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    A Russian Orthodox cleric known for preaching to punk and heavy metal fans plans to arrange a meeting between the Russian Church's new leader and rock musicians, a popular daily said on Monday.

    MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Orthodox cleric known for preaching to punk and heavy metal fans plans to arrange a meeting between the Russian Church's new leader and rock musicians, a popular daily said on Monday.

    Father Sergy told Noviye Izvestia he hoped Patriarch Kirill would receive him soon and that he would invite the 62-year-old Church leader to a meeting with rock musicians. The cleric also complained about the lack of contact between the Russian Orthodox Church and young people.

    The rock-loving cleric and Deacon Andrei Kurayev, a respected theologian and an articulate public speaker, earlier arranged a meeting between top Russian rock musicians and Kirill in 2006, when the latter was head of the Church's external relations department.

    Metropolitan Kirill, seen as a liberal in the traditionalist Russian Orthodox Church, said at the meeting he had once spoken before 16,000 people at a rock concert, and although brief it was probably the best of his sermons, the paper said.

    Kirill then proposed regular meetings between the clergy and the rock music community as "society has strong interest in their possible cooperation," the paper said.

    "Even if 100 or 200 people get their religious enlightenment from rock music, can we forbid it? A few words from rock musicians at a concert could have a greater effect than a long church sermon," Kirill said at the time.

    Kirill also spoke at a rock music concert in Kiev, Ukraine, last July.

    "I am going to receive an audience with his Holiness Kirill. Of course, he is too busy at the moment, but sooner or later I will invite him to a meeting with a good rock band," Father Sergy said, as quoted by the daily, adding he had planned a similar meeting for the late Patriarch Alexy II.

    Kirill was crowned as Russia's new church leader on February 1. He replaced Patriarch Alexy II, who died in December at the age of 79. Alexy led a revival of faith in Russia following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

    Sergy told the paper he had no doubt his invitation would be accepted.

    "His Holiness Kirill believes that Russian rock music is a spiritual phenomenon, one of the ways to search for God. I was a hippy myself... It was a rebellion, which eventually led to search for God," the cleric told the paper.

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