On August 17, at the Patriarchal and Synodal Residence in the Danilov Monastery in Moscow, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with the Director General of the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Chairman of the Foundation for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage Alexey Evgenievich Likhachev.
In consideration of the help of the Russian Orthodox Church and in connection with the 60th anniversary of his birth, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill awarded A.E. Likhachev the Order of the Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky (III degree), the Press Service of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia reports.
"I am very grateful for all that you are doing for the Motherland, for its power, for prosperity and in terms of church-state relations," said the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, presenting the award.
After the award ceremony, His Holiness had a conversation with A.E. Likhachev in the Throne Room of the Patriarchal Chambers.
"I would like to say once again that it is difficult to overestimate the importance of Rosatom in the scientific and technical development of our country," His Holiness said. "Such a powerful organization as Rosatom, in addition to its core activities, carries out a lot of good things that help people."
"I had the opportunity to repeatedly visit Sarov and the Nuclear Center. At one time, when I was still at school, physics was my favorite subject, and at some point the thought came to my mind whether I should choose a path related to physics," His Holiness the Patriarch shared his memories. – But then the spiritual dimension took over. But there was no alternative other than theology and physics in my life."
"Then, after all, I belong to the generation when such a special romance was associated with nuclear physics, with physics in general," the Primate continued. – This, on the one hand, is the protection of our country from external threats, and, of course, the understanding that nuclear power is capable of providing the country with energy. And it seemed to everyone that nuclear power really had inexhaustible opportunities, and in many ways Russia's scientific and technological progress was associated with achievements in your field."
"Everything I am talking about has now gone far ahead in a way that it is impossible to even estimate, and thanks primarily to the activities of the Nuclear Center. Therefore, my heartfelt thanks to you, the entire staff of the Nuclear Center. It was precisely with your activities and the activities of your predecessors, with the activities of your team, that ensuring the true sovereignty of our country was connected. Therefore, it is difficult to compare the role of your institution and this area of scientific and technical activity with any other that would thus affect the historical fate of Russia," His Holiness said.
"I would also like to say that it has always been touching for me how scientists have preserved and preserve the memory of St. Seraphim. This is an amazing combination of rationalism and mysticism: on the one hand, the rationality of scientists and on the other hand, the spiritual mysticism of St. Seraphim. They have somehow connected in a special way in the experience of modern Sarov," His Holiness the Patriarch stressed.
"Therefore, I would like to express once again my deep respect and gratitude for your labors and the labors of your colleagues, to say that through St. Seraphim, the Russian Orthodox Church is with you," the Primate noted.
In response, the director of Rosatom cordially thanked His Holiness the Patriarch: "Thank you very much, Your Holiness, for your kind words. I want to emphasize once again that I perceive them solely as encouragement for further work."
"You said very kind and profound words about Sarov, for me this topic is not indifferent twice – both as the head of the nuclear industry and as a person born there," A.E. Likhachev said.
According to him, the spiritual dimension of their activities is of the most important importance for Rosatom employees: "Our employees, scientists, and ordinary workers have a combination of faith in God, in His justice, and in the power of knowledge, and love for the Motherland – they somehow come very naturally, in my opinion the view is completely consistent."
A.E. Likhachev also thanked His Holiness Patriarch Kirill for his constant attention to the church life of Sarov.
"We are very proud that you consecrated our Sarov restored churches and visit us there regularly," the head of Rosatom added.
Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, adviser to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and Director of the Fund for the Support of Christian Culture and Heritage E.I. Skopenko took part in the award ceremony and in the conversation.