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Mr. Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, congratulated the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church on the 65th anniversary of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. The text is given below.

Your Holiness:

Please accept my heartfelt greetings with the 65th anniversary of the Department for External Church Relations, a most important Synodal institution of the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Department has worthily represented the interests of the Russian Church on international scene and has done much to promote the consolidation of its deserved authority in our country and abroad. The DECR has made a weighty contribution to the strengthening of civil accord in Russia, extension of contacts with our compatriots, and intensification of interreligious dialogue.

The present cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Orthodox Church, based on common aspiration for stable prosperity and spiritual transformation of our Motherland, is active and constructive. A new impetus to its development was given a last year meeting of Your Holiness with the members of the Collegium of the Ministry. A working group on cooperation between the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Russian Orthodox Church is an effective instrument of cooperation.

We highly appreciate the efforts of the Ministry and the Church aimed at the strengthening of moral foundation of international relations and a search for answers to the fundamental issues on the global agenda. I am confident that our cooperation will develop and prove fruitful.

I wholeheartedly wish the leadership and all staff of the Department success in their noble mission of serving the Fatherland.

With profound respect,

Sergei Lavrov,

Minister of Foreign Affairs

of the Russian Federation