His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; attended a concert honoring the 70th birthday of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. The concert was held in the evening at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, on 22 November.
The event was attended by Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation; Mr. Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus; Russian Prime Minister Mr. Dmitry Medvedev; pontiffs and delegations of various Christian churches; representatives of other religions; high-ranking clergymen and members of the Russian Church Synod; diplomats; heads of state institutions, public and charitable organizations; science and culture figures.
A reception was held following the concert, during which the Catholicos of All Armenians conveyed his congratulatory message to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
On behalf of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church, Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians congratulated Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of his 70th birthday and stated in part: “We know You as a faithful and loyal servant of Christ and His Church. You were called to serve the Holy Church of Christ during the Soviet years, when faith was persecuted throughout the Soviet Union, and the Church and clergy were subjected to various pressures. During the difficult times of atheism, with growing zeal, You ministered to the vibrancy of the Russian Orthodox Church. You offered sincere efforts to the strengthening of the spiritual life of the faithful, implementing responsible long-term enhanced service in the ecumenical and educational fields, attaching great importance to the preparation of a new generation of priests and as well as the promotion of dialogue between the Churches.
You vigorously continued activities for the strengthening and progression of the spiritual life of the faithful of your flock, being called to greater service. All of us today are witnessing the vibrancy of the Russian Orthodox Church. You also made significant contributions in the ecumenical sphere, supporting the preservation of Christian values, the protection of the rights of Christians and the effectiveness of inter-religious relations.
… Dear Brother in Christ, we are happy to recall your visit to Armenia and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Our meetings and mutual visits were characterized by friendship and goodwill, through which are crowned the centuries-old brotherhood and relations between our people. We are pleased to confirm that during Your Pontificate, the fraternal ties and cooperation between the Churches and the faithful have strengthened, for which we today offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty. We are confident that the same spirit of friendship will continue to reign in the relationship of our churches, and with understanding, love and mutual respect, record new results in the Christian mission, “To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, full pleasing him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9–10).”
His Holiness also expressed his gratitude to Patriarch Kirill for the Paternal attitude shown towards the Armenian Church dioceses in Russia , and as well as for the continuous mediating mission of the Russian Orthodox Church towards the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), and for organizing trilateral meetings with the Spiritual Head of Azerbaijan and the Armenian Catholicos.
The Catholicos of All Armenians offered a prayer to the Lord, asking that the spirit of love, fraternity, and cooperation yield good results, and continue to embellish the friendship of the Russian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic Churches.
At the conclusion of his remarks, His Holiness wished Patriarch Kirill good health and boundless energy, asking God to always be supportive to him; to enrich the years of pontificate with more success and achievements, for the glory of God and vibrancy of the Russian Orthodox Church.