26 July 2013, 15:44

Putin praises the role of Orthodox Christianity in country’s history

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday praised the role of Orthodox Christianity in the country’s history and congratulated the heads of the world’s Orthodox churches on the 1025th anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus, a medieval state comprising parts of modern-day Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

“The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of the Christian civilization and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers,” Putin said in a message addressed to participants of a commemorative celebration on Red Square, the Kremlin reported.

“It is Orthodoxy that gave Russia a powerful impetus for the development and rise of culture and education,” the message says.

Putin also praised the Russian Orthodox Church’s role in developing a constructive dialogue with other Orthodox churches as well as international collaboration.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s leader, Patriarch Kirill, opened the celebration.

“The foundation of our national, spiritual and cultural life was laid 1025 years ago,” he said. “Our ancestors adopted the Christian faith and, together with it, a system of values and morals … that no historical upheavals were able to destroy.”

Despite the fact that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians live in different countries today, the patriarch said, their spiritual foundation remains common and unites the Slavic nations.

Leaders of Orthodox Churches demand end to violence against Christians worldwide

The heads and representatives of the Local Churches, who have gathered in Moscow to attend celebrations of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, have made a joint statement seeking protection for Christians who are subject to persecution for their faith in different regions of the world today.

"Every day thousands of believers in Christ are being tortured and driven out of their native lands; many people meet their death. News about torture and murders are coming from Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. In Kosovo, religious shrines are being defiled, many churches have been destroyed, and many people are deprived of the opportunity to visit the graves of their relatives and to pray to God in the land of their ancestors," they said in their statement, which was forwarded to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

The bishops said they were greatly troubled by the situation in the Middle East.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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