Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev) was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on November 20, 1946 into the family of a priest.
After graduation from the secondary school he entered the Leningrad Theological Seminary in 1965 and then the Leningrad Theological Academy, which he finished in 1970.
Tonsured by Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod with monastic name of Kirill on April 3, 1969, ordained hierodeacon on April 7 and hieromonk on June 1 that same year.
1970-1971 - lecturer of dogmatic theology, assistant inspector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary, private secretary of Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod and form-master of the 1st class of the Seminary.
Elevated to the rank of Archimandrite on September 12, 1971.
1971-1974 - representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva.
December 26, 1974 to December 26, 1984 - Rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary.
Consecrated Bishop of Vyborg on March 14, 1976 and elevated to the rank of Archbishop on September 2, 1977.
Appointed Bishop of Smolensk and Vyazma on December 26, 1984 and Administrator of the parishes in the Kaliningrad diocese in 1986.
Since 1988 - Archbishop of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.
Since November 13, 1989 - chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate (DECR MP) and permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church.
February 25, 1991 - elevated to the rank of Metropolitan.
Permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church since 1989; Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate since 1989; Honorary President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace since 1994; Member of the Presidium of the Interreligious Council of Russia since 1998.
On December 6, 2008, next day after Patriarch Alexy II decease, elected the Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal See.
On January 27, 2009 elected the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia by the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.