In a letter of condolence to the Russian Orthodox Church, in Berlin today (5 December), Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his shock at the sudden death of Patriarch Alexis II:
"I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden demise of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis II. Allow me to express to you and Russian Orthodox Christianity my heartfelt condolences.
For decades Patriarch Alexis II left his mark on the Russian Orthodox Church as Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations, as Member of the Holy Synod and, since 1990, as Patriarch of Russian Orthodoxy. His great spiritual power, his efforts to achieve peace and social justice, and the major role he played in the dialogue with politics, mean that he will be sorely missed. Patriarch Alexis II had close links with Germany as a result of his family history. For that reason many people here in Germany, too, will share your Church's sorrow.
Orthodox Christianity has lost a great and influential person. We will remember Patriarch Alexis II as an outstanding church leader."