Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia was also present at the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, I am very happy to see and to have this chance to congratulate you in person on your recent birthday, on the 35th anniversary of your service, and now on receiving this award from the Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Peoples. But I especially want to thank you for doing everything you can to maintain the humanitarian, spiritual and cultural ties between our fraternal peoples in these difficult circumstances. By difficult circumstances, I am referring to the complicated interstate relations between Russia and Georgia. I say these words without any exaggeration. Thank you very much.
It is a great pleasure to see you in Moscow. Welcome!
Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia: Your Excellency Mr President, on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church I offer my warmest greetings.
I pass on our Prime Minister’s warm greetings too. He is doing everything possible and necessary to improve relations with everyone. I think that we will be able to settle the problems between us and will be brothers once again.
Thank you for your congratulations.