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Greek President Receives Prize from International Fund for Unity of Orthodox Nations

The International Fund for the Unity of Orthodox Nations has rewarded President Konstantinos Stefanopoulos of Greece a prize for an outstanding contribution to the strengthening of the unity of Orthodox nations in the year 2003.

The Fund was established in Russia in 1995. Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Alexis II, who heads the Fund's trustee board, blessed the endeavour.

The other 2003 prize laureates are Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa Peter VII, Helene Carrere d'Encausse, Permanent Secretary of the French Academy of Science, Interros President Vladimir Potanin, and the theological faculty of the Serbian Orthodox Church of Belgrade University, the Fund press service told Novosti Monday.

The awarding ceremony will traditionally take place in Moscow early next year and involve Russia's top functionaries, ambassadors and prominent public and church figures.

The Fund awards 5 prizes every year /up to $50,000 each/ for a considerable contribution to the development of spiritual, cultural, political and economic contacts between the countries upholding the eastern Christian tradition.

The prizes are awarded to church and government officials, public figures, business people, artistic intelligentsia, as well as corporations and organisations' collectives.

Among the 2000-2002 laureates were Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus, Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria, Russian State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov, Armenia's Parliament Speaker Armen Khachatryan and other outstanding statesmen of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS, and other countries.