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    Patriarch Alexy II donates part of his state award to children's charity

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    MOSCOW, June 12 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has donated Monday a monetary part of his state prize to orphanages and charity organizations.

    "I would like to donate the money from the state prize to orphanages and charity organizations and I would like to thank you on their behalf," Patriarch of Moscow and all-Russia Alexy II said at a solemn award ceremony in the Kremlin.

    Alexy II has become the first laureate of the 5-mln ruble (about $185,000) state prize for outstanding achievements in the humanitarian sphere established on the initiative proposed by the presidential Council on Culture and Art.

    "The Russian Orthodox Church has become an integral part of civil society in Russia and a factor in stability of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations mainly due to your efforts," President Vladimir Putin said during the ceremony.

    The Kremlin press service said earlier this year that the prize aimed to consolidate society and highlight the importance the state attaches to society's spiritual development. It is awarded along with already existing prizes for accomplishments in science, technology, literature, and the arts.

    "The prize will be given to prominent figures engaging in intensive humanitarian activities in the interests of certain people and society as a whole," the Kremlin said.

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