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Yeltsin opened new epoch in relations between Church and state - Alexy II

Moscow, April 23, Interfax - Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia spoke about Boris Yeltsin's role in Russia's modern history on the anniversary of the first Russian president's death.

"The farther we move from the Boris Yeltsin epoch, the better we grasp the meaning of the enormous role he played," Alexy II told reporters at his residence at the St. Daniel's Monastery in Moscow on Wednesday.

The Yeltsin times marked "a totally new epoch in relations between the Church and state," the Russian Patriarch said.

"It was an epoch of respectful relations between the Church and state. We have been working together and we are partners in tackling various social issues and in safeguarding ethnic and religious peace," he said.

Alexy II also spoke about President Vladimir Putin's huge contribution over the years of his presidency "in strengthening the country, its economy and spiritual potential, and the position of citizens," and said he hoped this would continue in the future.