05 December 2008, 17:24
Russian Orthodox Church Council to elect Patriarch within six months (updated)
Moscow, December 5, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church will elect a locum tenens on Saturday, and a new patriarch will be elected by the Church Council within half a year, the Moscow Patriarchate said.
"The Holy Synod will gather for an extraordinary session on December 6. In line with the Russian Orthodox Church charter, a locum tenens will be elected," Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Priest Vladimir Vigilyansky told journalists on Friday.
The Church Council will be convened within six months to elect a new Patriarch, he said.
The Holy Synod will convene at the patriarchal residence in Peredelkino, outside Moscow, Fr. Vladimir said.
"The locum tenens will manage the Russian Orthodox Church until the Church Council. A locum tenens is to be elected among the seven permanent members of the Holy Synod," he said.
The Holy Synod meeting will be hosted by the oldest member, Fr. Vladimir said. "Our elder is Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga," he said.
At the same time, the Moscow bishopric, in line with the church's charter, will be governed by Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna, he said.
"The charter stipulates that the Church Council convenes within six months following the Patriarch's death. The next Patriarch will be elected then," he said.