President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Your Holiness, dear colleagues, I would like to say a few words at the beginning of the meeting of the Board of Trustees of our Fund for the Reconstruction of the Voskresensky New Jerusalem Monastery.
We met just over a year ago at the first meeting of the board, and since then there have been some developments – in my opinion, very favourable ones for the monastery – because the Fund has started to fully function. In fact, a comprehensive reconstruction concept is currently being prepared and funds are being collected for the renovation. All this gives us grounds to believe that the big challenge we set ourselves, that of restoring the New Jerusalem Monastery, will be met. Moreover, to a certain extent our work is unprecedented, and this is for several reasons. First of all, the place of the Voskresensky New Jerusalem Monastery in the history of our country and of Orthodoxy is absolutely unique. That's why the Fund was set up to be co-chaired by the Patriarch of Russia and Russia’s President. On the other hand, the scope of work that must be done is extremely big, not to say enormous.
We just spoke with His Holiness about how remarkably quickly our ancestors built this monastery at a time when technologies and everything else was at a fundamentally different level of development. But while our ancestors were able to do this, our task is not even to build but simply restore the monastery in all its splendour, all its beauty, within a decent timeframe. Along with this of course we must comply with all pertinent architectural rules and look at the historical surveys that have been conducted and made. This requires a pooling of forces. That is why there are not only representatives of the clergy, the Government Cabinet and the Presidential Executive Office at this table, but also representatives of Russia's business community, which certainly helps.
In general, work is underway and I believe it has already gained some momentum. A lot of people are involved as donors. Not only legal entities, not only companies, but also ordinary citizens of our country, something which of course has a special value and significance. We will not lose the momentum we have gained – I am absolutely sure of this – and we will accomplish a variety of tasks, ranging from the main job of reconstructing the monastery to related ones such as, for example, constructing a building for the museum and relocating the museum there. As I understand it, this decision has been taken, the place has been chosen, and we think that this relocation can be accomplished by 2012. It is also one of the priorities of our work.
I would like to thank everyone who is participating in this endeavour. I believe that we are doing very important work to restore what is a historic, special place for Russia. This reconstruction involves the government, the Church, and social organisations, and undoubtedly unites us, turning us into a united nation which is responsible for its country.
I think I will limit myself to this. The only other thing is that together with His Holiness we looked at how the renovation is proceeding via webcam. Any interested person can do so as well. That's good: it means that we are working openly and transparently. And this is always an important factor when it comes to raising funds from various donors, from our citizens – we must have complete transparency and account for every last ruble. I think this is also extremely necessary.