15 January 2008
Valday, Novgorod region, January 14, Interfax - Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the government is indebted to the Russian Orthodox Church and has promised to facilitate the revival of religion in Russia.
Speaking at a prayer ceremony on the sanctification of the Assumption Cathedral at the Valday Iversky Monastery in the Novgorod region, Putin said that both he and those who work with him "represent a state which has done a lot over the previous decades to undermine the roots of our history and culture, including the spiritual one."
"Therefore, it is too early to thank us for anything," the president said in response to Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia's greeting words, in which he thanked Putin for helping the revival of the Iversky Monastery.
Putin said he perceived the gratitude "exclusively as a hope that the state will repay its debt to the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional denominations and its debt to the Russian people."