MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia who turned 75 today with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, according to the corresponding decree published on the Russian president’s website on Saturday.
"[I hereby decree] to award the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (Gundyayev Vladimir Mikhailovich) for an outstanding contribution to the preservation and development of spiritual and cultural traditions, the strengthening of peace and accord among peoples," the decree said.
Putin congratulated Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on his 75th birthday in the Kremlin on Saturday. "Allow me to sincerely congratulate you on your 75th birthday. You chose for yourself the path of spiritual, moral service and follow it with dignity, wisdom and the deep understanding of the responsibility for the fate of our people, the fate of Russia," Putin said.
The head of state noted the Patriarch’s success in strengthening the role of church in Russia as well as in upholding traditional values, preserving the historical and cultural heritage. "Undoubtedly, the church has known different times yet today its voice again has gained an enormous significance, it is being listened to, it is trusted. And this is in many ways the result of your personal efforts and tireless ministerial labors, the sincere care to instill in people’s hearts the ideals of peace, kindness, justice, love and mutual understanding," the head of state said.
"Your Holiness, it is a great, enormous honor for me to mark your achievements, your labors for the benefit of the Motherland and present you with Russia’s highest award - the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, a particularly honored illuminator and a preacher of the Christian faith," the president emphasized. The Kremlin press service reported that the Patriarch was awarded for "an outstanding contribution to the preservation and development of spiritual and cultural traditions, the strengthening of peace and accord among peoples."
The economy and the country’s success in this sphere depend on spirituality since it is capable of uniting the society as a whole, Putin said. "Of course, we all perfectly understand that the state’s success in the sphere of economy lies at the foundation of the country’s well-being, at the foundation of the development of the economy, the increase in defensive capabilities and security," he noted. According to the head of state, "this is the basic thing that is not subject to any doubt."
"Yet there are much more profound things," Putin emphasized. "And the economy itself, and everything related to it, depend on the spirituality of any society that unites this society as a whole. And only being united as a whole, the society and the state achieve success," he explained.
Addressing the Patriarch, the head of state said: "Your Holiness, you are precisely that person who highlights the most important things - our faith, our spirituality, our basic values - and you indeed do so with full sincerity, giving it your all.".
The Russian president pointed out that the ceremony was modest due to anti-coronavirus measures yet its modesty did not diminish the importance of the event. He again sincerely thanked the Patriarch and wished him all the best.