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Vasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd) Portrait of Patriarch Alexy II Oil on canvas, 2000 100 x 80 cm
Goback 45 / 61 Forward

Title: Patriarch Alexy II

Vasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd)
Portrait of Patriarch Alexy II
Oil on canvas, 2000
100 x 80 cm

Patriarch Alexy II (or Alexius II, Russian: Ñâÿòǻéøèé Ïàòðèà́ðõ Ìîñêî́âñêèé è âñåÿ́ Ðóñè́ Àëåêñè́é II; secular name Alexey Mikhailovich RidigerRussian: Àëåêñǻé Ìèõà́éëîâè÷ Ðè́äèãåð; 23 February 1929 – 5 December 2008) was the 15th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

His name (secular Àëåêñåé, clerical Àëåêñèé) is transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet into English in various forms, including Alexius, Aleksij, Aleksi, Aleksiy, Alexiy, Alexis, Alexei, Alexey, and Alexy. When he became a monk, his name was not changed, but his patron saint changed from Alexius of Rome to Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow whose relics repose in the Theophany Cathedral in Moscow.

Elected Patriarch of Moscow one and half year prior to the Soviet Union's collapse, he became the first Russian Patriarch of the post-Soviet period.

Alexey Mikhailovich Ridiger's father Mikhail Ridiger (1902–1962), born in Saint Petersburg, was a descendant of a Baltic German family. His ancestor Captain Heinrich Nicolaus (Nils) Rüdinger, the commander of a Swedish fortification in Dünamünde, Swedish Livonia, was knighted by Charles XI of Sweden in 1695. After Swedish Estonia and Swedish Livonia became part of the Russian Empire in the aftermath of the Great Northern War in the beginning of the 18th century, another forefather of Alexy II, Friedrich Wilhelm von Rüdiger (1780–1840), adopted Orthodox Christianity during the reign of Catherine II of Russia. From the marriage with Darya Fyodorovna Yerzhemsky was born the future Patriarch's great-grandfather, Yegor (Georgi) von Rüdiger (1811–1848).

After the Russian October Revolution in 1917, Alexey Ridiger's father Mikhail became a refugee and the family settled in Estonia, first in Haapsalu where a shelter was provided by priest Ralph von zur Mühlen. Later Mikhail moved to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, where he met and married in 1926 Yelena Iosifovna Pisareva (1902–1959), who was born and later died there.

Alexey Ridiger's father graduated from the theological seminary in Tallinn in 1940 and was ordained a deacon and later a priest and served as the rector of the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Tallinn. Later, he was a member and the chairman of the Diocesan Council in Estonia.

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Goback 45 / 61 Forward
Vasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd) Irina Arkhipova  Oil on canvas, 2000 200 x 165 cm The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, RussiaVasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd) Portrait of Patriarch Alexy II Oil on canvas, 2000 100 x 80 cmVasily Igorevich Nesterenko (1967, Russia, Pavlograd) Alone Oil on canvas, 1995 180 x 100 cm
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