His Holiness, Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow and of All Russia, fell asleep today in his home near Moscow.
He was elected as Patriarch in 1990 at the critical moment when the winds of freedom were at last blowing through the Orthodox Church in Russia. The nearly two decades since that event have been years of tumultous change in Russia and in the Orthodox world. There were no clear road maps for the task that was ahead.
In his time as Patriarch, he oversaw the healing of the schism between the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, an occasion that is still quite fresh and promises much fruit in the future. Finding the right path for the Church in a secular but friendly state (which Americans think is obvious) is far more difficult than many in the West might imagine. Time will tell how well the past 18 years have been spent in that pursuit.
I will not forget that he has been a steadfast friend of the Orthodox Church in America and will offer prayers for the repose of his soul.
May his memory be eternal!