PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Your Holiness, I would like to sincerely congratulate you on this great holiday [the Assumption of the Virgin] and thank you for participating in the event that just took place, the consecration of an icon which is now once again above the gates of the Kremlin‘s Spasskaya Tower.
Of course this is a very special thing; it really is a miracle. It gives me great pleasure to take part in this event, as it is one that brings our country together. Indeed, it was the feat of those who decades ago risked their lives to preserve these icons for us. The fact that these icons were miraculously rediscovered is a very special thing for our country, for Moscow, and the Kremlin.
And despite today’s rain and quite unpleasant weather, it seems to me that this day will forever remain in our history. Today this really is long-awaited rain in Moscow, the rain Moscow was waiting for, that all Russia was waiting for, because the summer was very difficult.
The whole country helped extinguishing fires that broke out in the central regions and in the Volga Federal District. People helped using their own means, their own money, using everything they could. Everyone joined in, as we say in Russia.
The Russian Orthodox Church has not remained aloof from fighting this disaster: naturally the Church was with the people. I know that you personally worked actively in this regard and many priests participated in these affairs by supporting ordinary people.
Therefore, on behalf of all of us I would like to say thank you very much to the Russian Orthodox Church for these efforts, and express my admiration for ordinary Russians who came, donated their belongings, their money, or simply put their own forces and labour into extinguishing fires, sometimes people who perhaps did not even have a relationship with the affected regions.
That is what I wanted to say. Your Holiness, please go ahead.
PATRIARCH KIRILL OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA: I want to sincerely thank you, Mr President, for what took place today. Indeed, all this can be approached as the convergence of certain aspects of our history, or we can try to look at it from a different perspective.
The holy face of the Saviour appeared on Spasskaya [Saviour’s] Tower and this, of course, is a symbol. The fact that it rained today – and let’s remember that the Victory Parade also took place in the rain – is always an act of grace. We prayed hard for rain and now it pours; let the rain nourish our parched land.
Thank you for appreciating the modest efforts of the Russian Orthodox Church. You mentioned the people who participated in extinguishing fires. In our institutions which collected humanitarian aid and organised deliveries for firefighters, something special was happening. People kept coming there, young people who, instead of going to the disco, all of a sudden felt they were to come to these places, and they did, and donated what they had, and drove their cars to delivered humanitarian aid.
As one of high-ranking clergy in charge of this effort said: we have all changed. All of us were somehow cleansed by this fire. May God grant that the difficulties that befall our Fatherland make us stronger, and that Russia keep regenerating.
With all my heart I wish you God’s help and strength in your noble service for the benefit of Russia.
DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Thank you, Your Holiness.
Windows to Russia!
- Long lost Jesus icon in Kremlin restored to view (reuters.com)
- Russian Orthodox Church to Attended Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue (palamas.info)
- The Church: That God Has Not Forgot! (windowstorussia.com)
- Medvedev Did What is Correct About Khimki Forest… (windowstorussia.com)