The head of the Russian Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia. He is the highest-ranking clergyman in the Orthodox Church and presides over all aspects of the Church.
He served during a time of tremendous hardships for the Russian people as they moved from a period of repression to an era of religious freedom. During this time he helped to rebuild the Church and work with everyone for the reestablishment of church life.
Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir Gundyaev) is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. He leads the largest flock in the Orthodox world, and has shepherded it through a period of great transition.
During his career, he has become quite popular among Russians for the prosperity of the Orthodox Church under his leadership. However, many people also accuse him of corruption.
He was born into a priest’s family and was ordained a priest in 1969. He went on to serve in many parishes throughout the country.
He is a member of the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which oversees the Church in the Western world. He is also a member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. Currently, he is serving as acting Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. His office is located at the Danilov Monastery in Moscow.
Patriarch Alexy, who died Friday at the age of 79, led the Russian Orthodox Church for 18 years as the Soviet Union was loosening its restrictions on religion. After the Soviets collapsed in 1991, his church soared in popularity. Church domes that had been stripped of their gold under the Soviets were regilded; churches that had been converted into warehouses or left to rot in neglect were painstakingly restored; and hours-long services on major religious holidays were broadcast live on national television.
Throughout his ministry, he paid great attention to the development of spiritual and moral education in dioceses. He was also very active in fraternal cooperation among different Christian confessions for the sake of addressing modern issues in society as part of a shared witness to the Gospel.
Relations between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church have improved greatly under Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said that historical tensions had been replaced with an eagerness to cooperate.
Patriarch Theodore II is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was enthroned in 2004 after the death of Patriarch Petros and other senior bishops.
During the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael in his honor in Alexandria, the capital of Egypt, Patriarch Theodore recognized Epifany as primate of the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (PTsU). This is confirmed by two news sources.
The head of the Department of Ecumenical and Church Relations (DECR) of the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion, said that Patriarch Theodore had joined the schism, which is illegal from the point of view of church canons.
Patriarch Theodore also devoted a significant amount of time to commemorating the leader of the Ukrainian schismatics, Epiphany Dumenko, and entering into Eucharistic communion with him and other “hierarchs” of this structure. This, he claims, was necessary to respond to the requests of clergy from Africa and to form an African Exarchate in the exceptional circumstances that had arisen.
The head of the russian orthodox church, Patriarch Bartholomew is a distinguished figure in the church and his leadership has helped to strengthen the russian orthodox church. He has been at the forefront of many initiatives, including those which seek to strengthen ecumenical ties among churches.
He is also credited with promoting church unity, developing regular synaxis of primates and hosting the Holy and Great Council on Crete. His leadership has been a catalyst for renewal in the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
He has forged strong ties with the United States and other Orthodox countries, resolving issues that had been plaguing the American church. He also aims to improve Orthodox-Catholic relations, which have been strained for centuries. He is the 270th ecumenical patriarch and has served since 1991. He has a reputation for hard work and strategic communication skills, which have helped him to become a respected figure in the church. He is also a tireless advocate for the poor.