The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church believes President-elect Donald Trump is the only American politician to give Russians, and Christians, hope in the war against the Islamic State.
Patriarch Kirill told Russia Today (RT) he is encouraged by the incoming president's strong position against ISIS.
"Based on what Mr. Trump said in the course of the election campaign, we can see that he does have the intention to establish a dialogue with Russia, including first and foremost when it comes to combating terrorism," Kirill said.
"That's good; it opens up new opportunities for cooperation, which is what I hope we're going to have in Russia-U.S. relations in order to tackle this," he added.
"I don't know him personally, and I don't know much about his life, so I can only judge based on his statements, which were in stark contrast to other politicians' stances. There was no hope in what others were saying, while Mr. Trump's words give us hope," he said.
Kirill also told RT that he agrees that Trump is not afraid to speak his mind especially during a time when Christians in America are being shut down by political correctness.
"It seems as if political correctness is meant to limit Christians' freedom to practice their faith. For example, why should we use 'X-mas' instead of 'Christmas'?," he asked. "We're very wary when, under the guise of political correctness and universal rights and liberties, we glimpse signs of discrimination against the people who want to be open about their Christian convictions."
As Russia's Vladmir Putin congratulated Trump on his election victory and later vowed to dialogue with the U.S. "on the basis of mutual respect," Kirill said it is important for Christians to continue to pray for the nations that are working to eradicate terrorism.
"All that is left to us as Christians is to pray and, of course, work together with everyone, so that all the nations involved realize that collaboration is instrumental. We keep hearing that the coalition has its own approach, and Russia has a different stance. Well, now is the time when we can't have two conflicting positions any longer; we need to align ourselves with each other," he said.