Medvedev: Special relations with Orthodox Church will be maintained

Special relations between the state and the Russian Orthodox Church will be kept and further developed, President Dmitry Medvedev has said. After conducting a prayer "For the Beginning of the Lofty Endeavor" in the Kremlin's Cathedral of the Annunciation, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia conveyed good wishes to the newly sworn-in head of state.

"The Church is ready to continue cooperating [with the state], since we have one Fatherland, one history and one future," Alexy II said.

Medvedev assured the Patriarch that "the special, trustful relations with the Russian Orthodox Church will be kept and further developed to the benefit of the Fatherland."

"Russia's history in the 20th century was dramatic indeed - a history of deaths and shattered hopes," the Russian president said. "But at the end of the 20th century Russia stepped on a new path. The state, supported by the Russian Orthodox Church and all sound forces, got together and began to develop," Medvedev said.

"Everything possible must be done now to consolidate the positive tendencies that have made themselves felt," he said.

Hopefully, Alexy II said, the new president will continue the course started by ex-President Vladimir Putin. "I hope, together you will manage to do a lot for society's development in the years to come," the Patriarch said.

"Care for the individual will be the main priority [in the president's work], but the head of state is also due to strengthen Russia's international stature," the Patriarch said.

Source: Interfax religion