Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was grateful to Muslims for carefully preserving Christian shrines in Syria.
"It came as a surprise to me that John the Baptist's relics are preserved, and carefully preserved, in the [Umayyad] mosque and revered in the Islamic world. This is for people who practice Islam, Yahya. Jesus Christ is also revered there. It's Isa," Putin said in an interview for Yevgeny Poddubny's documentary "No Right for Error. A Christmas Visit to Damascus," shown on Thursday on the Rossiya-1 television channel. "This closeness of the two world religions, which are based on common moral and ethical values, universal humanitarian values, this cannot but arouse interest and respect. By the way, in this case we should thank the representatives of Islam for preserving the Christian shrines," the Russian President stressed.
He recalled that his visit to Damascus in 2020 took place on the days when Orthodox Christmas is celebrated. "It was a matter of course that we visited the Christian church [St. Mary's Cathedral]. But I also really wanted to visit the mosque you mentioned [the Umayyad Mosque] because the relics of John the Baptist, are kept there," the president said in an interview with a journalist. He added that the meetings he had at both the mosque and the Orthodox cathedral confirmed that the two religions can get along peacefully.
During his visit to Syria on January 7, 2020, the Russian president visited the Umayyad Mosque and also stopped by St. Mary's Orthodox Church, where he met with Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East.
GSV "Russia - Islamic World"
Photo: Creative Commons
Based on materials TASS