MP Patriarch Kyrill: KGB Agent, Billionaire, "Hawk"

published February 10, 2009

Published Tuesday, February 10 2009 
2.2.2009, RUpor

He is the chairman of the Department of External Church Relations (OVTsS) of the Moscow Patriarchate, permanent member of the Holy Synod, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. Honourary and full member of many academies. The majority of Orthodox believers did not know more than these brief details about Kirill Gundiaev, a citizen of the Russian Federation (RF).

It is true that servants of the Church are not accustomed to revealing the details of their personal lives, their views and preferences. In the case of Kirill, we have the exact opposite. He not only never concealed his radical views, he also actively disseminated them both inside Russia and beyond its borders. He became the first church hierarch in Russia to host his own television program. Millions of believers watched his "Pastor's Word" [...]

The ideas that he promoted centered on turning the Church into a real state within a state and supporting it financally, politically, and organizationally. [...]

The only thing that Kirill succeeded in doing is to create a paramilitary "Orthodox corps" within the pro-Kremlin youth movement called "Nashi." During the pontifical synod at the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, the "Nashisty," together with the police, guarded adjacent districts, prevented the followers of the disgraced Metropolitan Diomid from exiting the subway, and impeded journalists in their work.

In his solemn speech during his enthronement, the patriarch called himself a "defender of the Church's external canonical borders." [...]

Regarding the unity of universal Orthodoxy as one of his tasks, he gave his assurances that he will always be open "to dialogue with sister-churches and concerted efforts that would help to strengthen and improve pan-Orthodox cooperation, [and] to achieve greater coordination of pastoral and missionary efforts."

It is significant that the new patriarch's remarks about the unity of the canonical territory were heard only by one president, Dmitry Medvedev. Judging by everything, the abandonment of the struggle for the patriarchal throne of Volodymyr [Sabodan], Metropolitan of Kyiv [Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Moscow Patriarchate] will mean that the Russian Orthodox Church [ROC] will be continuing its path to becoming the state church of the RF. Medvedev himself expressed this vision. Kirill's imperialistic plans clearly displease him. "The work between the state and the church will be required for the sake of the development of our country and all Orthodox nations," the president of the RF noted coldly.

According to his official biography, the patriarch was born on 20 November 1946 in Leningrad into a family of clergymen; he is a hereditary priest. [...]

In 1969 he graduated from the Leningrad Theological Academy (LDA) magna cum laude.

On 3 April 1969 he became a monk; on 7 April 1969, a hierodeacon, and on 1 June 1969, a hieromonk.

On 30 August 1970 he was appointed personal secretary to Metropolitan Nikodim (Rotov) of Leningrad and Novgorod, and the chairman of the OVTsS. From that moment Kirill became the ROC's visiting card to the Western countries. As his opponents confirm, the patriarch's overseas visits were directly linked with his work in the KGB of the USSR. In that department Gundiav was known by his codename "Mikhailov." [...]

In November 1975, at an ecumenical assembly in Nairobi, he condemned the letter written by the dissident Rev. Gleb Yakunin about the persecution of believers in the USSR, and denied the fact that believers' rights were being violated. [...]

On 26 December 1984 he was appointed Archbishop of Smolensk and Viazma. As noted in the Internet publication _Stringer_ Archbishop Kirill's transfer to Smolensk was a humiliation for him and attested to his fall from favour with the state surveillance bodies.

"...Various rumours are circulating about the reasons behind his fall from favour." [...]

Kirill himself believes that he became the victim of a secret resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union about the struggle with religion, which was passed on the eve of the celebrations of the Millennium of the Christianization of Rus'. [...]

On 25 February 1991 he was enthroned as metropolitan.

In 1996 he became a member of the Board of Directors of the Peresvet Bank, which serves the financial interests of the Patriarchate. According to Moscow-based journalists, this marks the beginning of the metropolitan's financial and real estate abuses.

In September 1996, issue no. 34 of the newspaper _Moskovskie novosti_ (Moscow News) featured a report about the fact that in 1994-1996 the OVTsS, headed by Metropolitan Kirill, organized the importation of tens of thousands of tons of goods (primarily cigarettes) bypassing customs duties, under the guise of humanitarian aid, which amounted to tens of millions of dollars. These accusations were supported by other popular secular newspapers (incl. the journalist Sergei Bychkov of _Moskovskii komsomolets_). [...]

An internal church commission headed by Archbishop Sergei (Fomin) was established to investigate these reports.

Nevertheless, the position of Metropolitan Kirill, who denied the deliberate importation of cigarettes into the country [...] was supported by the Pontifical Synod of the ROC in 1997. The Church managed to earn several hundred million dollars, and Kirill's worth was estimated at 1.5 billion dollars. According to some data, today his fortune is estimated at 4 billion dollars.

In May 2001 the same journalist, Sergei Bychkov, published an article entitled "The Metropolitan from the Snuffbox," in which he repeated the earlier allegations about Metropolitan Kirill's tobacco imports, and for the first time publicly identifed Kirill as "agent Mikhailov," recalling [...] the links between the KGB and the ROC in Soviet times.

He lives in the official residence of the OVTsS in Serebrianyi Bor (Moscow).
In 2002 he purchased a penthouse in the House on Nabereznaia with a view overlooking the Church of Christ the Saviour (the apartment is registered to Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundiaev [Kirill's secular name], "concerning which there is a corresponding entry at the cadastral department" (_The New York Times_, no. 50 [96] of 15 December 2008.

"Information about the metropolitan's purchase of a villa in Switzerland" (ibid.) has appeared in the mass media. According to Aleksandr Soldatov, the chief editor of the authoritative publication Портал-Credo.Ru, which is devoted to religious and ecclesiastical life, Metropolitan Kirill is an active and experienced businessman. His interests include playing the stock market, the oil business, metals trading, and cars. On his site,, political scientist and researcher Vladimir Pribylovsky mentions agent "Mikhailov" in the materials of the Yakunin-Ponomarev commission.

January 1973: "The agents of the KGB organs, 'Magistr' and 'Mikhailov,' were dispatched in order to take part in the work of the World Council of Churches in Thailand and India. These agents exerted an advantageous influence on the Council's work and presented materials representing operational interest concerning the situation in the WCC" [...]. Deputy Head of the Fourth Department of the Fifth Directorate of the KGB at the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Lieutenant Colonel Fitsev."

In a particular decision handed down by the commission of the Supreme Soviet it is also stated: "The commission directs the attention of the leadership of the ROC to the anti-constitutional use by the Central Committee of the CPSU and the KGB organs of the USSR of a number of church bodies in their goals by means of recruitment and the infiltration in them of KGB agents. Thus, directed by the OVTsS, the KGB agents designated by the codenames "Sviatoslav," "Alamant," "Mikhailov," "Topaz," "Nesterovich," "Kuznetsov," "Ognev," "Yesaulenko," and others, travelled abroad and carried out the tasks of the KGB leadership. The nature of the assignments carried out by them attests to the inseparability of the indicated department from the state, to its transformation into a secret center of the KGB agentura among the faithful.

Gundiaev's passionate interests are untypical of the religious milieu. He is an avid skier (which is why he purchased a small house in Switzerland), pure-bred dogs, water-skiing, and fast driving.

According to journalists who worked for _Ogonek_, "for the past 30 years [Kirill] has had the warmest relationship" with Lidia Mikhailovna Leonova, the daughter of the cook at the Leningrad oblast party committee of the CPSU.

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