Patriarch of All-Russia Dies (UPDATED)
Azerbaijan, Baku, 5 Dec. / Trend / Cause of the death of Alexi II, the Patriarch of All-Russia, has not yet been divulged, Moscow Patriarchate said to Trend .
"It is too early to speak about the place of burial," Moscow Patriarchate said to Trend in a telephone conversation.
Patriarch has been suffering health problems since autumn 2002, when he was hospitalized to the Central Clinical Hospital and had to break his visit to Astrakhan.
Later in 2004, Patriarch was hospitalized to a Moscow clinic with the diagnosis of heart arrhythmia. Media several times reported him dead, but none of the reports was confirmed, RBK said.
Alexi II, born in 1929, elected in 1990 to be patriarch (or head bishop) of the Russian Orthodox Church. The church is part of the Orthodox Church , which carries on religious traditions from early Christianity. Alexi (his birth name is Alexei Mikhailovich Ridiger) became a priest in Estonia, which was then part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). He was made bishop of Tallinn, Estonia's capital, in 1961. Rising through church ranks, he became an archbishop, then a metropolitan (head of a province) in Estonia. In 1986, he became metropolitan of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). Alexi is active in the World Council of Churches, and became chairman of the Conference of European Churches in 1987.
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