Putin hails top cleric on anniversary

Feb. 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

MOSCOW, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- President Vladimir Putin congratulated Patriarch Kirill for his "selfless service" Friday as the cleric marked his anniversary as Russia's top religious figure.

Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Friday marked the fourth anniversary of his enthronement as Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, ITAR-Tass reported.

In his message, Putin noted the cleric's "fervent selfless service, devoted service to the homeland and people."

Putin said the patriarch was responsible for a "fruitful dialogue between the Church and the state authorities."

"The Russian Orthodox Church is participating actively in resolving large-scale, social and enlightenment tasks, which are in high demand in the modern times, and is doing much for the protection of family, maternity and childhood, the upbringing of the younger generation, the strengthening of eternal spiritual and moral values in the society," the president added.

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