Russian Orthodox Church head Alexiy II lies in state

Alexiy II has been laying in state at his residence near Moscow following his sudden death on Friday.

Today, the late Patriarch of All Russia is expected to be taken through the capital to be lain in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour after 18 years as head of Russia’s Orthodox Church.

It is a chance for the faithful to pay their last tributes, while the church’s synod deliberates on a funeral date, thought likely to be on Tuesday. The church’s ruling body will also prepare the selection of an interim leader before convening to elect a new head within six months.

Across Russia, mourners came together in their grief to pray for the man who helped heal an 80 year rift between church and state.

Widely credited for boosting church attendances during the moral and spiritual vacuum created in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Alexiy has also been praised for helping to revive the church’s political role in Russian society, forging closer ties with the Kremlin.

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