Patriarch Kirill (secular name Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyaev) was born in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) on 20 November, 1946 into the family of a priest.
In 1970-1971 – Fr Kirill served as a lecturer of dogmatic theology and assistant inspector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary. Fr Kirill was also appointed private secretary of Metropolitan Nikodim and form-master of the 1st class of the Seminary. In September of 1971, he was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite.
From 1971 to 1974 Fr Kirill was the representative of the Moscow Patriarchate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva. Whilst also serving as the Rector of the Leningrad Theological Academy and Seminary until December 1984. On 14 March 1976 Archimandrite Kirill was consecrated Bishop of Vyborg and on 2 September 1977 he was elevated to the dignity of archbishop.
On 26 December 1984 Archbishop Kirill was appointed to the See of Smolensk and Vyazma and Administrator of the parishes in the Kaliningrad diocese in 1986. This was reorganised as the Diocese of Smolensk and Kaliningrad in 1988.
Since 13 November 1989 Archbishop Kirill was chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. On 25 February 1991 Archbishop Kirill was elevated to the dignity of Metropolitan.
On 6 December 2008, the next day after the death of Patriarch Alexei II decease, Metropolitan Kirill was elected Locum Tenens of the Moscow Patriarchal Throne. On 27 January 2009 he was elected the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia by the Local Council of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill’s enthronement took place in the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on 1 February 2009. .