On checking my e-mail this morning, the first thing I read was that His Holiness, Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All Rus', had fallen asleep in the Lord. Although we commemorate him in all of the services in the Russian Church Abroad, I don't know very much about Patriarch Alexey. I can say that it certainly seems praiseworthy that so many wonderful things have happened in the Russian Church since his enthronement, including the rebuilding of countless churches and monasteries, the rejection of Sergianism, the glorification of the New Martyrs of Russia, including the Imperial Family, and the reunification with our Russian Church Abroad. His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion writes:
It was with heartfelt pain that I learned of the repose of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia, and on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, I express our condolences to the Holy Synod, my brother archpastors, reverend fathers, brethren, sisters and children of the Russian Orthodox Church.
In truth, as St Symeon the New Theologian, says, “The beginning of life is the end, the end, the beginning, and I know not whence I come, where I am, I know not where I will go tomorrow.” Such is the lot of each mortal. And now, in our common funereal prayers, we see the bright image of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, who was truly a kind and selfless podvizhnik, working for the rebirth of the Russian Orthodox Church, which arose from ruin after so many years of godless persecutions. The newly-reposed Patriarch was a preacher of repentance and the return of the Russian nation to its historic roots, its Holy Russian ideals.
I call upon my brother archpastors, clergymen and flock of the Russian Church Abroad to pray for the soul of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy.
You can read a detailed biography of His Holiness here, at the Moscow Patriarchate's official website. May his memory be eternal! Вечная памятъ!