, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, who wished to be personally present at the funeral rite and, for the Vatican, Cardinals Walter Kapser and Roger Etchegaray. Some of Russia’s Catholic bishops are also attending, along with Anglican and Armenian bishops and Islamic representatives.
Alexy II has been laid in state since Saturday December 7th before an array of icons, surrounded by white flowers. Long lines of faithful, over 50 thousand people, paid tribute to his mortal remains over the past two days.
President Dimitri Medvedev and Premier Vladimir Putin are expected to make their way this morning to the Cathedral rebuilt – following its destruction under Satin – during the reign of Alexy II.
Medvedev Has ordered that all entertainment programs on television be cancelled for the duration of the day.
The body of Alexy II will be buried in Epiphany Cathedral, according to his will.
A synod will set the date for the election of the new Patriarch tomorrow, the election must take place within the next six months.
To follow live coverage of the funeral and burial via internet, click here: http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/34423
Photo: Ria Novosti