The Russian Orthodox Church has chosen Metropolitan Kirill as its interim leader, in a move that could open the way for more cooperation with Catholics.
Kirill, the Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad has been relatively open to the idea of building stronger ties with the Vatican. He will replace the late Patriarch Alexiy II until a permanent successor is chosen within the next six months.
Alexiy’s coffin was taken through the streets of Moscow before being laid in state at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. A funeral ceremony will be held there on Tuesday with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expected to attend.
Alexiy will be buried at the Epiphany Cathedral in the capital, where the relics of his patron saint are stored.
The Patriarch, who revived the Russian Orthodox Church after the collapse of communism, died on Friday of heart failure at the age of 79.