Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II: The Easter celebrations are approaching and, as is tradition, I would like to invite you to be present at the Easter service. At Christmas you usually travelled to the Russian provinces, but you have always celebrated Easter here with us, and so I invite you most warmly to be with us once more.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for the invitation. I will definitely be there.
Alexii II: This has been a busy year because it marks the 1020th anniversary of the baptism of Rus. The celebrations will take place mostly in Ukraine, but we also have to do our part, all the more so as this occasion gives us the chance to do some summing up, to look back at the situation we had when we celebrated the 1000th anniversary of the baptism of Rus, and at the situation now, 20 years later. Much has changed in the life of the church over these 20 years, and in the life of the country overall – we are living in a different country.
Vladimir Putin: The fact that the celebrations will be taking place in Ukraine is probably a very good thing. It gives us another opportunity to remember our common spiritual roots.
Alexii II: I have been invited to head a delegation there. I have not been to Ukraine since 1997. I was not invited to go there, but I have been invited now. We should make use of this opportunity because this is an occasion that unites us, something we should celebrate together, because we share the same baptismal font, and it is in Kiev.
Vladimir Putin: We have many economic issues today and we are making gradual progress on our common agenda. If relations between our churches also make progress, we will be only too glad and will do everything we can to support this.