Strong showing for Kirill in first round of Russian Orthodox vote

January 25, 2009

Frontrunner Metropolitan Kirill made a strong showing in the first round of the Russian Orthodox voting for a new patriarch on Sunday. He won 97 of the 197 votes cast in the Council of Bishops, which picked three candidates for the final voting by the Local Council of about 700 priests, monks and laymen this week. His main rival, Metropolitan Kliment, picked up 32 votes while the third candidate, Metropolitan Filaret, got 16 votes.

See a full report here from our Moscow bureau.

(Photo: Metropolitan Kirill, 19 Oct 2008/Ramon Espinosa)

The next round of voting, to be held in a Local Council session lasting from Tuesday to Thursday, requires a  majority of 99 votes. That puts Kirill just two votes behind the magic number. If one of the three candidates does not get an outright majority, the third man drops out and the two others go into a run-off. Church watchers say the Local Council will have many delegates who are more nationalist, anti-western and anti-ecumenical minded than Kirill and might vote for anyone but him. Watch this space…

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