President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, good afternoon.
I would like to sincerely congratulate you on the anniversary of your enthronement. It has been 11 years.
Patriarch Kirill: Exactly.
Vladimir Putin: Time has flown by and I think you may not even have noticed it. But we have: we have observed your selfless work, and society has noticed its results. Thank you very much for everything – for your commitment to faith and your love for our Fatherland.
Patriarch Kirill: Thank you very much, Mr President, for your greetings and kind words.
I have always believed that a Patriarch's work serves two causes, two dimensions. First, there is the vertical dimension, service to God, as the Patriarch must pray for his nation. But there is also a very powerful horizontal dimension as the Patriarch must minister to people’s spiritual well-being, which implies developing numerous church programmes.
I would like to thank you, Mr President, for creating conditions in Russia for this dimension of church service to go hand in hand with the work of many government institutions. We maintain dialogue and cooperate in many areas – and this is why we achieve many of our goals.
Therefore, we can speak of a high level of relations between the church and state in Russia. I would like to note this and sincerely thank you for this.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.