Russian Patriarch Alexy II dies

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II dies

Today, on December 5th 2008, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II who led greatly the Russian Orthodox church from Soviet times died at age 79. Alexy II was inaugurated as patriarch of Russia in the Church of the Holy Trinity Of St. Sergius Lavra (70 km. or 42 miles from Moscow) in 1990 when it was still under the Soviet regime. Then the fresh winds of perestroika ushered in under Mikhail Gorbachev in the 1980s brought a time of great changes and hopes for the future. During the past 18 years under the leadership of Alexy II, it is evident that there has been a revival of religion in Russia. Many churches and monasteries were reopened and restored after suppression of religion during the Soviet times. One of the most important projects completed in the years 1995-2000 was the reconstruction of the great Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Millions of people have visited this Cathedral in the past few years, including an entire new generation of Russian youth. Nicholas II, Russia's last Tsar, and his family were canonized in recent times as well as many recent martyrs who had suffered under communism. One of the most important events for all of Orthodox Christians was the unification of the Western and Eastern churches after the start of democracy in Russia.

President of Russia Dimitri Medvedev issued a statement upon the death of His Holiness Alexy II. President Medvedev had been on a visit to India and promptly returned to Russia to speak to the people. It was with deep sorrow that President Medvedev addressed the nation following the death of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church. Here is a quotation from his speech:

"A great sorrow has befallen our nation, our society – the death of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II. He was an outstanding religious figure and true spiritual leader, and he was also a great Citizen of Russia, a man whose destiny reflected all the great trials and upheavals that our country traversed in the twentieth century, a critical time in our country's history. He was a true pastor and an example of spiritual steadfastness and noble acts throughout his life. He was with his flock during the days of persecution and during the revival of faith...".

Today I worked with my repeat clients from Germany and England and listened to today's news on the car radio. I had tears in my eyes when I heard the respectful words about our patriarch from the various government and church authorities, professors, actors and ordinary people. With the same sorrow in my heart, I decided to finally begin the task of updating my website by starting with the posting of this current sad news from Russia. I included a photo that I had taken on April 9th in the Moscow Kremlin while I was walking around with clients from the USA.

I had been honored when I saw His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II several times while I was on tours with my clients around the Moscow Kremlin or the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Of course, as a photographer by nature, I tried to take a picture of His Holiness if I had the chance during an appropriate moment. But it was always difficult to get good photos because of the crowds of people, bishops, priests or bodyguards surrounding Alexy II. This photo I have posted of Alexy II is one where I was able to get closer to his face and I feel that I was very fortunate to be able to get this picture. At this moment when I took the photo, the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia Alexy II was leading a religious procession in the Moscow Kremlin. There were crosses and banners surrounding the Assumption Cathedral, one of the most ancient churches of Moscow where the coronation of the Russian Tsars took place. I was able to take many good shots of this historic event for my excited clients from the USA. I will try to post several more photos and also create a special photo album for this news a bit later.

With BEST Regards,
Arthur Lookyanov
HOT News from Moscow

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About Me in Short

Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

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