Religion: Taking a Troubled Throne

Under normal circumstances, election as Patriarch of a church of 40 million souls would be the desire of a priest's lifetime. That is probably not so for Metropolitan Pimen of Kolomna, 60, who was chosen last week by the Holy Synod, meeting in Zagorsk outside Moscow, to head the Russian Orthodox Church. A pliable moderate who has been caretaker head of the church since the death of Patriarch Alexei 13 months ago, Pimen faces enough problems to tax an archangel.

The Orthodox Church suffered greatly in the last decade of Alexei's 25-year reign when...

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