23 November 2016, 10:30
Putin, Medvedev visit Christ the Savior Cathedral to offer birthday congratulations to patriarch
Moscow, November 23, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have congratulated Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on his 70th birthday anniversary.
To congratulate the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian head of state arrived at the Christ the Savior Cathedral on Tuesday afternoon.
"Happy birthday, wishes of good health and successes in serving your whole congregation and all the Russian people," Putin said.
In reply, the patriarch thanked the president for the congratulations and for having visited the Cathedral.
"It is a great pleasure for me," Putin said, presenting the patriarch with a decorative panel of the Holy Trinity - St. Sergius Monastery.
The panel is made of 3,570 amber pieces, using the "carpet mosaic" technique, is the work of Kaliningrad-based artist Igor Isayev. The work was made to order in one copy only and uses Baltic amber-succinite, over 40 million years old. Around six kilograms of landscape amber and three kilograms of layered amber were used in the making of the panel.
Also arriving at the church on Tuesday was the Russian head of government with his wife. Dmitry and Svetlana Medvedev congratulated the patriarch, after which the premier's wife handed him a white festive bouquet. The patriarch was also presented with the artist Nikolay Barchenkov's A little corner of Zagorsk landscape painting.
Sometime later the patriarch received congratulations from another guest, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko who is in Moscow on a working visit and due to hold talks with his Russian counterpart at a later point.
"I want to congratulate you not only on my behalf but on behalf of all the Belarusian people," Lukashenko said. He offered wishes of "health and strength" and presented the patriarch with a bouquet of white Minsk roses and the young Belarusian artist Anton Vyrvo's painting of the St. Nicholas garrison cathedral in Brest. The church was built in late 19th century as a smaller copy of Constantinople's Hagia Sophia.
Patriarch Kirill visited the Brest fortress in 2015 and performed a mass to honor the Brest Fortress and all the fallen in the Great Patriotic War. For the patriarch, there was also a personal side to it: his uncle died during the defense of the Fortress from a Nazi attack.
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