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Russia's Patriarch Kirill Presents 'Alexi II' Award to Macedonian President


Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia presented Tuesday in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow the 'Patriarch Alexy II' award to Macedonia's President Gjorge Ivanov for his efforts to strengthen the role of religion in society, promote Christian values and religious tolerance, as well as improve the ties between Orthodox nations.

The prize of the International Foundation for the Unity of Orthodox Christian Nations (IFUOCN) are awarded annually to the heads of states, governments and parliaments, dignitaries of the Orthodox Churches, and major public figures for their contribution to the strengthening of economic and political ties among the states formed in the context of Eastern Christian tradition and for the consolidation of noble standards of Christian morals in the life of Orthodox community.

"I embrace this recognition as Macedonia's President and Orthodox Christian, born and raised under the umbrella of the restored St Clement Church ­ the Macedonian Orthodox Church - Ohrid Archbishopric. In that active church, restored 50 years ago, our worldview has been built," Ivanov said at the warding ceremony.

Expressing gratitude for the recognition, Ivanov said he was pleased to be its recipient for 2016 ­the year when Macedonia observed the 1100th anniversary of the death of the great Slavic scholar St Clement of Ohrid, without whom 'we would have lived today in a different, spiritually and culturally poorer Europe.'

Referring to globalization, Ivanov said it managed to unite the world in terms of economy and divide it politically, thus contributing to escalation of conflicts and wars. Considering these challenges, Ivanov said that he, as a Head of State, would act in line with three principles ­ respect, dialogue and openness, which could help to building the new world.

Besides President Ivanov, this year's recipients include Coptic Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.

Previous recipients include former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Russian President Vladimir Putin, prominent religious leaders and public figures.

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