Svetlana Medvedeva (1965- ) with her husband President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- )
The death of His Holiness Patriarch Aleksei is an enormous loss and it is sorrowful, both for Russia and for all Orthodox people in general. I also feel this same pain in my own heart. From his earliest years, the life of His Holiness was an embodiment of the Christian commandments; he was a model of goodness, mercy, and justice. He brought the light of Christian love to the people and to our Russia, and he impressed everyone not only with his wisdom, but, also, with his extraordinary dignity in bearing his cross. Patriarch Aleksei was an exemplary man.
This is in addition to the many good deeds completed by His Holiness. With his blessings, many monasteries and churches were rebuilt. Many children now go to Sunday schools, and many orphans find a home in Orthodox orphanages. In particular, during his patriarchate, many Orthodox relics and sacred objects were recovered. The name of Patriarch Aleksei shall forever be connected with the reunification of Russian Orthodoxy, which put an end to a long-standing and tragic division amongst the Orthodox Russian people. We all bow before his spirit of self-sacrifice and his spiritual podvigs.
Thanks to His Holiness, Russia now celebrates a new holiday, The Day of Family, Love, and Devotion devoted to the married Orthodox saints Pyotr and Fevronia. He gave succour to all who turned to him for counsel or assistance. Thusly, his spiritual support helped many to find the Faith and to be strengthened in it. My meetings and conversations with the Holy Patriarch have become unforgettable lessons of life and moral commandments for me. I will always remember his words that we should try to support each other and do good deeds. No matter how hard it is, we should keep a good attitude in our soul.
His Holiness chose the way of pastoral ministry in order to help and to save people. He was responsive and understanding, powerful in spirit and faith; he will remain such in our hearts. Eternal be his memory.
15 December 2008
Wife of President Dmitri Medvedev
As quoted in Interfax-Religion