Between the spring of 1989 and the end of 1991, the Russian Orthodox Church successfully continued its recovery. Over 2,000 new Orthodox parishes were registered. Freedom-of-conscience laws put the changes begun in 1988 on new legal foundations, and after the death of its aged and ailing patriarch, the church elevated a man of high intelligence and vigor to the patriarchal throne. Kharchev's interview aroused much interest in church circles, particularly because of his willingness to wash dirty linen in public. Kharchev's comments were unquestionably self-serving. He had given the church's leaders cause to regard him as a busybody, inserting himself into church matters he should have left to the bishops. Some outspoken priests and journalists criticized the process for selecting delegates and the hasty convocation of the council, as it would occur even before the end of the forty-day period of mourning for Pimen.