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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent the following congratulatory message to Ms. I. Bokova on the occasion of her election as UNESCO Director General:

Dear Ms. Bokova,

I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate you on your election as UNESCO Director General.

Your strong qualifications and extensive diplomatic experience will certainly guarantee efficiency in the UNESCO work to resolve a wide range of problems.

The Russian Orthodox Church attaches an exclusive importance to the work of the UN in education, science and culture. UNESCO has by right a special role to play in establishing peace and mutual respect among the civilizations on the solid basis of moral values shared by most people.  It is my conviction that this goal is feasible only if UNESCO enters into constructive cooperation with traditional religious communities which can make their own contribution to the UNESCO work both in the field of education and culture and the dialogue of cultures and religions.

The meeting of UNESCO Director General with high-ranking representatives of religious communities on 20 July 2009 in Moscow was an essential step in the cooperation of religious communities with UNESCO as it was agreed to set up a group of high-ranking religious leaders for cooperation with UNESCO on its agenda items having a religious dimension.

I hope for further development of fruitful cooperation. In case of your visit to Moscow I will be delighted to meet you.

I wish you physical strength, good health and God’s help in your new important office.


+ Kirill

Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia