The President sent his greetings to Patriarch Kirill on the anniversary, saying, in particular, in his message:
“The first year of your service as patriarch has been filled with active labour for the benefit of the Russian Orthodox Church and our entire society and marked by major successes in developing cooperation between the church and the state and working together to address the biggest social and educational tasks before our country today.
Your efforts to cultivate moral values among young people have been especially fruitful. The introduction in Russian schools of a course in religious culture and secular ethics will contribute to this work, as well as the establishment of clergy working on a permanent basis in the Armed Forces. Your efforts to preserve civil peace and harmony in our country deserve our full support and continue to find a solid foundation in the centuries-old traditions of mutual respect between people of different faiths and cultures and the broad interfaith dialogue to which the Russian Orthodox Church devotes much attention.
The Moscow Patriarchate’s steps towards consolidating unity within the church have been greatly welcomed and have provided a big incentive for the spiritual consolidation of the millions who make up the Russian Orthodox Church’s flock around the world, above all in the CIS, and for strengthening ties with our compatriots abroad. Your personal contribution and your standing in the Orthodox world have made it possible to develop active ties with Orthodox churches everywhere, thus strengthening the brotherly ties between peoples and countries sharing a common spiritual tradition.
The strength of your pastoral teaching, your impressive energy, and your ability to carry on a dialogue and find solutions to the problems facing the modern church and society today make your service as patriarch particularly important. I am sure that under your guidance the church will continue its noble mission, work for the benefit of our people and make its contribution to Russia’s spiritual transformation.”
Patriarch Kirill is the sixteenth head of the Russian Orthodox Church since the institution of patriarch was introduced in Russia in 1589. The previous patriarch, Alexy II, died on December 5, 2008, at the age of 79. The new patriarch, Kirill, was elected at the end of January 2009, and enthroned on February 1, 2009. The church marks this date every year as an important celebration.