Moscow, November 22, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted the highest regard to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in the country and outside of it.
Putin bestowed on him Russia's highest state award, the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, on Saturday, on the patriarch's 75th birthday.
"Your Holiness, it is a great and tremendous honor for me to commend your merits and work for the good of our Motherland and to decorate you with Russia's top award - the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, a particularly revered educator and missionary of the Christian faith," the president said during the ceremony at the Kremlin.
The Russian Orthodox Church has been through both good and hard times, "but currently its voice has acquired momentous significance again; it is being heeded and trusted," Putin said. To a great extent, it is the result of the patriarch's personal efforts, Putin said.
Patriarch Kirill's relentless pastoral labor has garnered him "the highest regard not only in Russia but also abroad, as well as respect among millions of believers in our vast country," he said.
Putin also noted Patriarch Kirill's tremendous contribution to promoting the traditional values of the peoples of Russia and preserving its historical and cultural heritage.
"Today, as we fight the coronavirus pandemic, your call to unite in the face of the threat inspires the Russian Orthodox clergy, volunteers and all those who carry out the merciful mission of helping the sick, those in need of support and a spiritual pillar," Putin said.