22:50 GMT +322 March 2018
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    MOSCOW, MARCH 12, RIA NOVOSTI - The European Constitution must certainly pay due tribute to Christianity as pillar of European culture, stresses His Beatitude Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.

    "Christianity lay at the foundation of European culture. We must not forget it, and the European Constitution preamble is to highlight that point," said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was addressing an audience after a Moscow gala in which he awarded the prize of the International Foundation for Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations to Helene Carrere d'Encausse, l'Academie francaise Permanent Secretary.

    In its preamble, Russia's Law on Freedom of Conscience pays Christianity its dues on what it has done for Russian history and culture, His Beatitude significantly added.

    Mme Carrere d'Encausse is ardently siding with his appeal. She, too, is firmly convinced that the European Constitution, now being drafted, must refer to European Christian heritage. "The matter will stay under debate, I am sure. Christianity is the basis of European culture, and all Europeans are aware of it," she remarked.

    The draft now available refers to "religious roots", and she regards even such mention as considerable progress.

    Several ardently pious nations will shortly join the European Union. Poland, for one, is joining it, May 1. Those nations will have a great impact on the issue, added the major scholar.

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