Kirill has been enthroned as the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia and as the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The 62-year-old was crowned at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were in attendance along with emissaries from different branches of the Orthodox Church and foreign guests. The new Patriarch was elected to the position following the death of Alexiy II in December. Many in the country believe the new Patriarch will guide the church on a more independent path than Alexiy, as the Church tries to separate itself from the state, following the fall of the Soviet Union. “In a spirit of welcome dialogue and cooperation and backed by the constitution, the Church and the state must develop their relationship for the good of the Church, state and people, “ he said. Pope Benedict welcomed the Church’s choice of Kirill as the new Patriarch. The Vatican sees him as a moderniser who may usher in an improvement in relations between the two churches.