© RIA Novoostankinskaja Church. Kiev, Ukraine. Archival photo© RIA Novosti
A great procession and other celebrations of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), devoted to 1030 anniversary of the baptism of Russia, will begin on Friday in Kiev with the participation of numerous pilgrims from all regions of Ukraine and from abroad.
The feast of the baptism of Russia is celebrated day of memory of Holy Prince Vladimir (July 28), whereby in 988 ancient Rus adopted Christianity.
According to the UOC, July 27, exactly one hour before noon in all the churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, with the blessing of Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine Onuphrius, will be made a celebratory peal: «in commemoration of the holiday as a call to prayer».
A large procession
At 13.00 on the Vladimir hill will begin the prayer service, which will make Metropolitan Onufry, and by its end, around 13.30, will be held a Grand religious procession with miraculous icons and relics of saints from St. Vladimir’s hill through the streets of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev-Pechersk Lavra.
Traditionally, the procession in Kiev will participate believers from all over Ukraine and other Slavic countries. «In the last years there were 30-40 thousand participants, then 80 thousand, 100 thousand in the past year. Because every year the faithful more and more, expect this trend to continue this year», — told reporters the head of the Synodal information-educational Department of the UOC Archbishop of Nizhyn and Pryluky Clement.
According to him, the celebration of the baptism of Russia and, in particular, the holding of all-Ukrainian religious procession was «a unique event that unites the whole country.» «I don’t know if we have more such events in the capital joined «with one mouth and one heart» people from all regions,» said Bishop.
This year members of the Church procession held through the streets of Kiev with a large icon of the Apostle Andrew with a particle of his relics and of the cross on which he was crucified. The image of St. Andrew was written in the Greek monastery of Patras and donated to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Manager Patrickou Archdiocese by Metropolitan Chrysostomos. In Kiev, the icon was brought from Zaporozhye on the Dnieper river — in the same way, which at the time did Andrew, one of the 12 apostles of Christ.
On the Big religious procession of believers will carry several miraculous icons and relics, which then can be observed at the Kiev-Pechersk Lavra: the relics of the Holy Prince Vladimir, the myrrh-streaming head of the Martyr Clement of Rome, the foot of the Apostle Andrew, the icon of the virgin «Works», the icon with relics of the Holy Martyr Vladimir (Bogoyavlensky), the relics of the Martyr St. George and the icon with the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov.
The next day, the morning of 28 July, in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra will be held the festive divine Liturgy, which is also headed by the Primate of the UOC.
At the anniversary event in Kyiv the delegation will arrive with virtually the entire Orthodox world. «The celebrations will include representatives of 12 local churches: Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Georgian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, Albanian, Polish, Czech Republic and Slovakia and also the Orthodox Church in America. For technical reasons, can not arrive the representatives of the Antiochian and Greek churches, but spiritually, prayerfully they will be with us», — said the Deputy head of the Department for external Church relations of the UOC Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich.
In addition, according to tradition, to participate in the prayer service on Vladimir hill and the service in the Abbey attended by representatives of the embassies of Orthodox countries. It is also expected the arrival of many pilgrims from abroad. According to the Kyiv police, public holidays maintaining order in the Ukrainian capital will be engaged in more than 3 thousand police officers and about 1.5 thousand soldiers.
The feast of the peoples of historical Rus
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill in connection with the celebration 1030-anniversary of the baptism of Russia gave an exclusive interview to Ukrainian TV channel «inter», which will be shown on Friday morning.
«Kiev-Pechersk Lavra today remains a Bastion of canonical Orthodoxy on the Ukrainian land. I really hope that times will pass, and again we can all pray together this great Shrine,» said the Patriarch, addressing his flock in the Ukraine. An excerpt from an interview with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, the channel announced yesterday.
Speaking about the meaning of the baptism of Rus by Prince Volodymyr, Patriarch Kirill said that «for people of faith, people of the Church is the event in the first place is because the light of Christ came to our earth.»
According to the Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate on relations of the Church with society and mass media Vladimir Legoyda, the anniversary of the baptism of Rus will be celebrated «the fullness of the Orthodox Church, the center of the celebration will be Kyiv, Minsk, Moscow, Chisinau and other cities of the countries in the area of pastoral care of the Russian Church».
«In the Kiev baptismal font baptized the forefathers of the brotherly peoples of historical Rus. Today these people due to various causes divided by the political boundaries, and we respect those boundaries, but they should not be held in our hearts,» — said Legoyda.
In the Russian capital, the main celebration will take place on July 28. On this day, Patriarch Kirill and Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, Theodoros II will celebrate the divine Liturgy at the Cathedral square of the Kremlin and will lead the procession to the monument to Prince Vladimir on the Borovitsky hill. As specified in the ROC, the service at the Kremlin’s Cathedral square, under the open sky, will be held «for the first time in the modern history of Russia».
According to the «tale of bygone years», in 987 Prince Vladimir at the Council of boyars decided about the baptism of Rus «in Greek law.» A year after the Prince of Kiev was recaptured by the Byzantines, Korsun (Khersones — Chersonesos settlement on the territory of modern Sevastopol), on the peace negotiations with the emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII Vladimir offered to return the city if they give him to wife her sister, Anna, who in turn gave him a condition — to be baptized. Vladimir and his retinue were baptized, and then married Anne, returned to Kyiv and ordered to destroy pagan idols and baptize people, which happened in 988.
Accurate data on the early Church’s veneration of Prince Vladimir no, not one hypothesis, the canonization of the Baptizer of Rus ‘ took place in the second half of the XIII century. In 1635, Metropolitan of Kiev Petro Mohyla got the relics of Vladimir from the ruins of the tithe Church. In remembrance of future childbirth, the Saint was removed from was found in the ruins of the ancient Russian temple of the sarcophagus, the head of the Prince and his right hand. Subsequently, the head was laid in the main Church of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra of the assumption of the blessed virgin Mary, brush — in the Kiev Sophia Cathedral. Part of the Holy relics was in Moscow, in the Dormition Cathedral.