Notable Deaths

December 06, 2008


Russian Orthodox patriarch

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II, who presided over a vast post-Soviet revival of faith but was accused of making the church a force for nationalism, died yesterday at his residence outside Moscow. No cause of death was given. He had long suffered from a heart ailment.

Patriarch Alexy became leader of the church in 1990 as the officially atheist Soviet Union was loosening its restrictions on religion. After the Soviet Union collapsed the next year, the church's popularity surged. By the time of Patriarch Alexy's death, the church's flock was estimated to include about two-thirds of Russia's 142 million people, making it the world's largest Orthodox church.

He successfully lobbied for the 1997 passage of a religion law that places restrictions on the activities of religions other than Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.


Actor and agent who coined term 'sci-fi'

Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with coining the term "sci-fi," died Thursday of heart failure at his Los Angeles home.

Although only marginally known to readers of mainstream literature, Mr. Ackerman was legendary in science-fiction circles as the founding editor of the pulp magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland.

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