New Patriarch of Moscow. Axios!
It came as no surprise that Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad was elected as Patriarch of Moscow yesterday, after having been locum tenens since the death of the late Patriarch Alexei II.
It is also good that the new Patriarch is familiar with the Orthodox Church in South Africa. He visited South Africa two months ago for the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church of St Sergius of Radonezh in Midrand, whose temple he himself had consecrated five years earlier.
On this occasion he spoke of the good relationships between the Patriarchate of Moscow and the Patriarchate of Alexandria, and thanked His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim, Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria for his pastoral care of Russian-speaking Orthodox Christians in his Archdiocese, which he said set an example of good relationships between Orthodox Christians of different ethnic backgrounds, and said he was pleased to see many native South African Orthodox as well.
For many years Patriarch Kirill was reponsible for the external affairs of the Russian Orthodox Church, and so has travelled widely and is familiar with Orthodoxy worldwide. For most of the 20th century the Russian Orthodox Church was kept isolated by the Bolsheviks, and so this marks a new chapter for ecumenical Orthodoxy.