Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday praised the role of Orthodox Christianity in the country's history and congratulated the heads of the world's Orthodox churches on the 1025th anniversary of the Christianization of Kievan Rus -- a medieval state comprising parts of today's independent nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus -- the RIA Novosti (Russian) website reports today (July 26, 2013).
"The adoption of Christianity became a turning point in the fate of our fatherland, made it an inseparable part of Christian civilization, and helped it turn into one of the largest world powers," Putin said in a message addressed to participants of a commemorative celebration in Mocow's Red Square, the Kremlin reported.
"It is Orthodoxy that gave Russia a powerful impetus for the development and rise of culture and education," Putin added.
Patriarch Kirill -- the head of the Russian Orthodox Church -- opened the commemorative celebration by saying: "The foundation of our national, spiritual and cultural life was laid 1025 years ago. Our ancestors adopted the Christian faith and, together with it, a system of values and morals ...that no historical upheavals were able to destroy."