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(kĭrēl`), 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. He was appointed bishop of Vyborg in 1976, archbishbop of Smolensk in 1984, and metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad in 1991. Long active in the Russian church's ecumenical relations, he became chairman of the church's external relations dept. in 1989. After Patriarch Alexy IIAlexy II
or Aleksy II
, 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.
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 died (2008), Kirill was chosen as the Russian Orthodox church's interim leader, and was elected to succeed him in 2009. He has favored improved relations with the Roman Catholic church, supported the Russian government and criticized opposition political protests, and called for women to focus on family and the home. In 2016 he became the first Russian Orthodox patriarch to meet with a pope (Francis).

Laksman, Erik (Kirill) Gustavovich


Born July 27 (Aug. 7), 1737, in Nyslott, Sweden (present-day Savonlinna, Finland); died Jan. 5 (16), 1796, at Drevianskaia Station, To-bol’sk Province. Russian naturalist and traveler; academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1770).

Laksman studied at the university in Abo. In 1762 he moved to Russia, and he worked in Siberia for many years. Laksman proposed the use of natural sodium sulfate (Glauber’s salt) instead of soda and potash for glassmaking purposes (1764–84). He derived a method for producing table salt by freezing out the natural brine of salt lakes (1769). He published studies of saltpeter, soda, and alum processing. He investigated the flora and fauna of the Altai and Eastern Siberia. He discovered the new minerals baikalite and viluite and found deposits of lazurite and zircon. Laksman had extensive mineral and insect collections and herbaria.


Raskin, N. M., and I. I. Shafranovskii. Erik Gustavovich Laksman. Leningrad, 1971. (Contains a bibliography of Laksman’s works.)
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Summary: Pope Francis met Friday with Patriarch Kirill in the first-ever papal meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a historic development in the 1,000-year schism that divided Christianity that may, however, be more about Russia asserting itself than any new ecumenical progress.