Moscow, November 30, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken about the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church with the people and its contribution to the consolidation of society.
Putin also said he hopes that today's Bishops' Council will draw a broad public response.
He sent a congratulatory address to the participants in the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is opening in Moscow and is timed to the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the Patriarchate in Russia.
"The decision to revive the patriarch's service made by the Local Council in 1917-1918 was a big, truly historical event in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church; it largely determined its [the Church's] high mission. Despite difficult trials, the Church has always been with its people, it has shared grief and joy with them, it sincerely supported the preservation in society of moral, patriotic values, ideals of peace, good, and justice," Putin said in his address.
In the years of the Great Patriotic War, the church "supported and inspired people, helping them find spiritual support," he said.
Today, the Church has considerably expanded its service: it gives constant attention to issues relating to enlightenment and charity, the education of the younger generation, and the protection of families, mothers, and children, Putin said.
"And of course, its contribution to the consolidation of society, maintaining ethnic peace and accord, developing constructive dialogue with the state on the most important issues relating to the country's life, is valuable," Putin said.
Putin said he hopes that the Bishops' Council will be fruitful and constructive.