Patriarch Kirill celebrates on February 1, 2020, his 11th enthronement anniversary as Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir M. Gundyaev) was born on November 20, 1946, in Leningrad.
After graduation from school, he entered the Leningrad Seminary and later the Leningrad Theological Academy, from which he graduated cum laude in 1970.
On April 3, 1969, Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod tonsured him a monk with the name of Kirill and on April 7 ordained him a hierodeacon and on June 1 as hieromonk.
From 1970 to 1971 Kirill taught Dogmatic Theology and acted as rector’s assistant for students’ affairs at the Leningrad Theological Schools and at the same time worked as personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim and supervising instructor of the first-grade seminarians.
He was elevated to the rank of archimandrite on September 12, 1971.
From 1971 to 1974, he was the Moscow Patriarchate representative at the World Council of Churches in Geneva.
From December 26, 1974, to December 26, 1984, he was rector of the Leningrad Seminary and Theological Academy. On March 14, 1976, Archimandrite Kirill was consecrated Bishop of Vyborg, Vicar of the Leningrad diocese. On September 2, 1977, he was elevated to the rank of archbishop.
From December 26, 1984, he was Archbishop of Smolensk and Vyazma. From 1986 – administrator of the parishes in the Kaliningrad Region. From 1988 he became Archbishop of Smolensk and Kaliningrad.
On November 13, 1989, he was appointed the chairman of the department for external church relations and permanent member of the Holy Synod.
On February 25, 1991, Archbishop Kirill was elevated to the rank of metropolitan. As Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, Patriarch Kirill participated in the third European Ecumenical Assembly held in Sibiu, 4-9 September 2007.
On January 27, 2009, the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church elected him Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
Patriarch Kirill was enthroned on February 1, 2009.