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    FEBRUARY 25 IS THE NAME DAY OF PATRIARCH ALEXIS II

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    MOSCOW, February 25, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Wednesday, February 25, is the name day of Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia. Today, the Russian Orthodox Church reveres the patriarch's namesake, Prelate Alexis of Moscow.

    Prelate Alexis lived in the 14th century. In 1354, he became a metropolitan. He was a guardian of Prince Dmitry. Dmitry Donskoi later defeated the Tartar-Mongolian army in the Battle of Kulikovo Polye. Alexis did much for the reconciliation and centralization of Russian principalities and founded three monasteries in Moscow.

    This year February 25 coincides with the first Wednesday of Lent. Therefore, Alexis II will celebrate his name day on Sunday, February 29.

    On Wednesday, the patriarch will give a mass at the Christ the Savior Cathedral.

    Alexis II (Alexei Mikhailovich Ridiger) is the 15th Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was born on February 23, 1929 in Tallinn. His family is German and he has served in the church since childhood.

    Alexei Ridiger attended a Russian secondary school in Tallinn. Then he studied at a religious seminary and academy in St. Petersburg (Leningrad). In 1953, Father Alexei graduated from the religious academy and the title of Candidate of Theology was conferred on him.

    In 1961, the future patriarch entered a monastery. Later that year, he became the Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia and deputy chairman of the Foreign Church Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    From 1964 to 1990, the future patriarch was the administrative manager of the Moscow Patriarchate, a permanent member of the Holy Synod and in charge of the clergy's pension affairs and the restoration of Moscow's ancient Monastery of St. Daniel.

    In 1986, Alexis was appointed the Metropolitan of Leningrad and Novgorod and was given a mission to govern the Tallinn diocese.

    In 1990, Alexis was elected Patriarch at the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church.

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