CHISINAU -- Representatives of the Moldovan Orthodox Church subordinate to Moscow are mourning the death of Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Aleksy II, who died on December 5.
Officials of the pro-Russian Metropolitan Church of Moldova told RFE/RL's Moldovan Service that Aleksy's death is a great loss, adding that his nationality is not relevant for true Moldovan worshippers.
The head of the church, Metropolitan Vladimir, is a member of the Russian Orthodox Church's Holy Synod.
Meanwhile, the pro-Romanian Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia did not comment on the patriarch's death.
The two churches are known historically as fierce rivals. The pro-Romanian Moldovan Orthodox Church was banned by the Soviets in the 1940s after the republic of Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union.