ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) _ Metropolitan Ioann, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg and Ladoga and a leader of church hard-liners, has died of a heart attack. He was 68.

The metropolitan, known for outspoken nationalism and anti-Semitism, had suffered from heart trouble in recent years, the Interfax news agency said. The report said he died Thursday.

Born in 1927 to a peasant family in southern Russia, he was ordained as a deacon in 1946 and rose quickly in the church. In 1976 he became archbishop, and since 1990 he led the St. Petersburg and Ladoga diocese, Russia's second largest.

His views often brought him into conflict with leaders of the Moscow diocese, the country's largest.

Metropolitan Ioann preached that Orthodoxy should be the only religion in Russia, and he harshly condemned the many Western and Eastern missionary groups that have flooded Russia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

He frequently blamed many of Russia's troubles on Jews and people from the Caucasus Mountains.

Burial was planned for Sunday at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.