Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Russia bids farewell to patriarch

Russia bids farewell to patriarch

Funeral of  Patriarch Alexiy II
If you go to this site,  there is a 4.52 minute video clip of the funeral

Russia has bid farewell to the head of Russian Orthodox  Church, Alexiy II,
at a grand funeral ceremony in Moscow.  
Senior Orthodox leaders from around the world and top Russian  government
officials attended the service at the giant Cathedral of Christ  the Saviour.  
A hearse then carried Alexiy II's coffin towards the city's Epiphany  
Cathedral for burial.  
Alexiy II, who had presided over a revival of the Church's influence in  
Russia, died last week aged 79.  
He had led the Church since 1990 - the last days of the Soviet Union.  
Huge respect  
The patriarch's body was on display in an open coffin surrounded by  flowers
and flickering candles at the Cathdral of Christ the Saviour, near  the

_Double life of  patriarch_ (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7767015.stm)
_Russia pays  tribute to  patriarch_

Senior clergy from across the Orthodox Christian world - along with  
representatives of Roman Catholic, Anglican, and other churches - attended  the
ceremony which lasted more than five hours.  
The ceremony was led by a high-profile bishop, Kirill, who has been  elected
the Church's temporary leader, and paid fulsome tribute to Alexiy.   
"He inherited a church that was weakened by decades of repression....  Now he
is leaving behind a church that is strong," he said.  
Russia's political leaders were prominent among the mourners. Both  President
Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin approached the  coffin to
pay their final respects.  
The deep, sonorous chants of the traditional Divine Liturgy rang out  through
the cathedral before the standing congregration of black-clad  mourners and
black-hooded Orthodox nuns.  
Some 80,000 mourners visited the coffin inside the  cathedral

Russian media broadcast the funeral ceremony live and cancelled  
entertainment programmes at the request of President Medvedev.  
Traffic jams were reported across the city centre, where some streets  were
closed off in connection with the funeral, and the city authorities  called on
workers to take the metro to work instead.  
Moscow police say 80,000 people filed past Alexiy II's open coffin  between
Saturday evening and Tuesday morning.  
The numbers speak of the huge respect and authority which he commanded,  the
BBC's James Rodgers reports from Moscow.  
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is a striking symbol of the Russian  
Church's resurgence under Alexiy II's leadership, our correspondent notes.   
It was blown up by the atheist Soviet authorities in the 1930s, then  rebuilt
in the 1990s after the collapse of Communism.

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