Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church who was the foremost figure in the religion from 1986 to 2007
He began his tenure under Romania's communist government, and was accused by some of collaborating with it.
In response to charges of collaboration, he offered his resignation, and even briefly stepped down, but he was later reinstated by the church.
He was born the second youngest of 11 children to a family in Botoşani County, Romania.
He was the first Orthodox church leader to host the Roman Catholic Pope when Pope John Paul II visited, signaling a rapprochement between the two religions.