Vladimir Putin: Your Holiness, your Eminence,
signing the Act on Canonical Communion represents more than simply the restoration of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church. This event affects all Russians, is of historic proportions, and has a huge moral significance.
The division in the Church arose because of the deepest political divisions in Russian society itself. As a result of fierce fights between opposing parties and, first and foremost, in the civilian environment.
And today, following decades of division, we can say that there were no winners in this political, ecclesiastical and political, conflict. Everyone lost: both the Church and the believers who were forced to live in an atmosphere of mutual distrust and alienation. Russian society as a whole lost.
The restoration of unity in the Church is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the lost unity of the entire Russian world, a world in which the Orthodox faith has always acted as a spiritual foundation. Everywhere, wherever fate has dispersed our people, their first concern has always been building a cathedral.
And today it is precisely the Church that acts as a unique, island Motherland for so many of our compatriots that live far away from Russia. This invisible bond will help them preserve their national culture and traditions, native language, and make them aware of their solidarity with events in their Fatherland.
Contemporary Russian society is a society based on the democratic principles of openness and the freedom of religion where there is no ground for obsolete tragedies, for obsolete confrontations. And the fact that this Act is being signed in Moscow, in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, acts as clear proof of this. In the Cathedral that has become a visible symbol of the renaissance and the prosperity of the Russian Orthodox Church.
We have come to realise that a national recovery, the development of Russia, is impossible without drawing on historical and spiritual experience. And we well understand and appreciate the power of the pastoral word that unites the people of Russia. And for that reason the restoration of the Church’s unity helps realise our common goals.
I would like to sincerely congratulate you and all of us on this truly exceptional and remarkable event.