Moscow, May 24, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the arrival of St. Nicholas' relics from Italy to Russia a great event.
"This event was made possible owing to the agreement reached at Patriarch Kirill's meeting with Pope Francis. [It is] a great event for the Orthodox Christians," Putin said at a meeting with Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria, the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, on Wednesday.
The meeting took place at Patriarch Kirill's working residence, where the Russian president had arrived to offer congratulations on his name day. Putin presented the patriarch with a 19th century hagiography about St. Nicholas.
"We are very grateful to the pope and the Holy See for the decision adopted at the patriarch's request," the Russian president said.
Putin said that Russia attaches a great importance to the development of inter-church relations. "The church is playing a considerable role in bringing people together," he said.