The President took part in a ceremony consecrating the new Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church, with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill conducting the ceremony.
Following the consecration ceremony, Mr Putin presented to the church a 19th-century icon of John the Baptist. The icon was placed on the altar in the President’s presence.
Accompanied by Patriarch Kirill and Bishop of Yegoryevsk Tikhon, abbot of the monastery, Mr Putin visited the new church and the seminary building.
The Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church was built at the Sretensky Monastery to mark the 100th anniversary of the revolutionary events of 1917.
The President also had a brief meeting with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, which became an integral, self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church 10 years ago.
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Speech at a ceremony consecrating the Church of the Resurrection of Christ and the New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, Your Eminence, friends,
This ceremony consecrating the new church at the Sretensky Monastery is an important and significant event not only for Orthodox believers, but for our society as a whole. This is because this church is dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ, and to the new martyrs, in other words, to the memory of those who suffered during the years of anti-religious persecution and who died during this time of repression. At the same time, it embodies the spirit of reconciliation.
It is deeply symbolic that this new church is opening on the year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the February and October revolutions that were the departure point for many of the serious trials our country had gone through during the twentieth century.
We need to remember both the uplifting and the tragic pages in our history and learn to accept our past in full, objectively, passing nothing over in silence. Only then will it be possible to fully understand and digest the lessons our past offers.
We know how fragile civic peace is. We know this now and must never forget it. We must never forget how difficult it is to heal the scars of division.
This is why it is our common duty to do everything we can to preserve our nation’s unity, maintain social and political concord through ongoing dialogue, and draw on the values of our traditional religions – Christian Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism – to prevent hostility and division from taking hold.
Awareness of common goals, chief among which is the wellbeing of each of our citizens and of our homeland in general, is the key that can help us to overcome our differences. The restoration of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, the 10th anniversary of which we are celebrating, serves as the most vivid evidence of this.
The road to restoring the unity of the Church and reuniting the Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad was not an easy one. It could not have been otherwise, for the long years of separation, which had their roots in the drama of a fratricidal civil war, created many differences and great mutual distrust. However, both churches, desiring to strengthen Christian Orthodoxy and strengthen our common homeland, travelled this road with success.
Here, in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church went through trials and suffered great losses, but it always stood side by side with the people. And the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad always helped our compatriots who were far from their Motherland to not only preserve their faith, but also to build close ties with Russia, their homeland, its traditions, language and culture.
The restoration of unity has strengthened these ties. This was an event of great moral significance, a symbol and an example of how our history and the past can and should unite rather than divide us.
Our country and statehood are impossible to imagine without the Russian Orthodox Church’s spiritual and historical experience, which has been passed down through the pastoral word from one generation to the next. I am sure that this new church at the Sretensky Monastery will become a bright centre of gravity for religious and educational activity and will help to embed deeper in our society the ideas of goodness, mutual respect, and reconciliation.