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President Vladimir Putin, his wife Lyudmila, German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his wife Doris Schroeder-Koepf visited the Holy Trinity Monastery of St Sergius

January 7, 2001, Sergiev Posad, Moscow Region

Archimandrite Theognostes the Father Superior, monks, pilgrims and parishioners met the guests at the Holy Gate of the monastery.

The President, the Chancellor and their wives were accompanied by chimes on their way to the Patriarchal Chambers, where Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II greeted them. The meeting with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and the ensuing festive dinner lasted two hours.

Mr Putin, Mr Schroeder and Patriarch Alexy II exchanged Christmas gifts. The President gave the Patriarch a polyptych icon of The Life of Lord Jesus Christ from him and the Belarusian President. Alexy II gave each of the guests an icon of the Nativity.

After the reception, the Putins and the Schroeders visited the mediaeval Trinity Cathedral, which preserves the relics of St Sergius of Radonezh, the founder of the monastery. They also visited the Assumption Cathedral and the monastery refectory.

January 7, 2001, Sergiev Posad, Moscow Region