MOSCOW, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Metropolitan Kirill officially became the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church on Sunday, the church says.
RIA Novosti said in an enthronement ceremony in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral Sunday, church officials presented Kirill with the tunic, broad scarf and headgear typically worn by the church patriarch.
Kirill was picked last week by the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church to take over the patriarch post left vacant by the death of Patriarch Alexy II. Alexy died at the age of 79 in December.
Pope Benedict XVI supported the results of the council's vote last Tuesday with a message of hope regarding his church's relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.
"May the Almighty also bless your efforts to seek that fullness of communion which is the goal of Catholic-Orthodox collaboration and dialogue," the Roman Catholic Church leader said last Wednesday.
RIA Novosti said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were among the top dignitaries present at Sunday's ceremony.