Patriarch Kirill calls Chavez one of brightest contemporary political leaders

Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill offered his condolences on the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

"The late was one of the brightest contemporary political leaders, a sincere patriot of his country, who made a lot of effort to improve the living conditions of the Venezuelan people. Mister Chavez was well known in the world for his independent position and integrity," the telegram to Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan acting president, posted on the Moscow Patriarchate website said.

Patriarch said that he recalled with warmth meeting Chavez during his visit to Venezuela in 2008 while he was Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, head of the Synod Department for External Church Relations.

"My companion has shown himself to be a strong-willed politician, who attaches great importance to developing spiritual ties between peoples," the telegram said.

The late Venezuelan president has offered his assistance in constructing a Russian Orthodox Church during the meeting with Metropolitan Kirill at the time in October 2008.

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