Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II expressed the hope that "all Orthodox Christians in Estonia will have equal rights, including the right to have church property," thanks to "personal care" of Estonian President Arnold Ruutel, reported the Department of External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. In his congratulatory message on the occasion of the Independence Day Estonia marks on February 24 to Estonian President Arnold Ruutel, the Patriarch said that after Orthodox Estonians were given equal rights with other citizens, "many people will feel secure, true justice will be restored, peace and accord will be maintained in Estonian society, and the relations between Russians and Estonians will progress further".
Alexis II pointed out that he shared Arnold Ruutel's belief that "Estonia is a home for both Estonians and other ethnic groups." According to the Patriarch, the fact that the Estonian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, that gives spiritual food to a major part of Estonian society, was legalized in the Estonian Republic, testifies to that.
"I'm convinced," reads the message, "that the believers of this Church that dwell the common home of the Estonian state will zealously observe its laws and traditions, and faithfully serve it the way they can." The Patriarch added that he still intended to visit Estonia, where he came from, and hoped to "do this as soon as possible."