H/T: Theology and Society (here)
More photos and video here
Top Award of Serbian Orthodox Church for Putin; Presented to Russian PM by Patriarch Irinej of SPC
His Holiness Irinej, Patriarch of Serbia, handed Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia, on the evening of March 23, 2011 in the St. Sava Memorial Cathedral on Vrachar the St. Sava Order of the First Degree, according to the SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church) website. This is the highest award of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In their conversation, Putin and Patriarch Irinej discussed the construction and finishing works of the Cathedral of St. Sava.
Several Russian Orthodox societies have promised tens of millions of dollars worth of donations for the making of the mosaic for this Cathedral. Russia and Serbia — especially their Orthodox Churches — have shared a very close, supportive, and harmonious relationship for many years.
Five years ago — on the suggestion of Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose — the Holy Synod of Bishops awarded Putin the highest distinction of the Serbian Orthodox Church for his active love towards the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian people, particularly shown in a brave and persistent protection of the faithful people, churches, monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the preservation of the integrity of the Republic of Serbia.
This week’s visit of the Russian Prime Minister to Serbia was an opportunity that Serbian Patriarch Irinej personally hand him this highest distinction of the Serbian Orthodox Church.