12/10/2008, 00.00
RUSSIA
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Synod to elect new Moscow patriarch set for late January

Synod will take place on 28 and 29 January. On 1 February the new head of the Russian Orthodox Church will be announced. Kirill and Kliment are among the candidates. The latter is seen favourably by Russia’s political elites.
Moscow (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Russian Orthodox Church could have a new patriarch by 1 February, this according to Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk (pictured), who made the announcement a day after the funeral of Aleksij II who passed away on Saturday at the age of 79.

A Special Synod was held today to pick the election date for the new head of the Russian Orthodox Church. At its conclusion Kirill announced that the synod to elect a successor would be held on 28 and 29 January.

Observers of the Orthodox Church believe that Kirill, 62, would be best candidate to succeed Aleksij because of his broad ecumenical experience with sister Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church.

Another possible candidate is Kliment Kapalin of Kaluga and Borovsk, who is well liked outside the Church, in government circles, by people like President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, who view him as more “malleable” than Kirill.

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