03 March 2010, 19:03
Russian President venerated the Saviour's Crown of Thorns
Paris, March 3, Interfax - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his spouse while visiting France venerated the Saviour's Crown of Thorns, the piece of the Lord's Cross and the Nail from the Lord's Cross kept in the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, said a prayer at the Crown of Thorns. Praying together with him and the high guests were the representatives of the Russian Church in France. The Catholic Church was represented by the Right Rev. Jérôme Beau, auxiliary bishop of Paris, Msgr. Patrick Jacquin, rector of the cathedral, local clergy and knights of the Order of Holy Sepulcher.
For the first time in the history of modern Russia, a head of the state prayed at this common Christian shrine, the Department for External Church Relations site said on Wednesday. After the prayer Mr. Medvedev thanked the congregation for the the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and venerate the shrines found here.
"For me as President of the Russian Federation, it is a great honour. For me as a man of Christian faith, it is an opportunity to touch some specially venerated shrines. I very much hope that the meetings of this kind will help us strengthen peace and mutual understanding and contribute to better relations between our countries and to contacts between Churches", Medvedev said.
In memory of his visit to the cathedral, Mr. Medvedev presented it with an ancient icon bearing an image of the Saviour in a crown of thorns.
Then the Russian President and his wife proceeded to the Icon of Our Lady of Vladimir. In 2007 this icon was given to the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris by the late Patriarch Alexy II during his historic visit to France.
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