On January 20, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II left for Moscow to participate in the 2009 award ceremony after Patriarch Alexiy II “For eminent activities in strengthening Orthodox people’s unity, establishment and development of Christian values among the population” presented by the International Fund of Unity of Orthodox Peoples. This award has been delivered since 2000. It marks state, political, public and religious figures from different countries and their substantial contribution into strengthening spiritual and cultural unity of Orthodox peoples, reinforcing economic and political ties between the countries that were historically shaped in the context of Eastern Christian tradition.

On January 21, during the award ceremony in the hall of Councils of the Christ the Savior Cathedral of Moscow, Holy Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kiril I, who is also the President of the Board of Trustees of the International Fund of Unity of Orthodox Peoples, handed in the prestigious award to His Holiness Karekin II and President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Famous film director and musician Emir Kusturica (Serbia) and St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary (USA) also received prizes from Patriarch Kiril and President of the Fund V. Alekseev.

In his speech Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II expressed gratitude to the Fund’s Board of Trustees headed by Patriarch Kiril, and characterized the prize as another proof of the friendly relations between the two peoples, churches and states.

“Blessed is the brotherhood between our Churches, and blessed is the friendship between our peoples, and common are the interests of our states. The lasting friendship of Armenians and Russians has been tested by joint struggles and joint creations, and verified by strong spiritual, cultural, political and economic ties, intellectual and scientific achievements, indisputable and growing cooperation. The geographical position has never hindered the friendship between our countries”, said Catholicos Karekin II. His Holiness also emphasized the importance of joint efforts towards the strengthening of our states, the improvement of life conditions and meeting the challenges faced by our nations.

“May the love of God always accompany our peoples, our state officials, our Churches, so that the Lord is glorified with our lives and deeds, and may our Homelands develop and our friendship become stronger”, His Holiness said.

The All-Armenian Catholicos transferred the financial award to the fund of the Russian Orthodox Church currently being built in Yerevan.

His Holiness also participated in the holy liturgy served by Patriarch Kiril I in the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe in Kremlin, after which the Spiritual Leaders made official statements.

On the same day Catholicos Karekin II had a meeting with Archbishop Ilarion Alfiev, Head of the Foreign Relations Department of the Moscow Patriarchate.

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