The Russian Orthodox Church elected Metropolitan Kirill, a long-standing church diplomat and skillful orator, as its new patriarch on Tuesday night. Kirill, the interim leader since Patriach Alexy II's death on Dec. 5, won 508 votes cast by the 702-member Local Council, Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga announced in the main hall of Christ the Savior Cathedral at 10 p.m. The secret ballot was held in the cathedral, where the new patriarch will be crowned next Sunday.
Kirill, 62, is an experienced diplomat who has been the church's point man in often-difficult negotiations with other churches, prompting speculation that he might take steps to improve ties with the Roman Catholic Church, which have been fraught with rivalry for years.
Pray for the Patriarch and for Russia. Pray for closer relationships between The Orthodox Church and other Christians.