“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and the Italian Government for completing the internal procedures for transferring free of charge to the Russian Federation the property rights to the Russian Orthodox Church complex in the city of Bari”, Mr Putin said in his letter of thanks to the Italian Prime Minister. “I know that you made considerable effort to definitively settle this matter and much of the credit for this event goes to you personally.
Bari has a connection with one of the saints most venerated by Russia’s Orthodox faithful – Nicholas the Miracle Worker. This is why we particularly value this decision by the Italian Government and see it as a friendly gesture that testifies to the close spiritual ties between our peoples and as yet another important confirmation of the spirit of partnership that defines the relations between our two countries. The Russian public has welcomed this decision with a great sense of gratitude”.
Mr Putin also thanked Mr Prodi for his close and effective cooperation, saying that, through Mr Prodi’s personal involvement, “cooperation between Russia and Italy has reached an unprecedented high level and become genuinely trusting in spirit”. Mr Putin also noted that, “these results achieved through our work together are fully in the national interests of both countries and are consonant with the feelings of sympathy and friendship our peoples traditionally have for each other”.
The President concluded by expressing his firm conviction that, “the policy of building up our bilateral ties in all different areas will remain unchanged and the development of multifaceted and mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation will continue to form a solid foundation for the privileged partnership between our countries”.
The Russian and Italian governments signed a declaration of intent on transferring property rights to the Russian Orthodox Church complex in Bari in Moscow on November 22, 2007.