|"The arrival of the President of Russia to the Protaton" Screen capture from TV coverage video at site. [The Protaton is the main church on Mt. Athos]|
Translated from Greek by Tom Winter
Putin: The ties between Russia and Mount Athos are indissoluble
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Mount Athos
Prokopis Pavlopoulos the President of the Republic, welcomed him. The program in detail (Pics + Vids)
Shortly after 10 am Saturday Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the airport at Thessaloniki where he was received by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.
Then they departed by bus for Tripiti Halkidiki and from there by ship came to Daphne [the port of Mt. Athos] then drove to Karyes, Mount Athos.
The arrival in Daphne was at 2 p.m. Also coming to Karyes of the Holy Mountain were President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, Minister and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Ioannis Amanatidis, and the Deputy Minister of Rural Development Markos Bolaris.
The reception of the Russian president was made by the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, along with Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis, the Mount Athos chief priest Elder Paul, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate Metropolitan Apostolos Miletus and political director of Athos Aristos Kasmiroglou.
After 3 p.m. V. Putin arrived in the holy temple of Protaton where he was received with honors bellringing from the Holy Community led by chief priest Paul and the political governor of Holy Athos Aristos Kasmiroglou.
Among the events, a little earlier there was the reception, and the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos welcomed Russian President in the annex of the Holy Community. Mr. Putin attended a solemn thanksgiving, followed by the official welcoming. There followed forms of address by the two Presidents and an exchange of gifts.
Also in attendance upon arrival of the two Presidents were the prefect of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas, the businessman and major shareholder of PAOK Ivan Savvides, and the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Metropolitan Apostolos Miletus.
"There is great and important work on ethical foundations and moral values here on Mount Athos" said Russian President Vladimir Putin during his reply after the solemn doxology in the Protaton Church.
Mr. Putin thanked the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece for all they do for the development of relations with Russia, and the Mount Athos community for the hospitality.
Mr. Putin spoke as follows:
"I want to thank the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece for all that you do for the development of relations with the Russian people and Russia. And I want to thank the Athos community for their hospitality. Here for the second time, and I find the hospitality is so warm. It is directed to me, yes, but it is also hospitality toward the Russian people.
On Mount Athos there is great and important work. It is work which involves ethical foundations and moral values. This project is public and is very important.
Thank you and I wish you all the best."
In his address Father Paul, from the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra, said:
"Today, peace around us is ravaged by terrorism, by states being torn apart, by fundamentalism, and more. Therefore the cooperation of peace-loving people is necessary for peace to prevail."
Father Paul then wished "a good stay even if a temporary one."
Mr. Putin then said that the Orthodox faith is the common basis for the relations of the peoples of Greece and Russia and that Orthodoxy is the one that puts an obstacle to all attempts at disturbing the good relations. He said that Russian monks on Mount Athos are an indestructible bond between the two countries, and that Pontic Greeks who live in Russia have contributed to development of relations.
Immediately after the doxology, Russian President exchanged warm greetings with the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos who welcomed him on the steps of the holy community.
Together with representatives of the Government, the Minister and Deputy Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzia and Yannis Amanatidis, respectively, and the Rural Development Deputy Minister Marco Bolari, the Holy One, Father Paul, and the political governor of Athos Aristos Kasmiroglou. Commemorative photos were taken and they walked up to the refectory for a traditional Athonite meal.
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