Earlier, the President sent Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, a message of congratulations.
The Church traditionally celebrates the day of the Patriarch's s enthronement every year as a holiday. The enthronement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill took place on February 1, 2009 at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness,
When you became Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia you took on tremendous responsibility for the entire Orthodox flock. I know that you feel genuine heartfelt concern for each individual member of this flock. In each, even the smallest, parish you and I have many times turned again and again to the country’s destiny and our people’s lives, the life of each individual person.
I know from personal experience that this is indeed the case and that you take everything happening in our country to heart and share everything in our life, the sorrows and tragedies too. You also share the country’s joys, celebrate together with us all. You do much for patriotic education, so that even when abroad our people do not lose their spiritual ties to their homeland.
I wish you success in your noble and selfless work and of course I also wish you good health, wellbeing, and all the very best. I congratulate you on this occasion.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: Thank you very much for your congratulations, Mr President.
”You take everything happening in our country to heart and share everything in our life. You do much for patriotic education, so that even when abroad our people do not lose their spiritual ties to their homeland“.
Four years have passed since the Lord called me to this service. It is just a short time, and yet so many events have taken place in the Church’s life.
I particularly note how the dialogue between the state and the Church has developed over this time. This dialogue has helped us to resolve many issues that have a direct bearing on the lives of the people you spoke of just now.
This dialogue is not about abstract matters after all, but is about what directly concerns people’s lives: the state of their souls and level of their morals. Most important of all is that quality of life cannot be measured in material terms only, but has a spiritual dimension too.
I think that the church-state relations in Russia show that the Church can carry out its service in full and support our people in their spiritual life, help them materially too where needed through charity work and through care for young people, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and everyone in need of this kind of help and support.
I therefore thank you, as President, for the cooperation that we are carrying out with many state institutions.
I thank you too, for the quite regular meetings that enable us to exchange views on all matters that the President and the Patriarch consider important.
Vladimir Putin: Happy holiday to you!
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: Thank you.