Saturday, January 21, 2012

Palestinian Head Abbas Receives Award in Russia; Is International Fund for Unity of Orthodox Peoples Award

The Orthodox Church Info blog reports that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas today (January 21, 2012) was awarded the annual prize of the International Fund for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples. The award ceremony took place at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow and was led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

This Orthodox award -- presented for the 11th time -- this year went to a Sunni Muslim. Indeed, Mahmoud Abbas can be described as the keeper of Orthodox values in the Middle East.

Valery Alekseev -- who heads the International Fund for the Unity of the Orthodox Peoples - said, "Mahmoud Abbas was picked from among other candidates for the award for being the guardian of Christian values in the Middle East. Mr. Abbas devotes a lot of his time to promoting Christian-Islamic dialogue and encouraging Orthodox pilgrimages and the Orthodox presence in the Holy Land."

Russia's cultural and humanitarian cooperation with the Palestinian Authority in recent years has resulted in reinstating Russian presence in the Middle East to its highest level in many decades.