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MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has sent a greeting telegram to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on his 70th birthday, the Kremlin’s press service said on Sunday.
"You have devoted many years to the selfless service to the Russian Orthodox Church, to consistent and solid defense of its values and ideas," the telegram reads. "Your tireless concern for preservation of the unique historical, cultural and spiritual heritage of Russia, support for the family, educating the younger generation have earned the most sincere respect to you."
Putin highlighted "the huge input" Patriarch Kirill is making "in development of inter-religious and inter-ethnic dialogues, in strengthening of peace and social harmony in this country."
On Saturday, Vladimir Putin signed an order on awarding Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia the Order For Services to the Fatherland "for his outstanding contribution to preserving and developing spiritual and cultural traditions, and his active educational and peacekeeping efforts aimed at strengthening friendship between peoples.".
Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev greeted Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill on his 70th birthday. The telegram text was published on the government’s website on Sunday.
"You have dedicated your life to the Holy Church and you have been doing a lot to confirm in the society the ideals of kindness, mercy and accord, you contribute significantly in strengthening of unity in Orthodoxy," the document reads." You are known as a man of encyclopedic knowledge, rare intelligence, who is open to dialogue. In addressing people of different religions, ethnicities and political views, your words of wisdom always call for love and compassion, you help people in finding faith and hope."
The Russian Orthodox Church "is highly respected and is influential all over the world, it makes big charity work, assisting and supporting people, who suffer in armed conflicts or calamities, it organizes big public forums every year," the greeting reads.