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On July 18, 2014, President Vladimir Putin met with His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, permanent members of the Russian Orthodox Church Holy Synod and heads of the Local Orthodox Churches’ delegations who came to St. Sergius of Radonezh’s 700th birthday celebrations.

Participating in the meeting were also Presidential Envoy for Central Russia A. Beglov, Minister of Culture V. Medinsky and other church and state officials.

Patriarch Kirill welcomed President Putin, saying, “Your Excellency, you see sitting at this table the members of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church and the heads of delegations from 15 Local Orthodox Churches who have responded to our invitation to participate in the liturgy and in the whole program of the celebrations.

Certainly, for all those who have assembled here today a meeting with you, the President of the Russian Federation and an Orthodox man, is of great importance. We are very glad that you have celebrated together with us today the memory of the holy and righteous Sergius of Radonezh… I ask you to address the assembly”.

Mr. Putin noted that such representative joint meetings of the episcopate of the Russian Orthodox Church and delegations of the Local Orthodox Churches are becoming regular. “In the recent time, you gathered together in the same composition for the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’, and it seems it has become a good tradition to gather together in this composition on the occasion of Orthodox events. I would like to thank you once again for having deemed it possible to come to Moscow and to be with us in these festive days and hope that such unity will only become stronger for the good of all our Churches and the peoples of our countries”, he said.

Metropolitan Elias of Tyre and Sidon, Patriarchate of Antioch, and Metropolitan Timotheos of Bostra, Patriarchate of Jerusalem, expressed joy over the opportunity to participate in the celebrations devoted to St. Sergius of Radonezh. Representatives of Local Churches also pointed to the extremely important role of the efforts made by Russia’s political leaders to help establish peace in the Middle East countries.

“I would like to wish you a nice and beneficial stay in Moscow, to thank you for your ministry and to emphasize once again that I very much reckon on your moral, ethical and spiritual support in defending the values which we serve together”, the Russian president said in conclusion.

Patriarchal Press Service/DECR Communication Service

Photos by Patriarchal Press Service