Patriarch Kirill baptized many Communist officials in Soviet times, a friend of his youth says

Metropolitan Kirill, elected Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia baptized many members of the Communist Party in Soviet era, Vadim Melnikov, who was his friend for more than twenty years, says. "He himself told me that he baptized almost all secretaries of regional committees in Leningrad," Melnikov said in the interview published by the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily.

The Metropolitan's friend calls him "generous and attentive." "Once we asked him to buy in Switzerland Adidas high-tops for my son. He did it, but refused to take money. And the high-tops were expensive, they cost 80 francs!" Melnikov says.

He still keeps two Easter eggs given to him by Metropolitan Kirill. "I've kept these eggs for twenty five years and they didn't addle and didn't hatch out! We have icons presented by Kirill, a souvenir plate, a Bible and two wineglasses. Kirill has never come empty-handed," his friend of youth says.

Melnikov was a consul in the USSR representation in Geneva and an ardent atheist. He got acquainted with the Archimandrite Kirill in 1972, when the latter had to consular register.

"Look, how handsome he was in his young years! Unfortunately, he wasn't married and chose to be a monk. However, women liked him. Kirill was tall, young, always smiled and was in good temper, people turned to him. I dare assume that he broke hearts of many girls. I used to think then: gosh! What a lad we're losing!" Melnikov confessed showing photos of the future Patriarch.

He also remembers "how boldly" Father Kirill skied and dived. "We got so scared, when he dived in the water and didn't appear for several minutes!" the Metropolitan's friend says recalling their trip to his country house in Komarovo.

The only topic they didn't touch upon was religion. "We wouldn't understand each other in this field. Kirill was a militant Christian while I am a militant atheist," Melnikov says.

Source: Interfax religion