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Russian Orthodox Church to elect Patriarch

Russian Orthodox Church to elect PatriarchTravelers in Moscow are set to witness a unique transitional moment in one of the most powerful institutions in Russia.

This week the Russian Orthodox Church will elect the successor to Patriarch Alexiy II, the previous head of the institution who died last year at the age of 79.

The Russian Orthodox Church is thought to have been formed by the apostle Andrew and began to grow in influence across the Slavic states up to 1,000 AD.

Moscow hostels are expected to fill up as devotees arrive in the capital to hear the outcome of the election, the first since the end of the communist era.

There are three candidates for the position of Patriarch: Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad; Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk; and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk.

Senior church leaders have been meeting at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior since the weekend to discuss the final appointment and a full church council including lay people is expected to make its decision before the end of the week.

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