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NEW YORK: December 5, 2008
Metropolitan Hilarion Performs a Pannikhida for His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II at his Synodal Residence

At the conclusion of Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign in New York, the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia performed a pannikhida [memorial service] for His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia.

His Holiness departed from this life early this morning. His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion said that the Russian Church Abroad, along with all other Orthodox Christians, are mourning the death of the patriarch, who only survived His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory, the late Primate of the Church Abroad, by seven and a half months.

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy and His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus signed the historic Act of Canonical Communion in May, 2007, a document which ended the almost century-old division between Russian Orthodox Christians in the Fatherland and the diaspora.

"It is noteworthy that Metropolitan Laurus and Patriarch Alexy both reposed this year, having already achieved the main task of their lives," said the leader of the Russian Church Abroad.

Many parishioners who gathered at the Manhattan church this morning heard the news of the death of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia only when they arrived.

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