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12 May, 2008 18:07

New head of Russian Orthodox Church Abroad elected

Bishops from the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad have elected their new leader. Metropolitan Hillarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand will replace Metropolitan Laurus who reunited the Church with the Moscow Patriarchate.

Metropolitan Laurus died nearly two months ago, less than a year after signing a historic act of re-unification.

Hilarion, who used to be First Deputy Head of the Synod of Bishops grew up in the same New York monastery with Metropolitan Laurus, and he says he's ready to take on the job.

The election takes place as the Russian Church, home and abroad, is once again united. The new First Hierarch’s position is not only focused on spiritual leadership but also reconciliation.

Metropolitan Laurus passed away at the age of 81 less than one year after signing the Act of Canonical Communion with Alexy the Second, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia – a historic moment following an 80 year rift.