During a gala concert in the Hall of Church Cathedrals, Russia President Vladimir Putin congratulated Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on his 70th birthday and awarded him with the order “For Services to the Fatherland,” 1st Class.
The concert was attended by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko.
Speaking at the event, Putin told Patriarch Kirill that, “For millions of people on Earth you embody the enormous prestige of the Russian Orthodox Church and are a loyal successor of its traditions and the outstanding deeds of its devotees that made an invaluable contribution to upholding Christian values and played a major role in the development of the Russian state.”
Putin said that, “Russian Orthodox Church is a great prophet of love for the Fatherland and its powerful moral defender that has always upheld the principles of kindness, truth and loyalty to our country.”
“The Russian Orthodox Church, joined by our other traditional faiths, is the main spiritual foundation of our people and statehood,” Putin said.
For his part, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, said, “Thanks to your work and prayers, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to develop and, most importantly, to affirm its greatness, taking its rightful place in the Christian world.”
“You pay particular attention to the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church,” Lukashenko said.