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Russian Patriarch To Visit Kyrgyzstan

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill conducts a ceremonial service marking the 450th anniversary of St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow in July.
BISHKEK -- The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, is expected to visit Kyrgyzstan next month, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan Diocese secretary, Archpriest Igor Dronov, told RFE/RL that Patriarch Kirill's visit to Kyrgyzstan was originally scheduled for November 24-27, but had been postponed to December 2-4 for health reasons.

Kirill is to visit Russian Orthodox churches in Bishkek and Kyrgyzstan's northern Chui Province.

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, who will be officially inaugurated as president on December 1, sent a congratulatory telegram to Kirill on the occasion of his 65th birthday on November 20.

There are currently 45 functioning Russian Orthodox churches and one convent in Kyrgyzstan. Ethnic Russians account for 8.8 percent of the population and live mainly in Bishkek and the north. Russian is an official language along with Kyrgyz.

Read more in Kyrgyz here