Sochi, November 20, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has wished Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia a happy birthday.
Putin, who is currently in Sochi, called the patriarch, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists.
The patriarch turns 72 today.
"On his birthday, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill will perform a divine liturgy service at the in-house temple of his residence in Peredelkino," the patriarch's press secretary Rev. Alexander Volkov told journalists.
"The patriarch is not planning any meetings or events on this day. Given his fairly tight schedule in the coming days, he will be working with documents," the priest said.
Patriarch Kirill was born Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev to the family of a priest in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) on November 20, 1946. After eight years of school, he worked for three years in a geological expedition as a technician-cartographer, combining work with studies.
After finishing high school in 1965, he enrolled in the Leningrad Theological Seminary and later at the Leningrad Theological Academy, from which he graduated with honors in 1970.
In April 1969, Gundyayev became a monk and took the name Kirill. Thereafter, he taught at religious schools in Leningrad and represented the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, after which he was appointed rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary.
In March 1976, Archimandrite Kirill became a bishop. He led the Smolensk and Kaliningrad Diocese for more than 20 years before being appointed the head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations in November 1989.
He was elected the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church on January 27, 2009.