Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia makes a great contribution to the strengthening of the spiritual unity of Belarus and Russia, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said when making a congratulatory speech in honor of the 70th birthday of the Patriarch in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on 22 November.
“You enjoy the highest regard and appreciation of the Belarusian people. Christians, Muslims and other religious communities – everybody knows you. This is the result of your work and kind regard for our country as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Under your leadership, the Orthodox Church has been contributing to the consolidation of the spiritual unity of the Slavic peoples of Russia and Belarus based on Christian values of mutual help, love of peace, humanism and justice,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President expressed his gratitude to Patriarch Kirill for the attention he has been giving to the Belarusian people. Every visit to Belarus becomes an important event. Wherever you have led a service – be it in the legendary Polotsk, heroic Brest, ancient Vitebsk or the capital city of Minsk – people welcome you everywhere as a good shepherd and mentor,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President noted that Belarus was not a new land for Patriarch Kirill. Before being elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church he served in Smolensk Oblast and in Kaliningrad Oblast. “You have said that when traveling between these two Russian regions you got to know Belarus and fell in love with it. I am sure you love our wonderful Slavic people. I am sure that in the future, your work will be as great and fruitful, and the Orthodox Church will continue helping to tackle spiritual, moral and social problems,” the Belarusian President said.
For many years of difficult and responsible pastorship Patriarch Kirill has been preaching relentlessly the Gospel truths of kindness, love and mercy teaching Christian values, helping millions of believers find spiritual support and a road to the church.
“Today your service as the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church is aimed at preserving the moral core of the public life, spiritual and cultural traditions of our religion, education of the younger generation. The Patriarchate is a very hard everyday work and an enormous burden of responsibility. Faith, wisdom, resilience and strength of spirit help you perform this noble mission,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian head of state noted that thanks to Patriarch Kirill’s work and prayers, the Russian Orthodox Church continues to develop and increase its influence while enjoying a respectable place in the Christian world. Special attention is paid to the unity of the Church. “Today, when the world is wracked by wars, religious and interethnic conflicts, the words of Venerable Sergius of Radonezh ‘Save the love and unity to be saved’ get a special meaning. Thanks to your active position, the Church plays an important role in maintaining accord in the society, friendship and cooperation between peoples, and peace and stability on the planet,” Alexander Lukashenko said.