Athens, June 3, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has had Greece's highest honor confirmed on him, receiving the medal of the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour from Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday.
"We are brother nations, we share the same faith, and this is the immutable foundation for relations between Greece and the countries making up historical Russia. I mean the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova," Patriarch Kirill said in accepting the award.
Because of this foundation, "everyday problems that come on the agendas of our countries will be dealt with in a peaceful, brotherly way to mutual welfare and mutual benefit," he said.
The ceremony was followed by talks between Patriarch Kirill and Papoulias. In opening them, the president mentioned the long history of Greek-Russian relations, praised Russia for helping liberate Greece from Ottoman rule, and pointing out that both countries had fought against Nazism.
Papoulias said religious pilgrimage from Russia to Greece is on the rise, and that "this is one more important aspect of bilateral relations."
"I think that our churches should be side by side in dealing with challenges that we face in the modern world. Orthodoxy carries a message of peace and harmony," he said.