Media materials: Who will head the Russian Church: three candidates

Dmitry LOGACHEV, KM 11 January 2009The Council of bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church, which will be held at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on January 25-26, will have to offer to the local Council 3 candidates for the post of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. 27 or 28 January the Patriarch will become one of the three candidates (if only the local Council did not nominate an alternative figure). Try to guess who will be these three.The first and the main candidate will certainly be a Metropolitan Kirill (Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal throne. - Approx. Km). On set of qualities it has virtually no competitors. He has 20 years of sitting in the Synod, coming back again to Patriarch Pimen and staying there continuously when the times of Alexis (these "veterans" of the Synod is still only two - the Metropolitan Filaret and Juvenal). Throughout the period of the Patriarchate, Alexy II, Metropolitan Kirill, in fact, managed external and - largely - the internal policy of the Church. He regularly performs in the press, on television, has a TV show "pastor's Word" that retains the highest rating for over 15 years. It is well known in Russia, the near and far abroad. He is "well thought of by outsiders" and in addition the ideal age to become a Patriarch: 62 years old (the same age took Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Pimen). His coming to the Moscow Patriarchal throne promises to open a new and bright Chapter in the history of the Church when the focus will be on missionary and educational work, not only on the quantitative growth of temples, monasteries, theological schools and other Church institutions.The second candidate, apparently, will become Bishop from Ukraine. It is unlikely they will be his Beatitude Metropolitan Vladimir (the current head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. - Approx. KM), whose health will not allow him to accept the nomination of his candidacy. Obviously, the Ukrainian episcopate will push that figure - for example, Metropolitan Onufry of Chernovtsy or Agafangel of Odessa (the idea being hatched in the administration of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko). Metropolitan Onufry and all of its positive qualities would hardly be able to unite all Ukrainian episcopate. Moreover, it will be difficult for him to gather the majority of votes in the local Council: a perspective to have on the Patriarchal throne in Moscow, a man with a Ukrainian passport certainly scare a significant number of delegates from Russia. Metropolitan Agafangel will be even less likely to rally electoral College, as his supporters are convinced that it is indispensable in Odessa as a Hierarch, which hinders attempts autocephaly of the UOC.The third candidate could be one of three members of the Synod: Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk, Juvenal Krutitskii or Clement of Kaluga. Philaret and Juvenal - highly experienced and venerable bishops, for over 30 years serving in the Holy Synod. Both 73 years. Health Filaret leaves much to be desired: he recently underwent surgery and walks with a stick. For him, however, can vote Belarusian bishops and a number of bishops from Russia. Metropolitan Juvenal great authority in Moscow and the Moscow region, other regions of Russia. During the long years of serving the Church, he managed to win the respect as an experienced and energetic appear. It is assumed that one of the "veterans" will vote those who will hope for a relatively short Patriarchate.A special place in the list of potential candidates is Metropolitan Kliment. It was his journalists call the most real opponent of Cyril in the elections. Clement is not a public figure: he rarely speaks in the media, and if it is, for the most part dark, faceless, vague. He is 59 years old, in the Synod he is about 5 years, well below the experience of all other permanent members. Over 5 years of tenure of the Manager he did no appreciable acts, his initiatives largely failed (he has not even managed to achieve recognition of "Fundamentals of Orthodox culture" as a school discipline). But it is a fairly aggressive campaign in which the active role played by his brother Demetrios Archbishop of Tobolsk.Here it should be noted that, in electing Clement at the Patriarchate, the delegates of the Cathedral will be at the same time to elect his brother on the role of a second person in the Russian Church. When the Patriarch Clement his brother, no doubt, is one of the key positions in the Synod: become Manager of the Patriarchate or the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg. In tandem the two brothers has its own strength but also its weakness. The power lies in the fact that in the pre-election period, when among the bishops is actively campaigning for candidates, Brother-2 can collect votes in favor of his Brother-1, which he does very earnestly, using any means (as shown by the recent elections from theological seminaries). The weakness of this tandem that perspective to have at the head of the Church of two brothers (wherein, incidentally, is very rigid management style) will probably scare many of the electors.That tandem of two brothers - not the invention of a journalist, the facts show. Shortly after Kliment received the post of Manager, he attempted to take in hand the education Committee by shifting the Archbishop Eugene from the post of its Chairman. The maximum program was to create "educational and theological holding company" which would include the education Committee, Department of religious education and theological Commission. And lead this holding Archbishop Demetrios in the status of a permanent member of the Synod. To promote the project was created the Commission on evaluation of the reform of theological schools", for three years, tortured and terrorized the rectors of the theological academies and seminaries. One result of this Commission was that the Russian government still did not recognize the diplomas of theological schools, although such recognition everything was already prepared. Active role in the Commission played Archbishop Feofan of Stavropol is a former nominee of Metropolitan Kirill, now gone over to the side of Clement and actively promoting its interests.The late Patriarch Alexy in time recognize the plan of the two brothers, and the Synod actually vetoed the Commission's activities. Archbishop Eugene retained his post, and Brother-2, has already collected the suitcases in Moscow, is still in Tobolsk. The project fell through, but as they say, "the precipitate remained".Thus, the most likely outcome of the Council of bishops seems to be a combination of the three candidates: Cyril, Onufry and Clement, or Kirill, Metropolitan of N from Ukraine and Juvenal. It is possible that Metropolitan Kirill will vote more than 50% of the electors, and he will be elected in the 1st round. If not, then the outcome of the 2nd round will depend on who will vote the delegates from Ukraine. It is hard to imagine that they voted for Metropolitan Kliment, who in Ukraine is practically unknown. Therefore, most likely, the majority of them will vote for Metropolitan Kirill.What is the bottom line? Either Metropolitan Kirill wins at the local Council in the 1st round or in the 2nd. Real alternative for him today. No other candidate has sufficient authority and will not gain the necessary number of votes to become the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

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