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Russian Orthodox patriarch is laid to rest

Russian Orthodox patriarch is laid to rest
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Russia is bidding farewell to a beloved religious leader, the late head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexiy the Second.

The country’s political leaders, as well as the heads of Serbia, Belarus and Armenia, gathered at a state funeral at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow to pay their respects.

Alexiy II died from heart failure on Friday, aged seventy nine.

Analysts credit him with the revival of the Russian Orthodox faith after decades of communist repression.

Clergy from across the Orthodox Christian world, as well as the Roman Catholic church, travelled to Moscow for the funeral.

The Holy Synod has chosen Metropolitan Kirill as the interim leader of the church. A new Patriarch must be appointed within the next six months.

But the new head will have big shoes to fill, such is the respect in which Patriarch Alexiy II was held. Nearly 100,000 people saw him lying in state.

Tens of thousands more mourners waited in the rain outside the cathedral for a glimpse of his coffin.

Their patience was rewarded, as it was carried out of the church on its way to the Epiphany Cathedral, where the Patriarch is due to be buried later today.