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    RUSSIAN PENSION FUND & CHURCH AGREE ON CLERGY PENSIONING

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    MOSCOW, FEBRUARY 2 (RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich) - The clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church will, from now on, be entitled to full pensions on an agreement His Beatitude Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, signed in Moscow today with Mikhail Zurabov, federal Pension Fund president.

    "I appealed to Russia's President on behalf of the Russian Orthodox Church and other established religions and Christian confessions. Their rights have been abused, to an extent, with the clergy's work records recognised for pensioning only starting from the year 1990. The Pension Fund was refusing to recognise work records for the hardest times, when the clergy was opposing a godless regime," Patriarch Alexis said at the signing ceremony.

    Today's agreement promises official recognition of clerical work records before 1990, and gives certain dignitaries of the Russian Orthodox Church and other religions and Christian confessions established in Russia the chance for more generous pensions than the average in recognition of what they have done for Russia. The agreement also envisages pensions for monks and nuns, added His Beatitude.

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