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DIOCESE OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND: September 14, 2007
Archbishop Hilarion Participates In a Meeting With Russian President VV Putin And Representatives of the Russian Diaspora in Australia

On September 9, 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his keynote address during a meeting with local Russians, pointed out the unifying significance of the Russian Orthodox Church among Russian emigres living abroad. The meeting was held at the Marriott Sydney Harbor Hotel. Among the participants of this meeting were representatives of the Russian delegation, of the Russian diaspora, His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand (Russian Church Abroad), and the Rector of Holy Protection Church in Sydney, Protopriest Vladimir Makeev.

"The Russian Orthodox Church was always the spiritual center of emigres abroad," noted the Russian President. "And you know of the enormous significance of the recent historical event for the Russian Orthodox Church: the unification of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia," said Mr Putin.

"I am pleased to note that the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia here in Australia played a significant, positive role in this process. I wish to thank them for this and express hope that relations between our compatriots living abroad, including Australia, and in our common Homeland, Russia, continue to strengthen," stated President Putin.

In a conversation, which was conducted in a warm and trusting atmosphere, the development of commercial ties was discussed, information was provided on Russian television programs and media, educational materials and publications. Means of studying the Russian language and culture were discussed, including study in the higher educational institutions of Russia, and easing the process of obtaining visas for Russians living abroad who do not have Russian citizenship.

The Russian diaspora spread to Australia in the 19 th century, and there are now some 200,000 Russians living there. Our compatriots play a large role in their new homeland and yet do not lose interest in their historical Motherland.

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