Italian to Head Russia's Episcopal Conference

IRKUTSK, Russia, JAN. 21, 2011 ( Archbishop Paolo Pezzi of Moscow was elected chairman of the Russian Episcopal Conference on Wednesday.

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The 33rd session of the conference, held in Irkutsk, also elected Bishop Clemens Pickel of San Clemente a Saratov as its deputy chairman, and reelected Priest Igor Kovalevsky for the next three-year term as its secretary general, according to Interfax.

Archbishop Pezzi, 50, is a native of Russi, Italy. He studied philosophy and theology in Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas and, in 1990, he was ordained priest in the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo by Cardinal Ugo Poletti.

From 1993 to 1998, he was director of the Siberian Catholic Newspaper of the Diocese of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk.

From 1998 to 2005, he was vicar general of the Priestly Fraternity of Missionaries of Saint Charles Borromeo, and in 1998, he became the leader of the Communion and Liberation Movement in Russia.

In 2004 he was a professor at the Mary Queen of the Apostles Major Seminary in St. Petersburg, and in 2006, he became its rector. He was also put in charge of the pastoral care of Italians in Moscow.

In 2007, the priest was named archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow, succeeding Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who was transferred to Minsk, Belarus.

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