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Russian church patriarch Kirill blesses Sochi Olympians

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Patriarch of Moscow Kirill blessed the athletes of the Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Moldovan national teams gathered in the Church of the Image Not Made by the Hands of Jesus Christ in Sochi Wednesday.

Kirill said "I wanted to meet with you today in order to pray for your success, for your wealth and so that God grants you spiritual strength in a difficult moment of the competition. And when you go to the start, remember my words, concentrate and gain the inner spiritual strength, which will be the formula for your success,"

"I believe that God will help many of you to pass the Olympic race decently. Sport does not just help physical improvement of a person but also influences inner state and resolves an important issue, which has direct connection to such a notion as human happiness.”

"Athletes are well aware, when exerting all the strength and aspiring to win the competition, that not just technical training, necessary equipment but also inner state of the spirit that determines to a large extent the ability of a person to win," he said.

Patriarch Kirill went on to say, “A person cannot be truly happy if he or she has no inner strength and a rich inner life.”

After the blessing Kirill toured the sport facilities of the Olympic coastal cluster in the Olympic park. He also met with volunteers on duty to minister to the athletes while at the Olympics by church organizations.