- His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
- V.Rev. archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin), Representative of Russian Orthodox Church in the Kingdom of Thailand
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia (secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyaev) was born on 20 November 1946 in Leningrad to the family of a priest. He graduated from secondary school in 1964 and from the Leningrad Theological Seminary and Academy in 1970 with the degree of Candidate of Theology for his study on "The Formation and Development of the Church Hierarchy and the Teaching of the Orthodox Church on Its Gracious Nature".
He was tonsured by Metropolitan Nikodim of Leningrad and Novgorod on 3 April 1969. He was ordained hierodeacon on 7 April and hieromonk on 1 June of the same year. He was appointed personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim on 30 August 1970. As a teacher at the Academy and secretary to the Metropolitan he devoted much of his time to participation in the external activity of the Moscow Patriarchate. In 1971 he represented the theological schools of the Russian Orthodox Church at the SYNDESMOS General Assembly and was elected by the assembly to the SYNDESMOS Executive Committee. He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on 12 September 1971 and appointed representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva. In 1972 he was elected to the Board of the WCC Fund for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Indochina.
He was appointed rector of the Leningrad Theological Schools on 26 December 1974. In 1975 he became chairman of the Leningrad Diocesan Council. By the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen and the Holy Synod on 3 March 1976 Archimandrite Kirill was made Bishop of Vyborg, Assistant Bishop of the Leningrad Diocese. His episcopal consecration took place on 14 March 1976.
Patriarch Kirill has been actively involved in the ecumenical activity of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1975 he was elected to the Central and Executive Committees of the WCC at its 5th Assembly in Nairobi. On 9 September 1976 he was appointed representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the WCC Plenary Commission "Faith and Order". He participated in the 1st Pre-council Pan-Orthodox Conference in 1976 in Geneva, as well as Orthodox-Catholic dialogues in 1978, 1980 and 1984. From 1976 to 1978 he was Deputy Patriarchal Exarch for Western Europe and later took pastoral care of the Patriarchal parishes in Finland. He was elevated to the rank of archbishop on 2 September 1977. Since 1979 he has been member of the Holy Synod Commission for Christian Unity, now the Synodal Theological Commission.
On 26 December 1984 he was transferred to the See of Smolensk. By the decision of the Holy Synod of 14 November 1989, he was appointed Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations and Permanent Member of the Holy Synod. In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of metropolitan. He is an Honorary Member of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Doctor honoris causa of the Reformed Theological Academy in Budapest. He has been decorated with high orders of the Russian Orthodox Church and many Local Orthodox Churches. In August 1993 he was awarded the international Loviis Peace Prize. In 2002 he received honorary doctorate in political sciences honoris cause from the University of Perugia, Italy.
On 27 January 2009 The Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church elected Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad to the Moscow Patriarchal Throne.
On 1 February 2009 enthronement of His Holliness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.
Patriarch Kirill is the author of more than 200 publications in church and secular press, as well as of a weekly TV program, which attracts large audiences.
Information provided by the official website of the Department for External Church Relations of Russian Orthodox Church: http://www.mospat.ru
V.Rev. archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin)
Representative of Russian Orthodox Church in the Kingdom of Thailand
Representative of Russian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in the Kingdom of Thailand, rector of St. Nicholas' Parish in Bangkok.
Archimandrite Oleg (secular name - Oleg Mikhailovich Cherepanin) was born on November 30, 1961 to the family of the official in Homel, Belorussian SSR (now Belorussian Republic).
Since 1984 he had an obedience of private assistant of His Eminence John (Vendland), Metropolitan of Yaroslavl and Rostov. In the same year he entered Moscow Theological Seminary, which he finished with first grade in 1989. By turns he also had obedience work in Yaroslavl Diocese government from an assistant of Metropolitan on accepting foreign delegations to the Administrator of the Office.
In 1985 he was admitted to monastic vows and ordained hierodeacon by His Eminence Metropolitan John (Vendland).
In 1986 by the same Hierarch received mantiya and was ordained hieromonk. Also he was appointed the rector of Metropolitan's home church in the name of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow. Later he was transferred to Annunciation church in Yakovlevskoe settlement of Yaroslavl. After a year by His Eminence Platon, Archbishop of Yaroslavl and Rostov he was appointed the dean of St. Sergius of Radonezh's Church, Tatishev Pogost, Rostov district, Yaroslavskaya region.
In 1995 he was awarded a golden pectoral cross by His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, in 1998 was ordained hegumen, and in 2001, by the ordinance of His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, was awarded a cross with adornment.
Since 1997 he was the head of Missionary committee of Yaroslavl Diocese, a lecturer in Yaroslavl theological school (comparative theology), and, by the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch ALEXY II and ruling bishop of Yaroslavl and Rostov Mikhey (Harharov), alternatively, by request of Yaroslavskaya region's governor A. I. Lisitsin, had obedience work as a Counselor of the Governor on interaction with religious associations.
In 1999 he was sent to serve in the Kingdom of Thailand as the rector of St. Nicholas' Chapel in Bangkok.
By the Holy Synod's decision of 26-27 December 2001 he was appointed Representative of Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand with the mission to give spiritual guidance to Orthodox flock in Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia.
In Rostov district of Yaroslavskaya region he received the rank of "Honorary Freeman".
In 1994 for his contribution to spiritual development of the society he was awarded Orden of Friendship by Russian President.
On December 19, 2007 he received a high international prize, orden "For great service to fellow countrymen" of the first grade.
On December 19, 2009, taking into consideration longstanding zealous pastoral activities in The Kingdom of Thailand, honoured with the rank of archimandrite from His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill.
30 Nov 2011 awarded with the order of Saint Innocent, metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna (3rd degree) - For the zealous work for the Holy Church and because of the 50th anniversary.
30 Nov 2011 for the considerable contribution to the development of spirituality and culture, missionary and charitable activities, awarded with the highest order of Russian Peace Foundation - golden medal "For the peacemaking and charitable activities".