Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation presented Patriarch Kirill with Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called.
The Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was awarded to His Holiness Patriarch Kirill “for his outstanding contribution to the preservation and development of spiritual and cultural traditions, the strengthening of peace and harmony among peoples.”
In his congratulatory speech, the President of the Russian Federation said:
Allow me to sincerely greet you on your 75th birthday.
You have chosen the path of spiritual and moral service and you are pursuing it with dignity, wisdom and deep understanding of the responsibility for the destiny of our people and Russia.
Under your thoughtful spiritual guidance, the Church is actively participating in the life of society, in resolving current social issues and in implementing large-scale projects, which matter for the entire country.
Your fruitful pastoral service has garnered you the highest regard not only in Russia but also abroad, as well as respect among millions of believers in our vast country.
I also want to note your immense contribution to promoting the traditional values of our peoples and to the preservation of our historical and cultural heritage.
Today, as we fight the coronavirus pandemic, your call to unite in the face of the threat inspires the Russian Orthodox clergy, volunteers and all those who carry out the merciful mission of helping the sick, those in need of support and a spiritual pillar.
Your Holiness, it is a great and tremendous honour for me to commend your merits and work for the good of our Motherland and to decorate you with Russia’s top award – the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called, a particularly revered educator and missionary of the Christian faith.
One again, I congratulate you on your birthday. I wish you good health and success in your noble service.”