Excerpts from Conversation with Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II 2008-05-07 14:47:54 Annunciation Cathedral, Moscow Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II: In these joyous days that follow the Easter celebrations, I give you my heartfelt greetings and congratulate you on this momentous event in your life and the life of our country – your inauguration as President of Russia, President of our great country. You now take upon yourself the heavy burden of responsibility for our country’s present and future at this difficult time of social and economic change. <…> It makes me very happy to see the attention you pay to questions of spirituality and morality, and to see how much you care for our country’s rich historical and cultural heritage and for keeping our traditions alive through the successive generations. I believe that the more we take the past into account in building our nation, the more solid the state’s foundation will be, for a people that does not know and does not remember its past has no future. The well being of a people is determined not so much by material values as by its moral and spiritual state. You are set to continue the course outlined by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, under whose leadership you have worked for many years, in the aim of preserving our country’s unity, strengthening the foundations of its statehood, building up our defence capability and economy, raising our citizens’ living standards and opening up opportunities for building a state based on new democratic principles. <…> It is pleasing to see that your personal involvement over these last years has helped to strengthen and develop cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, and that our common efforts and work to restore holy sites destroyed in past years and build a spiritually strong and morally healthy country are now producing good results. Today, care for the individual and citizen is at the very centre of state policy, and this is a source of hope and optimism that encourages and inspires us to work together. I assure you that the Church is ready to continue its cooperation, for we have but one history, one motherland, and one future to build. <…> On this memorable day I want to wish you strength of both body and spirit, wisdom and patience, inspiration and the blessings of success in the high and responsible service you are about to begin. <…> President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Your Holiness, for your words and your good wishes. Our country’s history in the twentieth century was very dramatic indeed. It was the history of lives lost and hopes destroyed, and only at the century’s end did Russia start out on a new road towards development. Over these last eight years, the country, with the support of the Russian Orthodox Church, has come together and all the healthy forces in society have begun to grow stronger. People’s living standards are improving today and new opportunities for self-realisation are opening up. We are very much aware of how important it is to do everything we can to consolidate these positive changes. I want to assure you that the special relations of trust that have formed between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church will continue and develop for the good of our homeland of each and every one of our people. Thank you, Your Holiness, for your good wishes and your congratulations.