The Russian Orthodox Church elected a new Patriarch after a long day of formal deliberation on Tuesday. Metropolitan Kirill was chosen to succeed the recently deceased Alexy II.

“He is a true successor of Alexy [II]’s work. Once again he will help consolidate and unite our society,” said Metropolitan Feofan, a church leader in southern Russia. “There is joy in my heart.”

(Associated Press)

Kirill has been involved in public relations for the Orthodox Church for over 20 years and was confirmed by a strong voting majority. With his diplomatic background and reputation as a moderate, it is expected that Kirill will continue to work to mend the rift between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

This marks the first election of a new Patriarch under Russia’s democratic government.

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