President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, please allow me to welcome you here! The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia told me in some detail about the Coptic Church and about you.
The Coptic Church is one of the very first Christian churches. There are 30 million Copts in the world, including 14 million in Egypt. I am particularly pleased to note this because we have very good relations with Egypt, of course with all Egyptian people regardless of their religion.
Nonetheless, we are particularly pleased to spend time with you, the person who represents Christianity in Egypt. This is a special connection with Egypt for us.
I know that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a great friend of our country, is actively supporting Copts in Egypt. When you have the opportunity, please convey to him and the entire Egyptian nation the best wishes from Russia.
Head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II (retranslated): Thank you for the time you have accorded me. I have long wanted to meet you.
Two years ago, I was on a visit to Armenia, and this is the second time I am in Russia, meeting with my dear brother His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. This is also especially important for me on the occasion of celebrations in honour of St Nicholas. Also, thank you for the award that was presented to me yesterday.
The relations that connect Russia and Egypt are very good. We are proud of that. I can also say that the relations between our two churches are very good. Our cooperation is developing in various spheres.
I thank God for the fact that the situation in Egypt is improving every day. We have a very good relationship with President Sisi, the Government and Parliament of Egypt. We also make efforts to maintain national unity in Egypt between Christians and Muslims.
The activities conducted within the church are aimed at the only goal: to uphold national unity. Thank you for your hospitality and for your special attitude toward Egypt. We will pray for these relations to get better every day at both the interstate and inter-church level.
Vladimir Putin: We attach great importance to developing relations between churches.
You just mentioned the relics of St Nicholas. This event has become possible thanks to the agreements reached during a meeting between the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Pope. It is a major event for Orthodox believers in Russia. We are very grateful to the Pope and the Holy See for the decision made at the Patriarch’s request.
The church plays a very important role in bringing nations closer together. In your case, this is the most prominent manifestation of a very useful modern trend.