Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill serves the Mass at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, late Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill on Sunday called on Russians to vote in upcoming presidential elections expected to extend President Vladimir Putin's rule.In the interview, Patriarch Kirill praised Putin's role in Syria and warned of the dangers of social divisions.The religious leader said Moscow's 2015 intervention in the Syria conflict was aimed not only at stabilising the situation on the ground and stopping militants from taking power but also at defending Christian minorities. That could have happened to Syria," he said.The patriarch said he believed Russia has historically been guided by its conscience over its pragmatism. Russian president Vladimir Putin meanwhile praised the role of the Orthodox Church after attending an Orthodox Christmas church service in his native Saint Petersburg late Saturday.
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