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21 Mar, 2008 23:43

Head of Russian Orthodox Church Abroad laid to rest

The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, Metropolitan Laurus, has been buried in New York. The ceremony was attended by a Russian delegation led by the Minister of Culture and Mass Communications and Metropolitan Juvenaly, sent by Patriarch Alexy

The liturgy drew hundreds to the Holy Trinity Monastery, some waiting five hours to pay their respects.  

Laurus died on Monday at the age of 80. Born in Czechoslovakia, he moved to New York in the 1940s, where he spent most of his life.

He will be remembered largely for his role in the 2007 reunification of the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In May 2007, Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Laurus signed the Act of Canonical Communion declaring the formal merger of the two branches of the Russian Orthodox Church, which split after the October revolution of 1917.

Archbishop Hilarion, a student of the late Laurus and a likely candidate to replace him says, despite the great loss, the Metropolitan’s legacy will live on:

“It's a very rich spiritual legacy he leaves behind. It’s a great loss for the Russian Church but he'll be remembered for his spiritual leadership,” he said.