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Russian Orthodox Council Elects New Patriarch

Russian Orthodox Church leaders in an overwhelming vote have chosen Metropolitan Kirill as the church's new patriarch.

A church council meeting at Christ the Savior Cathedral in central Moscow elected the 62-year-old Metropolitan as the church's new leader. He defeated Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk in Tuesday's vote.

The new patriarch will be crowned Sunday, succeeding Patriarch Alexei, who died last month at the age of 79.

Metropolitan Kirill had most recently headed the See of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and the church's department that maintained ties with other Christian faiths. He had also served as the Russian Church's interim head following the death of Patriarch Alexei.

Tuesday's ballot is the first for a patriarch since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, and comes during a rise in popularity for the Russian Church.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP