MOSCOW, April 15 (UPI) -- Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday thanked Patriarch Kirill for the Orthodox Church's role in a spiritual revival as part of Easter celebrations.
"While sharing the Paschal joy with you, I want to express gratitude for the clergy's efforts aimed at the nation's spiritual revival, the consolidation of public peace and accord and the upbringing of the younger generation," Medvedev said in a statement.
Tens of thousands of Russians flocked to the country's churches Sunday to attend midnight processions with crosses and icons in celebration of Orthodox Easter, RIA Novosti reported.
"The Paschal festivities mark the victory of the good and open new possibilities for the spiritual improvement, mercy and aid to neighbors," the statement said.
"The Russian Orthodox Church has always been the keeper of our people's traditions and for centuries protected its sacred things and served in the interests of the country's unity and consolidation."