Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem is making his first official visit to Russia.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, Your Beatitude, Your Eminent Holiness,
I welcome our guests and thank you for accepting the Holy Patriarch’s invitation and coming to visit us today.
Your Beatitude, let me thank you once more for supporting our initiative to build a pilgrims’ house in Jordan, by the River Jordan.
We have very good relations with Jerusalem. Many Russian pilgrims visit the Holy Land. Our Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow Patriarchate have a longstanding presence there too. I am very pleased to see that the two sister churches have developed such good relations.
Your Beatitude, we are always happy to see you. I hope to see you again when we celebrate the 1025th anniversary of the baptism of Rus. I wish you an interesting and productive time here on Russian soil.
Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem: Thank you very much.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia: Mr President, I would like to add a word and thank you most sincerely for making possible this meeting, which will undoubtedly strengthen the relations between the Moscow and Jerusalem Patriarchates and will facilitate Russia’s various positive initiatives and undertakings, including its work for peace in the Middle East.
It is therefore so important that the churches also take part in the peace process and work towards peace and justice in this corner of the world that is of such great significance and was sanctified by the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour.
Patriarch Theophilos III (translated from Russian): Your Excellency, Mr President,
It is a great honour and joy and also an emotional moment to be received by you today, together with my brother, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill.
We came here at the invitation of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia as part of the peaceful visit that we are making to the fraternal Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian people, our fellows in the Orthodox faith.
This is a visit of great importance for us. We see it as a historic event that seals the good relations between our two churches and also the ties that exist between the honourable Russian people and the honourable people of Palestine.
You know what huge significance the radiant city of Jerusalem has for the Russian Orthodox Church, for the Russian people, and for us too. Mr President, on behalf of all Orthodox Christians in Jordan and Palestine, and on behalf of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, I want to thank you for the active interest you show towards the Holy Land and the holy sites there. I especially thank you for your contribution to working for peace in the Middle East and promoting the cause of peace throughout our region.
Your recent visit to Israel, Palestine and Jordan had great historical significance not just in political terms but also from the religious point of view. I want you to know that we always pray for you because we recognise your role as the great Russian people’s leader, and a leader who defends universal human and Orthodox values. Thank you very much for this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.