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 Patriarch Alexy II

Born:   23 February 1929
Deceased:   5 December 2008

15th Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia and the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church


Alexy II (or Alexis II) was the 15th Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia and the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Patriarch Alexy II (Alexey Mikhailovich Ridiger) was born on 23 February 1929 in Tallinn. His father, archpriest Mikhail Alexandrovich descended from the old family of the Ridigers, which begot commanders (among them a hero of Patriotic War of 1812) and political figures, lawyers and priests. Alexey’s mother Elena Iosifovna, who came of the famous family of the Pisarevs, was a daughter of a tsarist army colonel shot down by Bolsheviks.

The German noble family of von Rüdigers or Redigeers was of Courland origin; the patriarch belonged to the branch that adopted Orthodoxy in the 18th century.

As a 15-year old youth Alexei became a subdeacon of Archbishop Pavel Dmitrovsky of Narva (later of Tallinn and Estonia). From May 1945 to October 1946 he served as a sexton and sacristan of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, from 1946 as a psalm-reader in Simeon Church and from 1947 in Kazan Church of Tallinn.

After a second attempt Alexei entered Leningrad Theological Seminary in 1947 and after graduation became a student of Theological Academy in Leningrad.

On 15 April 1950 the Metropolitan Grigori (Chukov) ordained him to be a deacon and just two days later, on 17 April 1950 Alexy was made a presbyter and the dean of Estonian town of Jõhvi of Tallinn Eparchy.

In 1953 he graduated from the Theological Academy. In 1957 he was transferred to the town of Tartu, where he served as the dean of the Dormition Cathedral and archpriest of the Tartu District.

After the death of his mother in 1959 Alexei decided to become a monk; on 3 March 1961 he took monastic vows in Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra and was named Alexis after Prelate Alexis of Moscow, Metropolitan of Kiev and all Russia (1296 – 1378).

In 1961 he was dignified archimandrite by Archbishop Nicodemus of Yaroslavl and Rostov. In 1964 Alexis was exalted archbishop and designated as Chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate and permanent member of the Holy Synod.

In 1984 he received his doctorate in divinity. In 1990 Alexis was chosen to the patriarchal throne of Russian Orthodox Church.

Alexis II died on 5 December 2008 in Peredelkino, Moscow Region

Tags: Russian clergy Russian church    

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