Aleksy II(əlyĕk`sē), 1929–2008, 15th patriarch of Moscow and all Russia (1990–2008), b. Estonia, as Aleksey Mikhailovich Ridiger. He spent 11 years as a Russian Orthodox parish priest before becoming bishop of Tallinn and Estonia in 1961. Alexy went to Moscow in 1962, served (1964–68) as archbishop in Moscow, and was (1968–90) metropolitan of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and Novgorod. In 1990 he was elected patriarch of Moscow (head of the Russian Orthodox Church). As patriarch under GorbachevGorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich
, 1931–, Soviet political leader. Born in the agricultural region of Stavropol, Gorbachev studied law at Moscow State Univ., where in 1953 he married a philosophy student, Raisa Maksimovna Titorenko (1932?–99).
..... Click the link for more information. and during the disintegration of Communist rule, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the reestablishment of an independent Russia, Alexy oversaw a great revival in the Russian church and its influence, including the restoration and construction of cathedrals and the introduction of Orthodox religious education in public schools. He also cultivated close ties with Vladimir PutinPutin, Vladimir Vladimirovich
, 1952–, Russian government official and political leader, b. Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). After graduating from the Leningrad State Univ.
..... Click the link for more information. and was successful in persuading the government to limit the growth of competing Christian denominations. He was succeeded as patriarch by KirillKirill
, 16th patriarch of Moscow and all Russia (2009–), b. Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) as Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev. The son and grandson of Russian Orthodox priests, he became a priest in 1969 and subsequently taught at and was rector of the Leningrad seminary.
..... Click the link for more information. . His name sometimes appears as Alexi and Aleksiy.