Biography of Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill (worldly name - Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev) headed the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) on February 1, 2009 after the death of his predecessor Alexy II.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia KirillPatriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill

Childhood and family

Vladimir Gundyaev was born in Leningrad on November 20, 1946 in a religious, despite the anti-church mood in those years, to a family.
His grandfather, Vasily Stepanovich (born in 1879), a native of the Lukoyanovsk district, was a machinist by training, himself began to study theological literature. In 1922, he ended up in Solovki under the denunciation of the Renovationists (a religious movement that rose up in opposition to the Orthodox Church after the revolution and for some time was supported by the Bolsheviks), which he opposed. But even in the camp, Vasily did not give up his faith, conducted secret worship services, for which he once spent a month in a punishment cell. In exile, the Christian stayed until 1955.
Vasily Stepanovich GundyaevVasily Stepanovich Gundyaev
The father of the future patriarch, Mikhail Vasilyevich Gundyaev (born 1907), dreamed of becoming a priest from a young finger.After graduation, he worked for some time as an assistant in the church Lukoyanova, and in 1926 he moved to Leningrad, where he entered the Higher Theological Courses. He regularly attended all the lectures and literally wrote them down.
Mikhail Vasilyevich GundyaevMikhail Vasilyevich Gundyaev
Two years later, the courses were closed, Michael went into the army. After serving, he enrolled in a technical school, then in an industrial university. Initially, he planned to go to study at the doctor, but because of the mark about theological courses in his personal file, he was "turned back." In 1934, he was arrested under the "Kirovsky Case" for serving in the church and singing on the choir - just a few days before the wedding. Mikhail was accused of the assassination of Joseph Stalin.
Parents of Patriarch CyrilParents of Patriarch Cyril
His wife, Raisa Vladimirovna Kuchina (b. 1909), taught German at school. Also being a religious person, she sang with pleasure in the church choir, where she met her future husband.
Together with his wife, Mikhail spent three years in Kolyma, then returned to Leningrad, worked at the plant. In 1940, the firstborn Nikolai was born. During the war years, Michael helped to strengthen the city during the siege, in 1943 went to the front. After the victory, the family began to live in the city, recovering from the blockade, their second son Vladimir was soon born.At that time, the state began to establish a dialogue with the church, and therefore Gundyaev, at the risk of losing his high position in society, still asked for ordination. In 1947, Mikhail was elevated to the rank of deacon and appointed to the church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God.
Patriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gunyadev) in childhoodPatriarch Kirill (Vladimir Gunyadev) in childhood
Two years later, the warmer relations between the church and the state began to deteriorate again. For service, Michael was imposed an inconceivable fine at that time - 120 thousand rubles (for comparison, the Victory car, which cost about 15 thousand, even wealthy people had been saving for years). A part of the money was collected at the Leningrad parishes, but until the death of Michael, a large family (except for Nikolai and Vladimir, the spouses had a daughter Elena, born in 1949) was always in debt and suffered terrible poverty. Saved grateful parishioners, rescued products.
Vladimir, Elena and Nikolai GundyaevsVladimir, Elena and Nikolai Gundyaevs
The formation of Vladimir’s views was greatly influenced by his grandfather, who returned home in the mid-50s. He told his grandson that even during the most severe test of camps that took the lives of most people, he never felt fear.“For me, it was a living experience and a living image of a man who knew what God's love was,” the patriarch later recalled.
Every school day was a test for Vladimir. Opponent of the communist regime, he did not become a pioneer or member of the Komsomol. When the school principal persuaded Gundyaev to wear a pioneer tie, he replied: “Ok. If you do not mind, I will go to church in a red tie. Because I will. ” Constant pedsovety and vyvolochki the director did not interfere with Vova to study well. The soul of the future patriarch lay in physics and other exact disciplines.


After finishing eight years, Vladimir did not continue schooling. He decided to live an independent life, without burdening the needy parents, who still had his younger sister in charge. Having settled in the "evening", in 1962, Vladimir began working as a cartographer in the Leningrad Complex Geological Expedition.
Young Vladimir Gundyaev worked on a geological expeditionYoung Vladimir Gundyaev worked on a geological expedition
In 1965, Gundyaev entered the Leningrad Theological Seminary, in 1967 continued his studies at the Theological Academy. According to information found in some sources, he passed the program in an accelerated mode at the request of Metropolitan Nikodim Rotov, his cell attendant (i.e.secretary) whom Vladimir became later, in 1970.

Religious activities

In April 1969, Vladimir Gundyaev was tonsured a monk and was named Cyril, ordained a hierodeacon, and then a hieromonk. A year later, he graduated from the Academy with honors and the degree of candidate of theological sciences.
In the photo: Vladimir Gundyaev and Metropolitan NicodemusIn the photo: Vladimir Gundyaev and Metropolitan Nicodemus
He combined his position as secretary of Nicodemus with teaching in his alma mater. In 1971, Cyril was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, in October of that year, became the prior of an Orthodox church in Geneva, Switzerland.
Hieromonk Cyril on the day of ordinationHieromonk Cyril on the day of ordination
From that moment on, Kirill begins to move up the service, if I may say so, stairs. For 20 years he has gone from archimandrite to metropolitan; He was chairman of the commission of the Holy Synod, which deals with the current issues of the ROC.
Interview of the future patriarch (1989)

Social activity

In the 90s, Patriarch Kirill became more and more deeply involved in social activities. In 1994, the television program “The Word of the Shepherd” was broadcast with his participation, which covered spiritual and educational issues in a language that the plain viewer could understand.
The Word of the Shepherd with Metropolitan Kirill (1997)
At the same time, Kirill, being the chairman of the External Relations Department of the Russian Orthodox Church, organized the creation of the concept of the Russian Orthodox Church in the sphere of church-state relations. The result of his work was the Basics of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopted in 2000 at the Bishops ’Council, a document that set forth the official position of the Orthodox Church in its interaction with the state.
In the photo: Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan KirillIn the photo: Patriarch Alexy II and Metropolitan Kirill
Since 1995, the fruitful work of Patriarch Kirill begins in cooperation with the Government of the Russian Federation. He has repeatedly been a member in various advisory bodies, participated in the resolution of issues related to the Chechen Republic during the time of military campaigns; organized various cultural events: the celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Christianity, the holding of the year of the Russian Federation in a number of countries.
Prior to the enthronement, Metropolitan Kirill led an active public workPrior to the enthronement, Metropolitan Kirill led an active public work


In 2008, Patriarch Alexy II died. Metropolitan Kirill was appointed to the position of Patriarchal Locum Tenant. In 2009, he was elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, gaining about 75% of the vote at the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.
On February 1, 2009 Patriarch Kirill was enthronedOn February 1, 2009 Patriarch Kirill was enthroned
Patriarch Kirill did a lot to unite the ROC abroad. Regular visits to neighboring countries and meetings with religious leaders and representatives of other faiths significantly strengthened the position of the church, and also expanded the boundaries of cooperation between states.
Patriarch Kirill and Vladimir PutinPatriarch Kirill and Vladimir Putin
Despite dedication, the Patriarch has repeatedly spoken out about radical groups, stating that such preachers must be feared. According to him, more and more often false teachers appear in the people who plunge people into confusion, because a beautiful instrument for the destruction of the church is hidden behind beautifully decorated slogans.


One of the first scandals that arose with the mention of the name of the then Metropolitan Kirill was the case of the use of tax incentives for the import of alcohol and tobacco products in the early 90s. The newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article that spoke about the personal interest of the metropolitan in transactions for the import of excisable goods. However, the absolute majority of religious leaders stated that this is nothing more than a provocation; planned campaignwhich aims to tarnish the name of an honest person.
Patriarch Kirill and Dmitry and Svetlana Medvedev at the Easter servicePatriarch Kirill and Dmitry and Svetlana Medvedev at the Easter service
Metropolitan Kirill was also accused of having links with the KGB. In 2003, President Vladimir Putin received a letter expressing that Kirill is an agent of the KGB. The letter was written by a priest of the Moscow Helsinki Group, but his actions, regarded by society as a provocation, did not bring any results.
In 2010, a new scandal flared up around the name of the patriarch. Cyril's colleague Lydia Leonova found a thick layer of dust in his apartment. The arrival of the commission decided that the substance had come from the apartment below - its owner, academician and priest of the UOC-MP, Yury Shevchenko, was doing repairs. Examination showed that the dust contains carcinogenic substances. Damage to property amounted to more than 20 million rubles, which Lidia Leonova sued Shevchenko as a result.
Patriarch Kirill: "Do not strive to live better"
However, the press was interested not only in the damage to the patriarch’s property, but in the status of Lydia Leonova, who apparently lived in Vladimir Gundyaev’s apartment.Later, on the radio broadcast of Vladimir Solovyov, the property owner explained that the apartment was donated to him by the deputy Yury Luzhkov by order of Boris Yeltsin, while the patriarch himself “did not live in it for a week”, but gave it to his second cousin Lydia Leonova.
In 2012, a photo of the patriarch with expensive Breguet watches was posted on the ROC website. Later, the clock disappeared from the photo, but remained in the reflection on the table. The press service of the ROC called this incident "the ridiculous mistake of a photo editor." Soon the site returned the original version of the photo - with the clock.
The patriarch's clock disappeared from the photo, but remained in reflectionThe patriarch's clock disappeared from the photo, but remained in reflection

The personal life of Patriarch Cyril

When, after a scandal with the property that suffered from dust, it turned out that in the ill-fated apartment of Patriarch Kirill on ul. Serafimovich was prescribed by a certain Lydia Mikhailovna Leonova, in the press, as expected, there was a sensation. From her biography, the journalists found out only that she was the daughter of the cook of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the CPSU.
Journalists believe that in this photo Vladimir Gundyaev was photographed with Lydia Leonova and their sonJournalists believe that in this photo Vladimir Gundyaev was photographed with Lydia Leonova and their son
Despite,that the patriarch personally called her his second cousin, in the press she was called “the concubine of Cyril Gundyaeva”, and himself “exemplary family man”, and even cited their 1988 photo as an example. However, the statement about any love relationship between them does not hold water, because Patriarch Kirill completely abandoned his personal life in the name of serving the Lord. Accordingly, he cannot have a wife (and even more so as concubine) and children.

Patriarch Kirill is now

In February 2016, for the first time in history, the head of the ROC met with the Pope.

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